Essential Tips You Need to Know When Running a Family Business Dynasty
Whenever business and family mix together, it’s almost always never a good thing because it can be very hard to reconcile running a business while ensuring that the decisions of the family who founded the business are followed and respected. It doesn’t help that the general public has this stereotyped image of family businesses thanks to fictional portrayals in the media, from prestige film productions to melodramatic television shows. But in the real world, businesses originating from family dynasties really do exist despite what people might think of them, good or otherwise.
Running that kind of empire isn’t exactly easy considering that most family-run companies often don’t make it past the third generation due to internal family disputes and poor business decisions from various family members. And if you happen to be born within a family that owns a considerably lucrative business, then you know for a fact that the children of entrepreneurs are often groomed to learn everything about the company in the hopes of one day assuming the throne and carrying on the legacy of their birthright.
That responsibility is not an easy burden to bear, particularly for the heirs or heiresses of companies whose parents expect them to take over and continue the purity of their corporate bloodline. Though such a prospect might be more than intimidating, it’s certainly not impossible to overcome, as there are plenty of successful family-run businesses around the world that serve as paragons of excellence. So if you are to become the president or CEO of your family business in the future, here are some key things you need to know now.
Understand your complex family dynamics
The relationship between family members from across generations can be very complex, and such dynamics can be rather heightened whenever the subject of business is involved. And if you’re working with your immediate or extended family, then you know that there will always be that underlying tension that is simmering just underneath the surface even though you are presenting a poised and professional demeanor in front of your colleagues who aren’t directly related to you by blood in any way.
Dealing with family can be tough when most everyone you know has a stake in the business that bears the surname you and your relatives possess. That is why it’s important for you to understand the relationships you have with each and every single member involved in your family business so you will know exactly how to deal with them without incurring any lasting damage. Whenever possible, you should make an effort to be amiable and cordial to those relatives whom you aren’t exactly on good terms with in the name of stability.
Always draw the line between business and family
Separating business and family when your family is the reason why the business itself exists can be very difficult, but it’s certainly not an impossible challenge to conquer. No family is ever picture-perfect because behind closed doors, there’s always going to be conflict and drama happening between various family members. That kind of familial dysfunction has a tendency to cross over into the workplace, and it could create this incredibly awkward atmosphere that will affect not just your relatives, but also your coworkers.
As such, you have to be the bigger person in this situation and draw the line every time you interact with your family at the workplace. Whatever frustrations, problems, resentments, or negative emotions you might feel about one or more of your relatives in your personal life, you must not allow that to affect the way you do business with them on a professional setting. Above all, it’s imperative that you constantly keep a tight lid on your emotions whenever you are engaging with a family member on an important business task.
Never succumb to the threat of nepotism
From an outsider perspective, a lot of people tend to view family businesses negatively when it comes to job placements and promotions because they have this preconceived notion that heirs to such companies can easily take over from their predecessors without even having to work for such a lofty position. And their assumptions aren’t exactly incorrect considering there are many examples of businesses out there where heirs of business tycoons are given top-level placements over those who are more qualified based on merit.
Nepotism is something that is frowned upon by many people, and your family business would do well to not practice this totally unprofessional form of personal treatment. For starters, it will generate a negative response from your colleagues if they know that someone within your family was given a serious responsibility without even having concrete justification for earning such a prestigious designation. Make it a point to have family members earn their way up the career ladder as opposed to simply handing it to them.
Sharpen your conflict resolution skills
There’s nothing more awkward or uncomfortable than having to engage in an argument or debate with a family member over decisions or actions pertaining to your business. It can be dangerously easy for you to drive your business to absolute ruin if you let your volatile emotions towards your family members override your ability to think objectively for the good of your company. This is why families who own businesses should learn the art of conflict resolution in order to diffuse any disagreement from blowing out of proportion.
A good way for you to exercise your capability of resolving conflicts at work is by acting as a mediator between two opposing parties. This allows you to become an impartial entity who is able to see and analyze both sides of the struggle. It’s important for you to remember that if you are to act as mediator, then you must never choose sides and instead urge both sides to come to an agreeable compromise. This is something that you have to master considering that family businesses are vulnerable to internal conflicts.
Create balance with non-family members
In the interest of creating a sensible balance within your corporate structure, it’s important that your business should appoint managers, supervisors, executives, and board members who aren’t blood relatives and have no familiar associations whatsover with any existing or deceased members of your immediate or extended family. You might be understandably wary of having strangers come in and assume vital positions within your business, but there is a rational and logical reason as to why you should consider this approach.
For starters, having employees who aren’t part of your family is beneficial because they are able to bring a fresh perspective that you or your relatives may not have been able to think of in the first place. Furthermore, such employees will have a considerable degree of objectivity which could helpfully negate any biased or subjective views brought upon by certain members of your family who can’t see the big picture. Their knowledge and expertise would prove to be useful, so you would be wise to consider this piece of advice.
Protect your legacy at all costs
At the end of the day, the empire that your family has built should always be a priority, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that whatever goodwill your company has provided to the general public must not be tarnished with any whiff of scandal or controversy. It’s essential to be prepared for such unfortunate scenarios, which is why so many family businesses are more than willing to spend money on hiring the best legal experts to protect their name and their company against anyone who dares to besmirch their corporate integrity.
But safeguarding your family’s legacy should not come at the expense of your own relatives and that of the employees who are under your family’s employ. Everything that you do must be ethical and legal to prevent any complications that could lead to your company’s implosion. You should take care to be prudent and strategic with your decisions since one wrong move could very well embarrass your family in the media, and any negative publicity could spell misfortune when it comes to the survival of your business.
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