Family Business

Issues & Conflicts

Family Business issues invoke a multitude of complexities, including Family/Family Business Conflict, and, especially, Succession issues.

Process Features and Outcome Requirements

What?  You (or others) have issues with other family members (in your or other generations of the family) over your or their positions, roles, responsibilities, expectations, performance, remuneration, plans (or lack of plans), favouritism, breach of promise, or a multitude of other issues - real, imagined, or constructed.  Some of these issues will be factual, some material, some historical, some relationship-based, and some will be plain incomprehensible because, after all, this is a family business we’re talking about!

Why?  You need to get things resolved, because the commercial and financial damage, and the emotional trauma, risk destroying the family’s business and wealth, and the family itself.  Unfortunately, you’re suffering from “The Family Business Curse”. 

 

How?  The process needs to be: confidential, empathic, sensitive, objective, authoritative and constructive, mainly because you need to address family, relationship, commercial and financial issues if you’re to have much of a family, or a business, or any family wealth left when you come out on the other side.   

Recommended Processes

 

The process needs to be very private and feel fair to everyone from the outset; it needs to be very flexible, because business families usually have lots of skeletons in their closets; it needs to be time efficient and cost effective, because no family business has spare time on its hands, and they never want to splash money around if they can avoid it. 

Decisions may be needed, but should be used as a last resort to remove road blocks - it’s hard enough to get families to abide by legally binding decisions, previously accepted, at the best of times;  it’s far better to build and enforce consensus from within the family. 

Resolved by Agreement:   (1) SODR.  

(2) Facilitation or Mediation. 

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All these processes are highly inclusive, so they can help to repair, strengthen and re-focus relationships, as they work through issues in dispute.  A lot of education and skills transfer usually takes place.  SODR will provide final outcomes; Facilitation and Mediation? Not so much.   

Resolved by Decision:       (1) SODR. 

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SODR can move from facilitative to decisional, so it can address all family relationship, emotional/behavioural, commercial and financial issues, with real authority - provided the dispute resolver has lots of family business advisory experience.   

 

Other decisional processes are not optimal in family business environments, for the same reasons litigation is anathema in a family context.  They may achieve final and binding outcomes, but they’ll probably blow the family to pieces in the process of saving the business, and its owner’s wealth.

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Australia. 3000

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