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This week, Joanne Whelan, a partner with Deloitte in Ireland, looks at conflict in family businesses.
It is no secret that family businesses are complex. This complexity arises from a mixture of family chemistry, diverse family priorities, and the organisational challenges and opportunities which most businesses face. It can often lead to a degree of conflict in family businesses - lines may be more easily crossed and disagreements can become more heated, and personal relationships with family members can cloud judgement when it comes to making business decisions.
This week, Peter Pagonis, a senior partner who leads Deloitte’s Family & Individual Wealth practice in Australia, discusses the benefits of introducing a family council governance structure.
We often hear about how having a family council can be hugely important for family owned businesses. They seemingly bridge the gap between family and business, and in the best cases, manage to simultaneously meet the needs of both.
Roles for family in the business
A question we are commonly asked is whether family members, in particular the next generation, should be involved in the family business.
Some families choose to have a blanket rule that no family members can work in their business; they leave the ‘non-family professionals’ to it so as to avoid potential for conflict and ensure meritocracy. I have known one mother to say “No way are my children working in the business. It took their father, my husband, away from the family and his life revolved around it.”
This week, Yasmine Omari, a Manager with the Deloitte Middle East Family Enterprise Consulting team in Dubai, explores the importance of creating a family constitution.
When one discusses constitutional legacy, political connotations are often the first thoughts that spring to mind. Family business systems are not too dissimilar to political systems, be it autocracies or democracies. Successful family businesses tend to have certain key features that make them successful, such as clarity of purpose and values shared by their members. They adhere to an established code of conduct, and are aware of stakeholder expectations, undertaking activities accordingly. Such features are not dissimilar to successful political parties that are driven by a set of ideologies, meeting the needs of the people.
This week, Alain Nijs, a partner in Greenille by Laga, highlights the unique features of family dynamics in blended families.
Blended families (including stepfamilies) are common today. Statistics show that in some countries a growing number of families have shifted away from the model of the “intact” or “nuclear” family, composed of the original biologically bonded mother, father and children. In other words, these families have gone through various transitions: a breakdown (divorce), remarriage or another form of living together relationship.
When working with family businesses, it’s sometimes surprising to see the gap between the founder and the next generation, particularly when the next generation do not see the importance of the business. This week Rosine Makhlouf, a senior manager with the Deloitte Middle East Family Enterprise Consulting team in Dubai, considers how to encourage engagement of family members who don’t work in the family business.
This week, Michelle Osry, a partner in Deloitte in Canada, explores how families can improve the likelihood of achieving their hopes and ambitions by considering preventable reasons why they may fail.
This week Nikolaj Thomsen, a Partner with Deloitte in Denmark, explores the benefits of creating a community of next generation members of family businesses.
The New Year is traditionally a time to set goals and resolutions, and as you continue to work with your family this year, you might want to ask yourselves; What are your family enterprise resolutions for the year looking ahead?