Embracing Conflict in Family Business
Last fall’s Family Firm Institute conference had a session called:
“Can Embracing Conflict Spur Positive Change?”
When people like me get called into a business family, it’s often because there’s some conflict going on.
The “good news” is that the conflict heightens the need to call in an outsider, to help the family get to a better place.
When an open-minded outsider, who’s comfortable with a high conflict environment comes in, the conflict CAN actually spur positive change
Many families avoid conflict at all cost, and some family cultures simply don’t “allow” any expressions of confrontation, negativity, or challenges to authority.
But that often MASKS important differences, that actually really NEED to be expressed, and dealt with.
Visible conflict is better than just letting issues simmering under the surface.
When things aren’t addressed, bitterness and dissatisfaction can last for years, or even decades, before finally exploding.
Issues that are never raised will only get WORSE with time.
Another positive aspect of the conflict is the “energy” that it creates, which can be harnessed, for “good”.
Unhappy people in a family business can become apathetic, feeling like things’ll never change, or that they’ll only change far in the future, once the perceived “problem person” is gone.
That apathy and feeling of resignation can turn into stagnation really quickly.
The conflict that erupts and becomes visible can be much healthier because at least you can see it and you’re forced into action
Plus, when a family “comes back together” after a rift, the story about that conflict, and how the family overcame it, can be a huge benefit.
It’s all about positive change, and the first step is to learn to “embrace” the conflicts that you can already see.
You can only get through difficulties when you actually put things “on the table”.
And if you need outside help, then get some.
That’s all for today, I hope you got something useful, see you next time.