Five Structures To Help Your Family Business Flourish

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Five Structures To Help Your Family Business Flourish

Having structure is vital to finding success, but this is especially true if you are involved in running a business. Without it, conflict and breakdowns in communication are never far behind, both of which are toxic elements in a work environment.

Those running a family business in particular need to be conscious of this.

The inherent complexities in family businesses can add layers that can spell failure, even if you have a solid product or service. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that 70% of family businesses fail to make it to the second generation.

To help you avoid being one of them, I have put together my 5 essential family business tips that spell family business success

1. Develop a Structure for Each Family Member to Flourish

You must have a clear outline of roles and responsibilities so that each family business leader can flourish.

A common mistake is the absence of basic structures and systems that enables the 1st generation to transition to the 2nd. Rather than continuing to wear multiple hats, learn to delegate. The key is to have an operation where family business leaders play to their strengths.

To avoid guessing which family member fits best into which role, consider doing leadership assessments. These provide data to help you make objective decisions, identifying each person’s natural strengths and, by extension, how they fit best in the organization. You could then develop a leadership development plan ensuring each leader understands and knows how to grow. This process also supports growth opportunities for the business.

There are many assessments to choose from. Two of my favourites are Emotional Intelligence and Profile.

2. Create a System For Accountability

Accountability conversations are difficult with family members within the business. Yet being disciplined to consistently look for gaps in structures, agreements, and behaviours is an essential component of family business success.

This could be done by having an advisory board to mentor and facilitate performance reviews. Having this structure allows for transparency and accountability with family business leaders.

3. Determine Boundaries for Home Life and Work-Life

While it is understandable for there to be some cross-over between life at home and work, family conversations could easily spiral into only being about work unless you pay attention.

To avoid this, create agreements in advance about how often you will discuss work topics outside of working hours. You could restrict this to either 30 mins or only after meals.

This is especially beneficial for those family members not in the business and allows you to work on your business’s foundation, the strong bonds between family members.

4. Look For Blind Spots

Each of us has a unique perspective, an inherited system of beliefs and attitudes. Because of this, we are restricted in which problems and challenges we can see in our business.

Therefore it is critical to confront our own thinking, beliefs, and perspectives to increase self-awareness. Create a process to isolate what is and what isn’t working as a team and aim to be open-minded to achieve family business success.

5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

The biggest barrier to effective communication is ourselves. This is partly down to our makeup, as our brain’s capacity to listen is far greater than the average person can speak, meaning we often find ourselves using this extra headspace for something else. And what is that?

We anticipate and expect what will be said, thinking of our response, and not being an effective listener.

How can you stop this getting in the way of family business success?

One effective way is by asking questions and listening to understand. Afterwards, Paraphrase and ask clarifying questions to ensure you are on the same page.

Family Business Success Is Just a Step Away

So which one will you incorporate first to bring about family business success?

If the familiarity of family relationships sometimes gets in the way of the smooth running of your organization, you should consider enlisting help.

My years as an executive coach and mentor have enabled me to create safe spaces for family business leaders to uncover blind spots and most importantly encourage harmony in family working relationships.

Let me know if there is any way that I can assist you by booking a consultation today.


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