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Taking the Emotion Out of Family Business Decision Making

Aunt Sally won’t talk to Aunt Tatiana at Jose’s birthday party unless she apologizes for the comment she made about her lasagna.  Cousin Richard hasn’t paid back the loan he got from Uncle Jackson so they keep calling you to intervene. And your brother’s new wife won’t let him come to the game next week for whatever reason!  

As much as we love our relatives dearly, there are times when the dynamics are not always easy – and working with them can be even more challenging.

Like in any business, a family owned and/or operated business can experience conflicting views and clashing personalities, which contribute to organizational and operational challenges.  Add to it complicated relationships, pride and varying levels of dedication or commitment (often due to different stages of a person’s life) and emotions can run very high. It can be very hard to separate the ‘personal’ and the ‘professional’.

Regardless of whether you love your family (or not), you have to make things right for the sake of the business, right?

Digging In

Over the years, we’ve engaged with many family run businesses and are no longer surprised when the underlying issues impacting performance are overlooked because individuals are  too busy working hard in the business vs. on the business. This happens to the best of companies, and more often than not, it’s partially out of necessity and partially out of passion.  However, being entrenched in the day to day activities can cause leadership to lose sight of the bigger picture – their goals and how to accomplish them.  Whether an organization is experiencing operational challenges, considering enhancements to existing technology, dealing with external market pressures or just trying to navigate your path forward and the change that may involve, it can be immensely beneficial to dig deeper and diagnose the root causes of what’s really going on.

A Step in the Right Direction

My team has  partnered with businesses in various stages of development and success. The concept of our 2-Day Diagnostic came about because oftentimes, we were brought in after problems began to spiral out of control. In these situations, we realized much of what our clients were going through could have been initially avoided by taking the emotion out of the situation, asking the right questions, digging into pain points, and determining the root causes of their challenges, rather than investing in solutions that only addressed symptoms.   Through the diagnostic, we aim to align organizational goals and objectives with the execution of day-to-day activities. This is accomplished using focused interviews to obtain an understanding of an organization’s current situation, gain clarity around strategy and vision for their future, and begin to tailor possible solutions to help bridge the gaps. Most importantly, listening, collaborating and facilitating a clear path forward has helped families regain their passion and enabled greater  focus on what they want for their business!

One of our clients (a family run business in New York) had this to say about their experience with our 2-Day Diagnostic:

In two short days, the Withum team was able to help us uncover some critical themes that were driving inefficiency in our organization and holding us back from continued growth. Of course, there was more to do after the diagnostic, but it was amazing how an independent perspective could help clear the path for success. International Wine Retailer Retail Leader

Ready to learn more about the 2-Day Diagnostic or have questions about how it can help your family run the business? Check out the details online and reach out to us.

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