“The Perfect Storm”
"The family is one of nature's masterpieces."
George Santayana, Spanish-American Philosopher, Poet and Humanist, 1863 -1952..
"A family is a little kingdom, torn with factions and exposed to revolutions."
Samuel Johnson, English Critic, Biographer, Essayist,Poet and Lexicographer, 1709 - 1784.
The Family Business
Over 70% of the businesses in the United States are family owned and operated. It is an astounding accomplishment that these businesses flourish. The organizational and operational structure and function of business is vastly different from family functioning. The strengths of the family unit would be considered weaknesses in business; while the strengths in business would be considered weaknesses in the family unit.
Whether viewed as a masterpiece or a little kingdom, families are unique entities. Each has its own culture with a set of spoken and unspoken rules. The strength of the family unit is in maintaining a stable, secure, supportive environment for its members. As families strive to maintain the status quo, change is minimized.
Conversely, maintaining the status quo in business is a preamble to decline. The strength of business lies in change; challenging pre-existing concepts and norms that lead to creativity, innovation, and growth in the marketplace. Attempts at change and growth within the family unit are often viewed as disrespectful, rebellious, and ungrateful. It is not surprising that family owned and operated businesses have more internal strife than traditional corporations.
Commonly mediated issues that arise in family business include:
Generational Differences in Perception/Thinking
Sibling Rivalry, Unhealthy Competition
Spouses Balancing Work and Home
Lack of Succession Planning
Blurred Lines of Authority
Lack of AdequateTraining of Family Members
Fostering the Status Quo
Dr. Grether, a Clinical Psychologist and Qualified Mediator, has the experience of growing up in a family business. He worked in, and then operated the family business over the course of a decade. His younger brother was the successor. His approach to family business issues is designed to Achieve Resolution and Preserve Relationships.