In the previous article, we discussed the critical role of W+B Family Advisory in mediating a complex situation involving sibling leaders, Aimee and Alex, within a family business. With the father-founder sidelined due to illness, the siblings found themselves in disagreement over the company’s future direction, highlighting common challenges faced by family businesses. In this continuation, we delve into the resolution steps taken and further explore the obstacles siblings encounter when working together.
1. Mediated dialogue: W+B Family Advisory initiated a mediated dialogue, fostering open communication and understanding between Aimee and Alex. This intervention created a platform for the siblings to appreciate each other’s perspectives, laying the foundation for collaboration. The neutral guidance provided by external consultants played a crucial role in facilitating constructive conversations.
2. Strategic planning session: Recognizing the need for a comprehensive strategy, W+B facilitated a strategic planning session involving key stakeholders. Through collaborative discussions, a balanced plan was formulated, integrating stability and innovation. This strategy aimed to ensure the company’s evolution while preserving its foundational values. The involvement of both Aimee and Alex, along with key stakeholders, helped align everyone with the company’s vision.
3. Clear decision-making protocols: To prevent future conflicts, W+B helped establish transparent decision-making protocols. This ensured that future strategic decisions involved a collaborative approach with a clear delineation of responsibilities. By implementing these protocols, the aim was to promote a more cohesive working environment and foster effective communication among the siblings.
By tapping into the expertise of W+B Family Advisory and cultivating a collaborative mindset, Aimee and Alex successfully identified common ground. The disciplined approach manifested in the development of a well-balanced strategic plan, strategically positioned AS Corp. for sustained success by seamlessly integrating stability and innovation. This resolution not only addressed the immediate conflict but also laid a solid foundation for the company’s future growth and resilience. While acknowledging that there is ongoing work to be done, the family has taken a significant step in addressing a fundamental element in sibling dynamics: fostering open communication.
Common challenges faced by siblings working together
During a forum in Jakarta where I served as a resource speaker, founders, and business leaders sought my insights into the challenges faced by siblings working together in a family business. Here are some common challenges that I shared, emphasizing that parents and business leaders must recognize and remain mindful of these aspects as they initiate the involvement of their children in the family business:
1. Divergent goals and values: Siblings may have incompatible personal and professional goals or values, leading to conflicts in decision-making and business strategy. Addressing these differences early on can prevent future discord.
2. Competitive nature: Inherent competition between siblings can hinder collaboration. Encouraging a mindset shift from competition to collaboration is crucial for the collective success of the business.
3. Unequal contributions: Perceived inequity in workload, responsibilities, or rewards can lead to tension. Clear communication and fair distribution of responsibilities can help mitigate these challenges.
4. Poor communication and conflict resolution skills: Ineffective communication can escalate minor disagreements. Siblings need to develop strong communication and conflict-resolution skills to navigate challenges effectively.
5. Historical family dynamics: Past family dynamics and unresolved issues can complicate working relationships. Acknowledging and addressing these dynamics is essential for a healthy working environment.
6. Role confusion and lack of defined responsibilities: Undefined roles can create confusion. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities ensures that each sibling understands their contributions, reducing conflict.
7. Inadequate succession planning: A lack of a well-thought-out succession plan can create tension. Establishing a clear plan for leadership transitions ensures a smooth process and minimizes disruptions.
8. Personality clashes: Differences in personality traits can contribute to conflict. Siblings should recognize and appreciate each other’s strengths and work towards finding common ground.
To be continued...
Want to learn more?
Join us on Dec. 2, 2023, for an insightful webinar on navigating the complexities of family, business, and the family business, all at the same time! In W+B’s upcoming webinar, we’ll feature Cebu Landmasters director, senior executive vice president, and chief operating officer Jose Franco Soberano, along with family legacy coach and advisor Steve Legler from TSI Heritage in Canada and myself. Secure your spot now and explore strategies to align core values with growth objectives in family businesses. Reserve your seat today through Pat at email@example.com.