Business Mentor: How to resolve issues in a family business

Armando Bartolome

Posted at Feb 22 2020 07:54 AM

Did you know that many of the biggest companies here in the Philippines are family-owned? Some of the Philippines’ biggest companies had humble beginnings as family firms before eventually becoming huge brands. 

Some think that working with family will eliminate misunderstandings. Family enterprises, however, also go through a lot of trials. 

Sometimes it is even harder to be in a family business because personal problems, which should be left at home, are carried to work. 

A simple issue could blow up into a bigger problem because of personal issues among family members. 

Here are some of the more common issues in family businesses. 

1)    Miscommunication and misunderstanding

The head of the company may have a great vision for the company, but he needs to thoroughly explain the vision to others to prevent confusion and ensure the proper execution of the vision.

The company head must ensure that everyone in the family is on board with the vision, because leaving some members in the dark may lead to squabbling.

The family must be united in all decisions. Relationships among family members reflect on the whole company, and employees can feel the tension even if they don’t see the family members openly quarreling. 

Good business governance is needed so that problems can be identified, solutions can be created, and plans can be executed as one.

2)    The roles and responsibilities of each family member are unclear

While family members in business all want the firm to succeed, this does not necessarily mean that they all understand their roles and responsibilities. Some may also be afraid that they will get blamed if something does not work out.

While each family member may have a say on certain decisions for the company, it is highly recommended that the role of each family member should be spelled out clearly to avoid confusion.
Each family member should take charge of a specific department so that they know everything happening in the business. A monthly meeting is advisable. Allow each one to give their suggestions and then discuss the pros and cons until you reach the right strategy or solution.

Each member should realize that the family business would only be successful through their joint efforts. They should not be afraid of accountability. Otherwise, the family business would fail.

3)    The drama at home persists in the workplace

Family members may disagree and quarrel, and unfortunately, some of them hold grudges that affect their performance in the company. If they don’t see eye to eye after a plan has been ironed out, this may lead to the downfall of the company. Fights can easily break out when personal issues are not left at home. 

Family members should talk things through. They should weigh which business plans would be more beneficial on a long-term basis. Sometimes, they just need to listen to reason and think about what is good for the company and leave personal matters behind.

Running a family business is a great way to bring your loved ones closer and create a lasting legacy. Misunderstandings may sometimes crop up, but everyone who wants to participate and work toward a common goal can still be included.

By having better communications, pointing out roles and responsibilities, and being active in managing the family business, the challenges that come your way will not be as burdensome. Your venture will succeed and you can pass on your business to succeeding generations.

For more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome 
by email:
FB Page: Butz Bartolome