Stress Prevention by the Manager of Family Owned Businesses

Family owned businesses present golden opportunities for family feuds. The business enterprise manager comes with an extra challenge: not just to run the business well but also how best to serve the interests of the household. In the case of family businesses, disagreements about the business present a frequent and serious challenge for several concerned. It is portion of the manager’s responsibility to ensure these disagreements are taken seriously and resolved with regard to both the business and the family that owns the business.

Many marriages and families have been destroyed by quarrels concerning the business. Many businesses are also destroyed for the same reason. Lawyers, marriage counselors and business coaches typically check for not only who owns the business and the way the ownership is structured but the way the family will relate to the business enterprise. On a somber note, for instance, they will encourage the household to protect the business enterprise against divorce, death and inheritance taxes. Painful as that could be, it is better to address these issues at the beginning of the business, well in advance before any tragic events occur.

Protection of the business against day to day meddling by family members, alternatively, is something that falls to you as the business manager. It really is your responsibility to guard your turf. You, not members of the family, do the managing. Bring to bear sound business practices, articulate them frequently and defend them always. Remember, at the main of all way too many eternal family quarrels and feuds are disagreements over three questions. Even though family members intervene to get themselves hired into the business the discussion still boils down to these three questions:

Who should be in control?

Is the wealth being justly distributed?

May be the business being properly managed?

Sound business practice begins with making sure everyone involved agrees with their responsibilities. The Board makes policy. The manager operates the business enterprise in line with the policies laid down by the Board. The Executive Group of the Board provides day to day support for the manager and oversees the implementation of policy. The owners have the effect of making sure there exists a Board and that the Board develops policy based on the wishes of the owners plus the demands of sound business principles. Translation: when family members come to you to discuss policy changes, refer them to the Board. This is the Board’s responsibility. Caution: do not give all of your opinions about policy to members of the family. Give them to the Board. Have a tendency to your responsibility. Run the business within the policies set down by the Board.

To those who ask this writer whether it is best to have a non-family member manage the household owned business I say no matter. What counts is that the manager be suitable to do the work. If the manager is usually to be a family member he / she still needs to take notice of the professional guidelines of managing rather than take sides or take part in any family disagreements concerning the business. That is to say, do not wear two hats as well. Involvement by the manager in family politics is definitely the kiss of death for the business enterprise and for the family.

About those three questions: the Board should be responsible for policy and the manager should be in charge of running the business. Whether the wealth is being justly distributed is for the household and the Board to work through. Whether the business is being properly managed is for you and the Board to decide. Family businesses that do not have a Board and Executive Group are well-advised (by you) to obtain them in place and start using them. Don’t allow you to ultimately be substituted for the Board.

Family-owned businesses are well served by creating a Board that operates well, an Executive Group that does a good job of assisting and supporting the manager, and a manager who actually runs the business and does so professionally.

That, the bottom line is, how how family-generated stress is kept at the very least and how you, as the manager, avoid needless grief. The answer when a family member really wants to be hired by you for a posture that is open? Yes, if see your face is qualified and company policy allows it. No, if that person is not qualified or company policy does not allow it. After you give the answer, relax. funny family feud questions and no worry. That is what good company structure and sound policy do for you personally and for the family.