JCK 5: Tips on Improving Relationships in Family-Owned Businesses

The book Positive ­Psychology and Family ­Business by Scott Friedman gives insight into improving relationships in family-owned businesses. A few highlights:

1. Move away from typical insular processes [of resolving issues] and engage outside individuals to serve on the board of directors or board of advisers.

2. We often wind up bumping into each other with fear-based responses to situations: greed and turfism, lying, anger. These are the modern-day forms of fighting or fleeing that create negative culture.

3. I stress the importance of humility when faced with communication issues. We’re
not as good at thinking and understanding and communicating as we think we are.

4. Too many family businesses haven’t defined their core principles, and that randomness can erode intrafamily trust over time.

5. I have rarely seen a family wind up working constructively after they’ve sued each other…There needs to be an outlet to help families disagree agreeably.