Family Business Challenges



Differing perspectives and needs among the senior generation, next generation, multiple family members and non-family members can translate into significant conflict if they remain unresolved.  The quotations that appear below are the differing perspectives from family enterprise principals and their associates.  Many of them have stimulated family businesses to seek our help.


Senior Generation

  • “How can I communicate my values, priorities and needs to the next generation?”
  • “How do we leave the business to the next generation while securing our future?”
  • “I’m concerned that my children won’t be able to get along with each other without me.”
  • “Which of my children should be the next leader?”
  • “My nephew has to prove to me that he’s a capable leader before I’ll be able to let go.”
  • “My daughter wants to run the business, and I want my grandchildren to have a mother.”
  • “My kids have this sense of entitlement.”
  • “My son doesn’t work as hard as I do.”
  • “My daughter’s ok; it’s my son-in-law who’s the problem.”


Next Generation

  • “I want to be compensated for my productivity at work, not my productivity at home.”
  • “My dad wants me to know how to fix the boiler. I don’t want to know how to fix the boiler, I want to know how to call the boiler repairman.”
  • “My cousin plays too much golf.”
  • “We’ve got different job responsibilities, and we all get paid the same.”
  • “What about my siblings who don’t work in the business? What is my responsibility to them?”
  • “I want to begin to save for my children’s education.”
  • “My dad expects me to do things the same way he does them.”
  • “I don’t know how to convince my father that I can do the job.”
  • “Will my mother and father ever let go?”


Multiple Family Members

  • “I want more respect and recognition.”
  • “She feels I don’t listen to her.”
  • “When we talk, it’s like we are competing, not discussing.”
  • “My brother may not be the best leader for the next generation.”
  • “Is equal really fair?”
  • “How do I raise topics that are difficult to talk about?”
  • “We may be co-owners, but we don’t have the same sense of commitment.”
  • “He doesn’t tell me what he’s feeling.”
  • “Can ‘co-presidents’ work?”


Non-Family Members

  • “The boss thinks his daughter walks on water; I think she’s stuck in the mud”
  • “Is there room for me to grow here?”
  • “We’re supposed to be cutting costs and the boss got a new Mercedes.”
  • “The owners are spending too much time on unrelated activities.”
  • “My level of authority isn’t clear.”
  • “Will I ever have an ownership stake?”
  • “I’m expected to mediate fights between the owners.”
  • “What do I do? The boss wants his son to report to me.”
  • “The owners aren’t in synch.  We need a clear vision.”

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