Family Business

Can We Talk? Communicating in business

Can We Talk?

Most of us are able to separate our working lives from our personal lives. We might socialize with people we meet at work but often our colleagues are not our siblings, cousins or parents who have known us all our lives. When you work with your family, that line is very blurry and it is not easy at all to separate work from personal. Open, honest communication can be scary. It takes intentional thought and skilled communicators to keep the peace – especially where there are conflicts. Families quickly learn that they make a lot of assumptions about each other. These assumptions are based on history and can often change a business conversation into a personal one, “You’ve been like that since you were a child!” In one family we studied, parents fell prey to attribution errors much more frequently with their children working in the business than with non-family…


What Problem do you Want?

What Problem Do You Want?

Life’s never without a challenge or a problem. You have the opportunity to decide what problem you want whenever you are faced with trade offs. All of us make trade offs all the time. By saying “yes” to one choice, we are by default saying “no” to others, many of them good ideas or good actions. When you are in business with your family, saying “yes” to the family means saying “no” to the business. It’s all about balance. It is time to rebalance if you: feel your trade offs are getting you out of balance feel stuck or feel you’ve hit a plateau feel some distress in your personal relationships as a result of saying “no” to the family & “yes” to the business feel your health is being neglected, being told “no” too often feel unappreciated at home or in the business feel your significant other has his/her…


Successful business with your spouse

Successful Business With Your Spouse

Successful marriage. Successful business. Neither happens without commitment, growth, resilience, grit and hard work. As I reflect on the value of the conversations we engaged in during our marriage preparation courses, I can’t help but wonder how useful a “business preparation” course would have been. My husband was in business when I met him. When we were married, I joined him in the business. As time went by, we invested and expanded the business and are now planning to pass the business to the next generation. In speaking with other business owners who are also married, it’s become apparent that many businesses that are owned and /or operated by spouses encounter challenges related to being married AND in business together.


If you're like many children whose parents started a business or carried on a family business, you either want to jump in as a successor or you want to move as far away as you can from it.

My Sister. My Brother. My Friend. My Business Partner?

You think you know your sibling and that s/he knows you. You’ve already shared many common experiences that built trust. You’ve worked through conflict and know that your backgrounds, although different, were similar. You may think you can smoothly enter into a business relationship with your sibling with all the relationship protocols intact. Chances are you have no past experience in a business relationship with your sibling. There will be bumps along the way. “If you want to do really important things in life and big things in life, you can’t do anything by yourself. And your best teams are your friends and your siblings.” Deepak Chopra When you build a business with your sibling, you improve your success by being intentional about business topics. Talk about these five topics in your planning process. Come to agreement and play to both of your strengths. Write down your agreements! Don’t rush…


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Rethinking the Family Biz

If you’re lucky enough to have a business in the family, the local economic health might be prompting you to re-think your mindset about its value. If you’re like many children whose parents started a business or carried on a family business, you either want to jump in as a successor or you want to move as far away as you can from it. As layoff numbers mount, Albertans with family businesses are more resilient and see more opportunities to continue working than those who come from families of wage earners. They see opportunities to strengthen the business, perhaps through growth or through operational improvements. This is empowering! If you’re the founders of a family run business, you might be wondering how you get out of it, entice your children into it, retire, or sell it. This is a key learning moment to talk to your children, family members or…


Leveraging Your Success