Creating Sustainability for Your Family Business
You have worked hard to create a business that can be the legacy you leave for your family.
But what happens when that legacy feels like a burden? Many of our clients hire us because this is one of the many challenges they face when trying to create a sustainable family business. Here are a few general guidelines that all family businesses should follow to ensure that your family business continues to grow and thrive.
It is important to establish clear roles for each member of your team. Clearly defining the roles and accountability for each team member will ensure everyone knows their role and takes pride and ownership in their work.
Establish open lines of communication. Schedule regular meetings where each family member reports on their roles and progress. This meeting provides an organized forum where team members can seek counsel and advice to help them succeed. Also encourage open and transparent dialogue. Using communication modalities and tools such as Productive Conflict can help companies easily work through difficult conversations.
Establish guidelines for conflict resolution. By having a set plan for handling disagreements, family members can avoid arguments and stay focused on running the business. Having an external communication specialist can sometimes be helpful when the stakes and emotions are particularly high. The company can engage a designated “contact person” who family members can reach out to as a resource. This person can provide support and help team members find solutions beyond the conflict.
Create protocols for decision-making so all team members can provide valuable input and are on the same page when important, timely decisions need to be made. Allowing time in regularly scheduled team meetings for discussion of issues or challenges in an open forum where each team members provides support is immensely powerful.
Finally, it is important to document everything. Documenting standard operating procedures and tasks accomplishes three things. First, the documentation becomes a guide for team members to learn from and reference as needed. Second, it ensures that everyone is following the same playbook. And third, the creation and frequent review of these processes and procedures will bring clarity and evaluation to how tasks are completed. It also provides an opportunity to critically evaluate the need and efficacy of processes.
Creating a sustainable family business can seem daunting. However, by following these general guidelines, you can set your company up for success and the legacy you desire.