To win the race, members of the crew team must row in sync, towards the same destination, utilizing and leveraging each others inherent strengths as much as possible. As in sports, those in family businesses (owners, family members, and employees) must similarly align and work together to ensure family and business success.
Yet alignment is frequently questionable in family businesses. This leads to further conflict and ultimate decline, even death of the business. Additional impacts over time from this include increased tension and distance within the family relationships.
The root cause for much of this in my experience has to do with lack of "real and open" conversations, for balancing family and business needs is not always easy. One is constantly pulled in two different, often opposing, directions. Each member has different ideas on how to run the business, it's direction, it's purpose, and so on.
Rather then talk about such "hot" issues, they are often pushed aside, hoping they'll go away, which of course they never do. Secondly, even if the members were to communicate, it's also lack of understanding what exactly they would discuss, to achieve such alignment.
Having given much thought, I believe there are 7 key areas that contribute to achieving alignment, which can be effectively meaningfully discussed, once more effective open communication is established. And it is alignment that leads to long-term success, of both business and family relationships, both of which are so intertwined in a family business.
These key factors include:
- Purpose (Internal and External)
- Strategic Focus