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3 Steps to Healthy Family Business Communication

Family businesses are complex. What makes them even more complex is the fact that many issues go unaddressed by the family and the management team. We’re striving to change that with our 12 Best Practices for family businesses and by asking ourselves some tough questions.

  • What is the “greater good” for the family and for the business?
  • Is everyone in agreement?
  • How are you communicating your family values?

To answer these questions, we start with the first best practice: foster a family culture of healthy communication and conflict resolution. Healthy communication must be in place before any plan or agreements can be completed. You’ll find that it helps avoid potential conflict down the road. It is worth mentioning that communication isn’t just about talking. The other side of talking is listening and I’m learning that the unsaid stuff is sometimes the most important.

How can you achieve healthy communication and conflict resolution within your family and business?

  1. Talk
  2. Plan
  3. Make Good Agreements

This can best be summed up by Professor John Davis of Harvard University (video courtesy of Business Families Foundation).

As John points out, it might seem obvious that you need to talk, but you may or may not be surprised that many families avoid addressing issues, whether they be good or bad. The more you’re interacting and engaging with each other, the easier it will be to plan for the future and come to agreements in advanced.

I have a huge appreciation for what I’ve learned over the last two years from Business Families Foundation regarding succession, communication, preparing the next generation of leaders, intrapreneurship, family charters and much, much more. I’m still a work in progress and I continue to make mistakes along the way. However, I’m grateful to be surrounded by a loving family and the CFBC community.

I hope you can join us for our Roots: A Course for Anchoring Your Business class. You’ll hear more about how to foster healthy communication and receive the rest of the 12 Best Practices of family businesses. Click here for more information.


Judy Headshot 2015 FINAL

Have a joyful day,

Judy Hogel

Executive Director, Chicago Family Business Council




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