“In a relationship as critical as the one at the top, how do you create open lines of communication, respect differences and grow the business together?“
In his article Sheryl Sandberg Shares the Key to Creating Chemistry at the Top, Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff asks this question. He is probing into the secret of the successful collaboration between Facebook’s “oddest couple” leadership team—Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg. The answers he elicited hit the nail on the head for me when considering what’s needed for growing a successful family enterprise: “carve out time to communicate; prioritize the relationship; find a partner who shares your values.”
The ultimate management challenge for a family business is to open communications.
Without functioning lines of communication a palpable underground of misunderstandings, resentments, personality conflicts, will ripple through the family and the business impacting their workings and the bottom line.
Family meetings and staff meetings held on a regular basis provide groundwork for clearing problems before they build up. Between senior executives, the importance of maintaining constant communication cannot be stressed enough. Lack of strong partnership at the top can seriously hinder an organization’s ability to live its values and fulfill its mission.
Prioritizing relationships is another challenge for family businesses.
This key point is easily overlooked because of the familiarity born into the family. When everyone grew up with everyone else it’s hard to see beyond personalities and personal histories. But for good or for ill, quality of relationships impacts the prosperity of both business and family.
Shared values lie at the very foundation of family enterprises.
The nature of the business and its mission may change with a changing external marketplace; values are the bedrock that underlies longevity. Again from Spencer Rascoff: “If you don’t have a shared language of values in an organization, it won’t work.”
The success of Facebook cannot be denied. Implementing its executives’ triad of ingredients for success—communication, relationship and values—can help family businesses achieve their own success, now and into the future.
 All quotes in this article from: Sheryl Sandberg Shares the Key to Creating Chemistry at the Top, accessible online at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/facebooks-sheryl-sandberg-shares-key-creating-top-spencer-rascoff