Family Business—A Three-Way Balancing Act

Open up a family business and you will find within a three-way structure of dynamic subsystems; the family, the ownership and the business. These three must continually adjust to one another to maintain balance among themselves for their own health and that of the entire business. What’s tricky about that? Each of the subsystems has its own set of priorities.

Priorities for the Family subsystem are:

  • Harmony
  • Unity
  • Acceptance
  • Loyalty

Priorities for Ownership are:

  • Dividend Distribution
  • Stock Appreciation
  • Control

For the Business subsystem priorities are:

  • Growth
  • Profitability
  • Market Share
  • Innovation

Set out like this, it becomes easy to see where points of contention may exist as the systems’ moving parts meet and inevitably impact one another; where family harmony intersects dividend distribution; where innovation meets control; where market share runs aground of stock appreciation…

These are a just a few of the many ways these three subsystems can become unbalanced, creating inter-family conflict, operations slowdowns, loss of profitability and overall damage to the sustainability of the business and the family.


Thoughts On The New Year

The Holiday Season has come and gone, with it’s festivities and colors lighting up the winter darkness. And it’s January 1st once more. We have again accomplished that crossing between year’s end and another beginning.

As we reflect on this crossing, make promises or resolutions. and set our sights on the challenges and adventures that beckon ahead, we may pause to contemplate that yet another year of our life has gone by.

One can see time as passing by, and we can also see that we are travelers, participants on a journey of possibilities from youth to the wisdom of old age—through days, months and years.

It is a journey not to be feared, writes Thomas Moore in his book Ageless Soul, The Lifelong Journey Toward Meaning and Joy.[1] Rather, he writes, it should be embraced and cherished. In Moore’s view, aging is the process by which one becomes a more distinctive, complete, fulfilled, loving, and connected person. May this be, in 2018, a promise for you and all your loved ones.

We, at The Family Business Leader™, wish you and all your family
a very wonderful and prosperous New Year.


1  Moore. Thomas. (2010) Ageless Soul: The Lifelong Journey Toward Meaning and Joy, New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press.