Tips to help achieve harmony in the family business

When family members work together, it often turns into all work and no play. The personal side of the family/business relationship is taken for granted. How can these things be prevented? Remember that if you work in a family firm, most of your interactions with your family involve work. You need to give at least equal time to the personal side to keep communication, trust, love and respect healthy. Here are some tips to help achieve the perfect balance:

1. Take time away from work every day to talk with your family/business partners about something other than work. You might start the morning with coffee and sharing the crossword puzzle.

2. At least quarterly, arrange a retreat for the family firm that involves playing, such as a trip to the mountains to ski.

3. Discuss all problems no matter how small, whether they are work issues or not.

4. Allow for individual differences. Allow members to speak up in disagreement. Just because you are family and work together, does not mean you are all joined at the hip. So make room for new and different opinions and ways of doing things.

5. Hang in there when there is a problem. Don’t give up until you have a solution to the problem that is a winning one for everyone.

6. If things get out of hand, ask for professional help.

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