- Can you imagine telling your brother that he’s failing as your sales director, knowing you have planned dinner with him and his family this weekend? How about asking your father when he might be retiring, knowing he started the company in the first place? How easy is it to tell your direct report that she is not making the grade when she is the boss’s daughter? There are accountability challenges in major corporations and small businesses alike, but the sensitivity factor can be much higher in family-based businesses.
- Deep personal relationships create challenges that family-based businesses have to deal with on a constant basis. Let me tell you, keeping people accountable is never easy, and in many cases, can seem impossible to address. In a family business, differences of opinion can be sensitive, even risky to deal with. We are talking about more than work here. We are talking about relationships that aren’t going to go away.
- What can family based businesses do to stop the downward spiral?
- Seek external help. The bottom line is that family based businesses can become extremely sensitive at times. It’s not easy to tell your son that he’s not making the grade. The reality is that you might be too close. Don’t hesitate to seek an external consultant who can bring in an unbiased perspective and push you to do the right thing, regardless of whether or not your “problem child” is your relative.
- Step up on the accountability front. This is easier said than done, but consider the impact on business when employees are not held accountable for their actions. Evaluate your employee’s roles and relationships from a personal and a professional perspective. Hold one-on-one meetings. Address people’s issues. Follow up if necessary. Admittedly, you will feel very uncomfortable at the beginning of the process. People will be surprised by your change in behavior. Keep it up, and it will pay off for you, your employees and your business.
- About the Author:
- Rubi Ho is Vice President of Sherpa Coaching in Cincinnati, Ohio and co-author of ‘What’s Your Impact on Business?’ and author of ‘Confronting My Elephants’. He is an executive coach and educator who has trained and guided over one hundred executive coaches in Fortune 500, non-profit, and private companies. He works with senior executives and organizations on leadership development and the integration of coaching into their cultures. Born in Vietnam, he and his brothers and sisters escaped from Saigon in 1975, the day before it fell. He lives with his wife and family in Cincinnati, Ohio.