The Do's and Don'ts in Family Business Decision Making

If it's hard enough for an individual to make a decision it is even harder for a group, taking into consideration their differences in culture, values, needs, desires, positioning and familial relationships. Therefore it's not surprising that any matter discussed by such a group will promptly result in a deadlock.

There are certain do's and don'ts to be considered before making a group decision.


  • Preserve family relationship
  • Build cohesion
  • Endeavour to be non political
  • Strive for " family decisions"


  • Avoid inter personal conflicts
  • Legal challenges
  • Outside interventions
  • Battles and defections
  • Marginalize family members

There are six decision making models used by family businesses

  • Autocratic
  • Consult
  • Majority
  • Recommend
  • Consensus
  • Delegation

All these decision making models have their own pros and cons but the best method which will suit family businesses is the consensus model.  Even though it is quite cumbersome and requires lot of patience, it is the only model that preserves unity in family and business.

It is advisable that only family members with the following characteristics should be a part of the decision making team:

  • Emotionally mature
  • Willing to contribute to decision making
  • Flexible
  • Well informed and prepared
  • Trustworthy
  • Willing to put group needs ahead of self

Those who have the long term interest of their family business in mind will consciously adopt a model of decision making that will suit their family members.

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