Managing Conflict Creatively

Two factors that contribute to the longevity and success of the family business are Strategic Planning and Conflict Management.

Importance of conflict management process:

  • Why do we give the conflict management process such importance?
  • Is it because unresolved conflicts put the Family and Business at risk?
  • Families and businesses that have developed systems and processes to manage conflicts are the ones who are likely to survive and thrive. They enjoy a competitive advantage, as they are able to work together, trust each other, and react fast to the dynamic business environment.

We must realize and acknowledge that conflict in a Family is normal, differences of opinions healthy and that resolution of conflict strengthens Family relationships. It is possible to prevent conflicts by creating a strong meritocracy based leadership, clear Family employment policies, and regular and formalized Family meetings, open and direct communication, dealing with conflict as they arise, in a direct, time bound and open-minded way.

Unique challenges in family Business:

Family businesses have much greater challenges as relationships and assets are at risk when conflicts are not managed. The Family system is based on the emotional relationships that could be the glue or could often derail Business decisions and create rifts.

It is advisable to put a conflict resolution mechanism in place that ensures:

  • A fair process
  • Builds safety and predictability,
  • The acceptance from all members and

A fair process involves the following:

  • Ascertaining the interest of all concerned
  • Laying down ground rules
  • Problem statement & each parties initial position
  • Getting objective criteria for each position
  • Charting possible solutions
  • Reaching consensus after open discussion


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