We have often been asked by clients, what is family? or what should my family look like? Families – like the individuals that are a part of them – come in all shapes and sizes. We have learned that there are some common characteristics of strong, resilient and cohesive families — families who can weather the storms and when faced with challenges persevere. In our experience, strong families create strong family businesses and not the other way around. We will spend more time on each aspect (resilience and cohesion) later but for now we will just speak to the common characteristics of strong families.
A family that sees itself as linked by common interests, values and affinity and does not view its linchpin as the bloodline, invests in each other and helps each other grow from those ties that bind. Not only do they encourage individual growth but they acknowledge and nourish the larger family unit. They have a joint respect as well as enabling individual goal accomplishment. They are jointly working to achieve a common (higher) purpose rather than just their individual interests.
These families display high levels of honesty, openness, trust, communication and consistency. They have struck a balance between flexibility and stability. A family that is open to change is one in which people feel free to give honest feedback. These families genuinely enjoy each others’ company and know how to have fun together. Although they may be a business owning family they do not only have to talk about the business all the time.
Now you may be saying to yourself, my family doesn’t look like that and I really wish it would. Just because your family doesn’t sound like our description does not mean you are alone. Many business owning families do not have this kind of family without putting in the work. We know that many business owning families put much of their work and effort into the business to provide for their family. We want to help you invest in your family by providing some resources on this site to start to take some of this amazing talent and work in your businesses, to your home.
Have you ever wondered about the family part of a family owned business? Do you worry about your family because of the time you spend in your family business? This video segment describes how strong families build strong businesses.
Have you ever been disappointed by a family member but did not know why? Or have you been the one disappointing someone and confused as to why? This Slideshare presentation describe how that sometimes because as family, we believe that people know what we expect and acting under this assumption can lead to mixed expectations – later disappointment.
Have you ever lashed out at a family member quickly? Or have you been lashed out at before you felt that you had time to explain? This segment describes how often families grow apart in age and time but do not realize that. As a result, family members hold old assumptions instead of taking the responsibility to get know one another as they are today.
Do you want more information on how to practice self-disclosure? This tool is a model for how people see us as well as how we see ourselves (known to ourselves and not known).
Are you unsure of what it means to be a family owned business? Do you know of any other family owned businesses? This online quiz is a mix of family business fact and fiction to help you become more familiar with what family businesses are.
The following is an interview with President and Co-Founder of Urban Land Interests (ULI), Brad Binkowski. ULI is a 41 year old development and property management firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. The four-part interview explores Brad’s experince of bringing his son, Mark, into the business.