The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2014 - (Page 44)

CONVENTION FAMILY BUSINESS SPEAKER Finding Your Path In (Or Out) of the Family Business BY DEBORAH HOUDEN, PHD C ommunication in business is paramount to success. A business is typically made up of a group of people who must come together to create a product or service that someone else needs or wants. Glance through any major business periodical and you will find an article on the importance of communication for leadership, team development, bottom line, etc. In a family business, the need for communication is vital to business and relational success. But communication is not the only necessary ingredient. For a family business to function at an optimal level, clear communication must be joined with aligned expectations to get superior results. What exactly is a family business? There are many forms, from sole proprietor to publicly traded (albeit family-controlled) corporations. The most comprehensive definition is where an entrepreneur or subsequent generation leader and one or more family members influence the strategic direction of a business. For many, sharing work and family is a dream: however, that dream can turn into a nightmare. Some of the most common issues in a family business stem from lack of communication and misaligned expectations including: planning (or absence of) for leadership succession; sibling rivalry, parent/child (generational) miscommunication; old wounds among family branches pervading over current generations; over/under functioning of family members within the business; ill-defined roles of family member employees; family members who should not be employed by the business at all. When these issues start to crop up, they are like a watered weed in the hot sun. They explode and creep into every beautiful thing. Clear Communication Clear communication is vitally important but sometimes very difficult to achieve. Tricky family dynamics that can be managed outside of the business get amplified when working together is added to the mix. Perceptions, family stories and past experiences all can muddy the work/ 44 MHEDA |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2014

President’s Perspective
From the Desk of Liz Richards
Editor’s Note
Ask Your Board
MHEDA Member Profile
Howard Bernstein and MHEDA: 60 Years of Superhero Leadership
Get Aggressive and Start Thinking Big
Managing an Acquisition
Creating a Best-in-Class Safety Program
Exhibitor Product Guide
Floor Plan
MHEDA University Calendar
Inside, Outside or Upside Down
Six Secrets of Top Performers
Finding Your Path in (Or Out) of the Family Business
What is This Thing Called Employee Engagement?
‘Fleet Centricity’ and Finance Partners
New Members
Spotlight on Association News
MHEDA Milestones
Index of Advertisers by Product Category

The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2014