â€œThe single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.â€
– George Bernard Shaw
Phone calls. Emails. Text messages. Conference calls. Meetings. Video conferences. We are in constant communication, and yet so often we fail to effectively communicate. the proximity especially because of family members.
In family businesses, the ability to communicate openly about issues critical to both the business and the family is essential for the health of both the family and the business. Some families do it well; too many families do not.
Communication within families is complex. There are no one-size fits all solution. Appropriate structures and formalities â€“ such as formal family meetings or a family council â€“ can provide platforms to facilitate transparency and dialogue. Structures and formalities also provide defined roles and responsibilities to encourage accountability and understanding. Coaching and training on effective communication can provide the tools to help people communicate more effectively on their own. Personal interviews can unmask deeper issues that need to be addressed through improved communication.
Trusted advisers are there to help. They want to get to know your family and your business. They want to help you foster effective communication so that you can thrive as a business and continue to enjoy holiday dinners together as well as your business relationship. They are just a phone call away. Or an email. Or a text message but they can make all the difference to continuity.
Contributed by the Family Business Office Regulator, Dr. Nadine Lia