Solving a Family Feud in a Family Business

March 9, 2020

By Sara Stern

March 5, 2020

Family, IDS, Issues, Meetings

wo angry business partners and family members fighting

During the Issues Solving Track™ (IDS™) of a recent quarterly meeting with a family business, two brothers started having this conversation:

Mark: “I’m sick of you taking jabs at me in these meetings!”

Scott: “I’m sick of you always thinking you’re right”

Mark:  “Are you going to accuse me of being mom’s favorite again?”

Scott:  “You ARE Mom’s favorite!”

Mark:  “I can’t do this with you.”

Rest of the team: (looking nervously at the floor)

Me: Time out!

Sheesh! Does this sound familiar?

When tensions boil over and family members on the leadership team have at it, nothing gets done and everyone else loses trust that they can be open and honest with each other.

Duking it out for the Greater Good

In EOS® we teach the practice of being open and honest with each other. This means getting our thoughts, questions, and feelings out on the table and fighting for the greater good of the business.

Sometimes two people on the team just have an issue with each other that has nothing to do with the business. Sometimes two people are more committed to their personal issues than fighting for the greater good. Sometimes two people have issues that get in the way of the team having open and honest discussions of the real issues. While this can happen in any business, it seems particularly common in family businesses.

When this happens, it makes it hard for the team to solve issues productively. It’s hurtful to relationships, kills the health of the team, and halts the growth of the business. In short, it’s terrible. Thankfully, there’s a way to solve it.

Personal Issues?  EOS Has a Tool for That!

It’s called a Personal Issues Solving Session. Here’s how one goes down:

  • Have a third party facilitate this session (this could be another member of the team or your EOS implementer®)
  • Have each person prepare and then share what they think the other person’s three greatest strengths and weaknesses are
  • List all of the issues
  • IDS them
  • List the action items from the solutions
  • Meet in 30 days to follow up on the action items

90% of the time, this solves the issues between the two people. Other times, they can’t resolve their issues and in that case, one of them needs to leave the business.

Just like a tree with a dying limb, you need to remove the relationship that isn’t working for the health of the team. Sometimes that person needs to leave the business or sometimes, they just need to work in a different area of the business. Either way, one needs to go.

In the case of these two brothers, they had a Personal Issues Solving Session and decided they needed to meet outside of their Level 10 Meetings™ and Quarterlies to work through their conflicts with each other. They both learned better communication skills, quit bickering in front of the team, and their team health increased.

This can be a hard conversation but it’s worth it. Just imagine what comes of it…

Issues solving becomes easier, there is more trust on the team, you’re not held back by two people having issues, and you can all fight for the greater good.

Next Steps: