Cold Truth About Nonfamily in Family Business

Family Owned Business is a series of blog posts about the exciting, rewarding, often challenging, and always unique elements of family owned small businesses. No, we are not talking about the Mafia. Family members make great partners, right? Wrong! Read these posts before you risk everything. This post explores the dangers of being nonfamily in family business. Nonfamily employees in a family owned small business face many unique challenges. It is also true, that a smart business strategist could reap big rewards by finding the hidden gems. Consider these common points of peril for a nonfamily member:
  • Missed or passed over for promotions due to preferential treatment toward family members.
  • Political pitfalls of taking a side in a family feud.
  • Cynical nature of other nonfamily employees towards leadership.
All of the above challenges are common but should not be discounted. These seemingly small problems often lead to the downfall of many small business and entrepreneurial dreams. The frustration among family and nonfamily grows as these problems rise. Left unchecked, the end result is always the same the smart business strategist must address them early.
It is often wise to select a nonfamily member to lead a family organization. This is often true of a temporary CEO to act as a mediator within top leadership who is feuding among themselves. Consider these three benefits to this interim CEO concept:
  1. Acting as a change agent.
  2. Filling in skill set gaps.
  3. Mentoring and facilitation.
The success of the nonfamily leader within the family business great depends on the cooperation of the entire family management team. The leader must display constant ability to remain neutral and free of suspicion on issues where family members argue. Finally, and most importantly, an excellent leader of a family business serves the family best when he shares goals and values of the entire family unit. How would you remain neutral in a family dominated business? Please share your thoughts.       
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