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Conflict in Family Businesses

Conflict is natural and a part of being human. So whatever your involvement in the family business you can’t avoid all conflict as it is everywhere. However, it can feel very difficult and threatening both to the business and to the family.
Consequently sometimes it is necessary and productive to move those involved in conflict within the family business from the staleness of the status quo. Given the extra layer of family dynamics found in family business it can be particularly difficult for family members to deal with conflict.
By not dealing with conflict, even if the living with the status quo seems easier than addressing the ‘elephant in the room,’ this can have huge costs, both financial and emotional. These costs can prove to be very destabilising for the business going forward and the future of the family.
Conflict costs family businesses highly in terms of days lost to stress, lowering of morale, management time and lost productivity. Mediation offers a quick and relatively cheap way of resolving conflict whilst allowing people to understand why the conflict developed and how to avoid it in the future.

What is mediation?

It is confidential, voluntary and informal process involving two or more parties in dispute and an impartial mediator. The mediator meets with each party individually before facilitating a joint session with the parties.
It aims to provide a safe place for parties to speak with each other in an open and honest manner to try and reach a resolution that is acceptable to all in dispute. The mediator facilitates a conversation between the parties in a safe and constructive environment and is a facilitator, not a judge. Any agreement that is reached is determined solely by the parties.

What happens in mediation?

  • Each party has a separate room available for the day.
  • Initially I will ask all parties to be in the same room at the beginning of the Mediation. Any friends, legal or trade union representatives may be present at this stage. The representatives may speak for their client/friend but it helps the mediation if the parties concerned speak for themselves.
  • I will then explain the process and give each side the chance to explain their view of the dispute.
  • This is followed by, potentially, a series of confidential conversations with individual parties in their own room. My endeavour is to help them to understand their part in the dispute, to understand the others perspective and to find a mutually agreeable way forward.
  • If potential for agreement is identified I will bring the parties back together to draw up an agreement.

What do I offer?

As an accredited and experienced mediator since 2007 with over 15 years’ as non-Executive member of a family business and over ten years of psychological training and practice I offer family businesses mediation, training, coaching and consulting. I work to help individuals to understand their role in the conflict, to understand their actions and to understand the impact of this on themselves, others and the business. The desired outcome being, that through this deeper understanding, that a new way forward can be revealed.


If you would like to see how coaching could work for you click here or go to the Contact Me page and get in touch.

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