By Grant Gordon
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Extra info for Family Wars: The Real Stories behind the Most Famous Family Business Feuds
In the opposite case, too little cohesiveness and the family members scatter to different areas of life and involvement, coming together in twos and threes occasionally but otherwise maintaining a norm of separation. The acting dimension of family climate is the way family members conduct themselves and solve problems. This can be rigid or flexible. Rigidity comes from family members being locked into their scripts and roles – such as, tough dad, indulgent mum, achieving son, rebellious daughter.
These matter in business, but how much depends greatly on the situation. In many areas of business you don’t need to be super-smart to be an effective business person. Increasingly it is easy to get technology to help you out with tasks that were formerly the exclusive province of ‘experts’. The best leaders know this, and try to surround themselves with others who have even greater skills than themselves. The second area is values and beliefs. These come from various sources – personality for sure plays a big part.
Sisters are occasionally involved, but it is between the boys that many of the most commonly destructive flashpoints in family firms arise. We move on to consider the other primal point of conflict: the parent–child bridge and how it crumbles under the weight of mismanaged succession. This too is predominantly male – fathers and sons ‘Fighting for the crown’. Our next stop takes us into ‘The house that hubris built’ – where we find leaders, not always founders, whose personalities burn brightly and dangerously for all around them.