7 Lessons in Harmony for Family Startups Running a family business can unite members of a family but it can also tear them apart. Here are some tips keeping the peace, both at home and at the office.
Brothers Gerald and Carl Huber needed a succession plan. Together they owned an agricultural business in southern Indiana that had been in their family for five generations, since the mid-19th century. And they were not getting any younger.
Problem was, Gerald and Carl each had four children, and the brothers did not believe the business could support them all. They resolved to anoint one child from each family to succeed them. It was a judgment that might have given Solomon fits, and a dilemma that illustrates the thorny issues that inevitably arise within every family business.
"There's nothing like a family business to unite a family," says Greg Greenleaf, a principal with Chicago-based Family Business Consulting Group, "and there's nothing like it to tear it apart."