family holding handing by an ocean shore looking a sunset in the distance

Family Cohesiveness: Learnings From The Pandemic

May 26, 2020

Can Families Walk Away Stronger?

A pandemic can create an environment of disruption, uncertainty and fear. On the other hand, it can spark innovation, creativity, and the opportunity for development. Consider for a moment the family distillery that changed its course and started producing hand sanitizer, the family-owned retailer that began producing masks or the winery that is offering virtual wine experiences with an online sommelier and wine tastings shipped directly to your home.

Research indicates that nearly 90% of family enterprises have experienced some form of negative impact on their business during this pandemic. Despite that, we have witnessed many of them innovate and thrive in these unprecedented conditions.

Why is that?

Family businesses have the autonomy to pivot quickly and make critical decisions. Successful family enterprises see a need, and they adapt. They have the right, and the power, to change almost every aspect of how their business is run. And during a crisis these powers are magnified.  They become even more impactful than they were under normal operating conditions.

If family enterprises can snap into action so quickly during crisis to fortify their businesses, could they not do the same to strengthen their families?  

Many families feel that they are doing well, that they don’t have any ‘family dynamics’ that will challenge their long-term success.  Sure, there may be certain things they could improve, but those issues aren’t causing failure …at least not yet.

But why wait until a crisis occurs?

For many families, the key elements to healthier family dynamics are sitting on the back burner. They were put there for a multitude of reasons.  Maybe they were too big to take on. Maybe the conversations that were needed caused dissent within the family. Maybe they’ve been forgotten about.  Whatever the reason, there’s no better time than now to address them. Let’s face it, it will never feel like the perfect time. Something will always feel out of place, missing, or not yet perfect.

It’s normal for families to experience dissension or communication challenges over time. But energy, focus and determination are needed to keep the family train on its tracks.

And so, we challenge you to apply it to your own family. Consider and tackle what is threatening your family’s long-term success.  Finalize that shareholder’s agreement that stalled. Get back to hashing out that conflict resolution process you’ve been avoiding. Work through those revisions to your Will that will reflect your true wishes.

A crisis can either paralyze us or it can call us to action. What better time is there to show what we and our families are capable of?