Family Conflict

One of the biggest challenges family owners face is finding a constructive way to work through disagreements. As family businesses grow, conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional. Conflict tends to follow a typical pattern — one that can escalate quickly. At the same time, too little conflict can be as destructive as too much. Here’s how your family can learn to navigate these two extremes to find a healthy level of conflict.


Finding the Goldilocks Zone of Conflict

For many families, the fear of conflict is so pervasive they go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it. But fake harmony doesn’t solve problems. In fact, too little conflict can lead to the same destructive outcomes as too much.


Strategies to Avoid a Family Feud

One of the most effective ways to deal with conflict is to address issues before they arise with discussions and policies — and recognize the signs that your conflict is escalating so it doesn’t get out of control.

Conflict is always present in family business owners’ relationships, even if it is not “visible”. Acknowledging and accepting that that is the case is one of the first steps on learning how to manage the conflicts.

Vladimir Barbieri


There’s nothing wrong with your family if you’re struggling with any of these challenges. Rather than assigning blame, focus on how to support each other, as well as what you can learn for the inevitable next time you experience a disruption.

Josh Baron 

Co-founder and Senior Advisor

Conflict, by definition, increases as families grow and their interests diverge. The most successful family business owners are those who know how to raise and harness, rather than suppress, their differences.

Nick Di Loreto


Conflict is natural in a business family. If you are experiencing “fake harmony”, push yourself to have the difficult conversations in a constructive way today. Don’t wait for long-simmering tensions to eventually erupt.

Alison Isaacson 


Well-managed conflict is an essential ingredient for family businesses success. Avoid harmful conflict and fake harmony. Look to build a psychologically safe, but uncomfortable, place to make tough decisions.

Rob Lachenauer

Managing Partner & Co-Founder

Families are often programmed from birth to avoid conflict in the name of preserving family relationships, holidays, etc. Unfortunately, in most cases doing that pushes issues of real important under the rug. Rather than trying to avoid conflict, focus instead on how to manage it. When you do, your family and your business will be far healthier in the long run.

Josh Baron 

Co-founder and Senior Advisor

Conflict is natural in family businesses, and often comes from family members having different perspectives. We find that when you foster an environment where individuals can hear and be heard, they generally find common ground and are able to mitigate the type of conflict that can be hurtful or make it hard to come to agreement.

Omar Romman


It’s inevitable that inequality will develop among business families over time. But what’s not inevitable is how you respond. You can choose to be upset or you can choose to grow.

Ben Francois


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