Surviving Disruptions

Disruptions happen to even healthy business families—death in the family, new entrants, inequality developing, and family members with personal struggles, to name a few. At such times, decisions can become entwined with emotions that you haven’t had to navigate. Without some preparation for such disruptions, both your business and family could fall apart under the strain. Here’s how to anticipate, plan for, and navigate them when the time comes.


Death in the Family

Proper estate and succession planning are critical for reducing the impact of a death on your family business (and business family). Here’s how to think about planning so you will be prepared to navigate these difficult circumstances.

Disruptions are inevitable both in life and in family business. But how you prepare for those disruptions and the decisions you make in the face of them can fundamentally shape or reshape your family and your business.

Nick Di Loreto


New spouses can play a significant role in the fate of your business family. Find ways to engage them and leverage the unique experiences they bring. You don’t want them to feel like outsiders.

Alison Isaacson 


In an uncertain, volatile world, you can’t anticipate what will happen or when. But there are two things you can do: create a structure and family mindset that is open, flexible and responsive to change, and put in place processes for managing the most likely disruptions.

Dennis Jaffe

Senior Research Fellow

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.

Judy Lin Walsh


In the best cases, people marrying in to a family business bring that outside culture of their own family, and that makes the business family stronger.

Marion McCollom Hampton

Senior Research Fellow

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