After starting a plastics manufacturing company together, Bob and Alice began to fight at the office and focus too much on work at home. They became increasingly unhappy and believed their employees felt their tension. Alice asked Bob for a divorce, citing their increasing incompatibility. Rather than calling a marriage counselor, they decided they needed someone who understood family firms and their impact on marriage and family life.
Relative Solutions’ Direction:
Part of the marital tension seemed to be due to ambiguous management roles. Alice felt that Bob overrode her voice and vote, and Bob thought Alice was incapable of understanding the manufacturing workings of the company.
Through sessions focusing on management, ownership and family issues, the couple agreed to work on an impasse policy, and Alice decided to learn more about manufacturing. Bob agreed that he, too, needed help understanding Alice’s areas of expertise. They also agreed to work out a buy/sell agreement with some consideration to what would happen to the business if they decided to divorce.
Teaming with Relative Solutions, they defined a statement of values for the business, which allowed the next generation to express interest in it. Bob and Alice were successful in learning how to manage conflict as a family and to focus on family time alone.