In 1952, a husband and wife team began a printing and shipping business. Over the decades, each of their three children joined the company. Conflict occurred when the daughter wanted her father to hire her husband as an inside counsel. Her brother, who had leadership responsibilities, resented that he was not approached first. Even though he respected his brother-in-law, he did not believe a full-time corporate counsel was needed when outside counsel had always been sufficient.
Relative Solutions’ Direction
The family began by articulating their views about including relatives in the business. Working with Relative Solutions, they defined business needs and clarified family ownership issues. They dealt with the son’s feelings of exclusion in meetings.
Using the Relative Solutions approach, we helped institute a middle management structure and reviewed effective methods for management cooperation with family members. It was decided that in-law participation would be encouraged if any were to join the business in fulfillment of business needs.
We held family meetings to articulate entry and exit policies for family members. Ultimately, the couple felt the support of the family, and the brother-in-law decided to pursue a law firm partnership. All were in clear agreement that if he were not successful or happy, the business would re-examine its need for his involvement at that point.