Family gatherings over the holidays can be stressful. The stresses can be compounded for those who work together in a family owned business. Here are some holiday survival tips from our friends at Continuity Family Business Consulting that might lead to peaceful and harmonious family gatherings this holiday season.
- Try to make the gathering a “work-free zone”. Build consensus in advance of the event via emails, texts and conversations to avoid having to deal with work situations at the event.
- If a “work-free zone” is not possible carve out a specific time for the business meeting. Make sure it is separate from the main family event.
- Build memories together by organizing a structured, but non-competitive activity that includes all generations and offers a learning experience about the family and what they’ve built together. A family tree is a good example, especially if it includes photos and sharing family history.
- If the festivities include a sit down meal, mix up the usual groupings by separating people who work together with those who do not know each other very well. This will go a long way to breaking down factions and building trust.
- If the family really struggles to contain conflict or tension, it may be a good idea to avoid the typical gathering. Instead, plan a family outing such as a sporting event, attending a show or going to see the holiday decorations. This provides a shared experience but in a more casual environment.
No one knows your family or your business better than you. So there’s no need to compare your situation to some Madison Avenue family ideal. Whatever you do, remember the basics of all families: caring, commitment, connections and continuity. The bonds that link us together should help us cope with stresses that might otherwise arise from work-related issues. Peace and joy to you and your families and best wishes for the holidays and a happy new year.