Family Business Conflict Resolution

Family Business Solutions Scenario

Because confidentiality is a cornerstone of our business, we never publish any information that may identify clients or reveal what we have done for them. This is a typical scenario that we have compiled from real experiences with multiple clients that deals with family business conflict resolution strategies.


An elderly couple ran a manufacturing business they had founded 40 years ago. They employed their four adult children and some non-family staff. None of the children had ever worked anywhere else and all had management roles. There was friction in the family because one child, the eldest son, believed he should become CEO. In addition, there was tension between the children and the non-family staff.

Business had declined due to economic conditions and a high proportion of sales depended on the parents’ relationships with key clients.

The parents wanted to retire but did not think any of the children were capable of running the business. They engaged us to conduct a review and provide advice.


Our review discovered the core problem was the lack of separation between ‘family’ and ‘business’. Over the years, this had given rise to numerous issues.

  • The parents had a strong work ethic, but the children had a sense of entitlement
  • There were no employment contracts or performance targets for the children
  • The eldest son’s wife supported his ambition to become CEO and was influencing family dynamics
  • One child (a daughter with a child of her own) worked part-time but received a full salary
  • The children and non-family staff were like two tribes with contrasting employment conditions
  • There was no structure for the family to raise and resolve issues
  • The family avoided difficult discussions
  • There was no succession plan


The solution was to implement formal structures and processes as well as some new ideas. We worked closely with the family to ensure these were thoroughly embedded into the business.

  • Regular, structured family meetings as a forum for communication and conflict resolution
  • A family charter with agreed roles, expectations, obligations and rules
  • Written employment contracts for the children
  • A succession plan that included training and skills development milestones for the eldest son
  • Agreement to hire a CEO on a fixed-term contract to run the business and mentor the eldest son
  • A full equipped home office for the daughter, so she could work flexible full-time hours
  • A strategic business plan


Family harmony has been restored, sales and profits have improved and the transition from one generation to the next is proceeding smoothly. The parents are now non-working directors with arm’s length control of the CEO’s and the eldest son’s performance.

We continue to work closely with the family as their professional advisers.

To arrange a free consultation for family business conflict resolution in Perth, click on the link below.

Contact us today