Being Properly Prepared for Discussing Complex Issues

Being Properly Prepared for Discussing Complex Issues

Leading, operating, and managing a business involves inspiring and meeting the needs of team members. Collaboration is essential to fulfill the expectations of the franchisor, employees, customers, partners, and family. Unfortunately, different communication styles, motivations, and even stress management techniques can lead to team tension. Where one may have the best of intentions behind an action, a word, or phrase, another takes exception and feels offended.

Summer months often mean vacations with family. Family may be business partners, employees, or those who influence business decisions as a life partner, husband, or wife. The difference between a productive dialogue and a blowout conflict often boils down to choice and awareness on both sides. Timing, environment, preparation, and other dynamics influence an interaction’s positive or negative outcome.

Juggling work, relationships, and personal time makes life busy, so it can seem like there isn’t a good time to bring up important topics. It is natural to think it may be a good time to broach particular issues during downtime, but the timing must be suitable for both people. Chilling on the beach and talking about the weather and then suddenly switching to something more complex involving family and business can catch someone off guard. Everything is fine, and unexpectedly, relationship fireworks go off, and you think, “what just happened?”

Family business balance requires awareness and setting up a win, win, win for you, the other party, and the focus of discussion. We encourage intentionally scheduling time to discuss complex topics to ensure both parties are mentally and emotionally prepared, but sometimes “things come up.” If you find yourself in this situation, below are a few clues that will help you identify if the conversation is going off the rails.

  • Body Language: Can you observe any tension or defensive posture in the other person?
  • Tone: Is the tone of voice becoming louder or more elevated?
  • Breathing: How is your breathing? How is their breathing? Is it becoming shallow, or is it deep and calm?
  • Tension: Are you feeling tension in your body, fear, anxiety, or anger?

Depending on how you observe the other person’s behavior and tone, checking in on your stress level will let you know if you are navigating safe waters. If anything seems to move into an intense feeling, check-in with yourself and the other person to evaluate if picking up the conversation at another time is better.

There is no business gain worth a family (or relationship) loss. Set yourself and the other person up for success by checking in on yourself during dialogue.

Here are some common qualities of harmonious families in business:

  • There is genuine interest and concern among family members about the welfare and success of other family members.
  • The family continues to discuss disagreements to preclude these issues from becoming problems.
  • Family members agree that it is okay to disagree.

The idea of a pitch-perfect family and business dynamic is unrealistic. The key is in the collective strive to continuously practice these positive qualities.

Kendall Rawls knows and understands the challenges that impact the success of an entrepreneurial-owned business. Her unique perspective comes not only from her educational background but, more importantly, from her experience as a second-generation family member employee of The Rawls Group – Business Succession Planners. For more information, visit or email

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