Fault Lines in a Family Business

Just like geological fault lines that trigger earthquakes, every single family business has “fault lines” with historical roots of past events. In the geological fault lines, the stress builds up due to the pressure of the tectonic plates and one day it erupts causing large-scale destruction.

The role of a Family Business Advisor is to help the family release this pressure before it results in a breakdown by diligently digging deep to discover the fault lines and putting a spotlight on them.

These fault lines after excavation need to be acknowledged and handled with sensitivity and care. All family members need to come to terms with the ground reality and then co-create a plan to navigate them in the future with empathy, care, and respect. Denial of reality or hoping that things will improve on their own is not a solution.

These fault lines should not be allowed to become the cause of avoidable and unnecessary disruptions to business and relationships. A preventive approach is better than allowing relationships to rupture and then struggling for years to repair them and rebuild trust.

A Family Business Advisor will help you first understand your own natural style and then objectively analyze the root cause of the fault lines.

(1) Relationship ( personalities )
(2) Task
(3) Process
(4) Status

Then move to a win-win resolution that is fair and reasonable while keeping the relationships intact.

Step-by-step plan to prepare for a productive and honest family conversation: frame the conversation, focus on common ground, listen respectfully without interrupting others, manage your emotions, be creative, and think long-term keeping the interest of the business above personal interests.

A turnaround in relationships doesn’t happen overnight – it takes weeks and months of sustained efforts – but if the approach is right there is visible progress every step of the way.


Harsh Chopra
Family Business Advisor