Strong Family Businesses Focus on Leveling Up Working Relationships

High Performing teams don’t let familiarity lead to complacency

Team development is often focused on relationship building and trust. What if you have a family business or long lasting team who already benefit greatly from their established relationships? When strong history and relationships are established, team development focuses on preventing familiarity from limiting success.

Our Set Your Sail spring blog series focuses on family businesses and teams with a lot of history; together we explore team aspects related to engagement, performance, and a bonus issue focused on expanding the team.

Perception Coaching: A family business


Interactions on long-established teams are often predictable and harmonious. Over time team members develop understandings, supportive habits, and ways of doing that anticipate and limit tensions; these are signified by conversations which demonstrate acceptance of others and naturally avoid contentious topics.

Opportunity: shift comfort to advocate for solutions

Day-to-day life is full of intuitive choices that provide increased comfort, naturally avoiding conflict and uncertainty. When this becomes the norm, harmonious teams are often recognized as ideal. The interpersonal cost is that team members know each other only well enough to get along. Differences are tolerated, avoided, or unexplored and unique perspectives remain hidden.

The opportunity cost of missing perspectives is they could contribute to a unique solution for an ongoing need or chronic issue. Valuing differences allows individual team members to authentically advocate for their preferred ways of doing things, ideas, and solutions.

Support your team to increase success with productive conflict. Facilitated effectively, sharing and advocating for different viewpoints provides lasting team growth. Offer low risk, safe opportunities for all team members to share their observations and questions, starting with decisions that impact them and are low stakes. As authentic discourse becomes more comfortable, your team will be able to have increasingly relevant debates which uncover valuable, new approaches and solutions.

Understand your team in new ways to support all to be more authentic and grow!

Development: shift appreciation to support growth

Accepting and appreciating talents and preferences of ourselves and others builds trust among team members. Teams made up of members with diverse experiences, preferences, and perspectives take time to recognize the benefits differences bring and to find the best ways to work together; families navigate these waters over time, learning to tolerate then appreciate each other.

As appreciation of others’ ways of doing becomes the norm, reinforcement becomes a part of the culture. It is often difficult to transition from reinforcing statements and conversations to challenging thinking and practices to encourage growth.

Empower team members to drive their development. Offer paths to promotion, opportunities to deepen technical skills, and leadership training options, giving team members new ways to contribute to the team. Access to learning engages employees and provides optimism, connecting them to their purpose and the organization.

Whether your family business needs to innovate or streamline processes, using the above strategies can increase the engagement of all members and lead to better solutions.

Looking for a little help?

Perception Coaching provides tools to see each other in new ways and support meaningful conversations!