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Edition 204 – Dusk Till Dawn

One of the most powerful songs I have heard over the past few years is the duet from Zayn and Sia, Dusk Till Dawn. In the modern era of an artist featuring another one, for me it is one of the best combinations not only in terms of the music, but also the lyrics.

If you actually stop and listen to the song, undistracted, take note of not only the words, but the emotion in the voices of each of the artists. It’s a power ballad with a strong message.

Perhaps it’s just me and the fact that I work, every single day, amongst family businesses. However, when I listen to it, I also see it as a metaphor for the support that is needed in family business, by those closest to you.

When you are in a family business, this is what you should expect from your family:

  1. They will support you – not doubt you.
  2. They will challenge you – but not negatively.
  3. They will back you – but not blindingly.
  4. They will trust you – and expect that trust to be reciprocated.
  5. They will celebrate the wins with you – not tolerate hubris.
  6. They will empathise with your sadness at loss – not allow you to wallow.
  7. They will respect you – and be courageous to tell you when you’re not doing the same.

When you’re in family business, from time to time, it can be a lonely road. Family business owners live a lot in their heads – playing over scenarios, conducting future planning, evaluating opportunities, all between your left and right ears. 

The best thing for family business owners and managers is to get those thoughts out of your heads and share them with those closest to you, that you can trust. Often great ideas are borne not out of an individual’s mind, but out of collaboration with others, who can not only embrace your idea or issue, but expand upon it.

When you walk into your family business this week, think about those closest to you. Do they meet the 7 criteria above in terms of how they support you?

If they do, then you’re on a winner in your business, in your relationship and in life.

If they don’t, then you will be challenged, and your success may fall short of your expectations.

Having spent more than 30 years working with family businesses, I can tell you from first hand experience that those that succeed have all 7 criteria in the key relationships in their lives. For those that don’t succeed, they may exhibit some, but not all of those criteria.

My other observation? For those that don’t succeed, more often than not, it’s not the business that is the problem.

Family relationship dynamics are one of the top 3 success factors in a family business – and also one of the top 3 failure factors.