Longstanding family conflict can bring a family business to its knees. It saps energy and happiness and holds back the business from functioning optimally. The first step in resolving longstanding conflict is recognizing that the consequences of avoiding an issue are worse than the emotional discomfort of discussing it. Let us look at an example of a family that succeeded in resolving longstanding conflict.

The family, moving from its fourth to fifth generation of family operation and ownership, had hit a snag: Conflict was hindering the generational transition. The conflict had been under the surface for some time; everyone knew it was there but did not want to talk about it in an open format. A facilitator had been engaged to help the family with the transition, and one of the topics that emerged was the unresolved conflict. After years of remaining in a state of discomfort, the family realized they had to address the conflict in order to achieve their goals. 

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This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of Family Business Magazine. (Shared with permission.)