May 3, 2012

“I make the shots…”

… he said. He was somewhat above 50. His wife and their two children were partners and working for the family business. I smiled. He continued: “There must be a boss in any enterprise. I am the one in our case.” I smiled again. ” Are they happy working for the company?” I asked. ” Sure they are,” was his answer. “It’s our extended home.” I did not smile this time around.

Extending home to the work place for the family might sound very natural to some people. Whenever I hear it though, I get suspicious. There is no family without problems. And there is no business without problems. Extending home to business means in many cases building towers of problems. Especially if someone has built up the family business as an entrepreneur and had no education or experience in management.

Meetings can be canceled due to the quarrel between the kids. A wife could have a problem in showing her anger to her beloved husband after he had given a disastrous decision. A father might be thinking a couple of times before asking her depressed daughter, who had separated from her boyfriend only two days ago, to take over a very important assignment. I can continue with this list endlessly.

I know that there are very good examples of extending home to business. But in each of these cases there are principles laid down early enough to prevent any reflection of the problems on one side to the other one.

In the case of the family I have mentioned above, we declined to work with them after meeting with the whole family. Unfortunately they had no such principles, to say the least. By the way… he was not the one making the shots. :-)

The oldie of the week: Turtles – Happy Together (1967)

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