Harmony Is A Must — Guiding Principle Four Of Family Business Succession

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
2 min readJun 3, 2024

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Photography By Mustering Antenna On Unsplash.com

Harmony lies in effective communication and bringing everyone on a journey with you. In a succession process, harmony is sought across the family and the business, so the range of people becomes quite wide.

Creating, sustaining and enhancing harmony throughout the succession process should be viewed as a must. Harmony will support and deliver on your goals and will serve to remove any barriers that might exist.

Harmony requires that you communicate well and openly, that you listen (really listen and appreciate others’ views), that you actively invite contribution and provide active updates of progress. Harmony does not mean conceding or being weak, but harmony means gaining acceptance and support.

Harmony is about integrity and keeping true to the outcomes set and, if this means one of the participants will not achieve their preferred outcome, then harmony requires that you communicate this clearly, explain why and uphold this position.

In engaging with family and other people involved in succession, you must recognise that they are seeking certainty about the process and their future. They wish to feel a sense of contribution and a positive outcome where there are opportunities for individual growth.

They also want to understand why you have made certain decisions and why you consider them to be fair and equitable. It may be about their position (role) in the business, but it will also likely be about others’ positions (roles).

The importance of harmony lies firstly in achieving the compounding of wealth across generations. If the members of the family are not in agreement with the process or the outcomes that have been reached in the succession process, then it is likely that they will not support them and at some point possibly seek to undermine the outcomes.

Disputes, ill feelings or a sense of injustice between family members quickly transfer across generational lines and ultimately diminishes wealth.

It also means that you keep an absolute focus on achieving the initial goals set, and on business continuity and ongoing jobs. And this is where the key to harmony begins to emerge.

If you keep relating your actions and your decisions back to the process and the goals and outcomes you have set, you create a high degree of transparency and integrity. Participants may not agree with your decisions, but they should be able to relate it back to the established process and one of the pre-set goals, and therefore appreciate where it is coming from.

This brief video clip speaks into the importance of Harmony:

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