Managing the Family-Work Mix at Holiday Time

By Davon Cook on November 24, 2015

Has this ever happened at your Thanksgiving table?  Dinner starts off with a heartfelt prayer and joyful laughter.  We compliment the food, inquire about the kids' activities, reminisce over a long ago story, honor a friend lost this year.  Then somewhere - 30  minutes in, Dad asks Son how far the tillage crew made it yesterday.  Son answers quietly and tries to change the subject.  Dad persists, which leads to a status update field by field.  And in a few minutes, they are the only two left at the table as everyone else has wondered off.

As we head into the holiday season, I invite you to reflect on how your gatherings distinguish time spent in famimly relationships from time spent on business matters.  Some family members who work in the business may desire personal time talking about topics other than work.  Family members not involved in the daily business may feel excluded or resent the emphasis on work - or they may actually crave the opportunity to catch up on the business.  

It's also often a logical time of year to have an ownership meeting while far flung members are gathered at one place.  Take advantage of that, but schedule a specific time and make all aware of it.  It's not appreciated if the movie outing is postponed because 'Dad suddenly decided we have to have a meeting'.  And clarify ahead of time who will be invited, who will not, and why.

There is no "right" answer here, but strive to find an acceptable balance for your family.  Be aware of the issue, take cues from body language, or better yet, ask your family members to collectively set some ground rules together.  This is a conversation I often facilitate with clients, and there is seldom a lack of passion on the topic.