Skip to main content

Gérer les relations familiales en dehors de l'entreprise – Extrait du livre Enabling Next Generation Legacies

Résultat de nombreuses années de recherche et d’expérience pratique à l’échelle internationale, cet ouvrage s’intéresse aux défis particuliers auxquels font face les entreprises familiales. Peter Jaskiewicz et Sabine Rau, membres du corps professoral de l’École de gestion Telfer, ont réuni des universitaires, des familles entrepreneuriales ainsi que des praticiennes et praticiens mondialement reconnus afin de répondre, de manière brève, concise et néanmoins pertinente, aux questions les plus pressantes auxquelles est confrontée la prochaine génération.

Fort de l’apport de quelque cent collaboratrices et collaborateurs issus de 27 pays, le livre présente les pratiques exemplaires, des exemples concrets ainsi que des questions essentielles visant à susciter la réflexion. Les commentaires d’experts proviennent de membres des entreprises familiales les plus importantes du monde, dont Auchan (France), Saputo (Canada), and Sabra (Israël), ainsi que de divers spécialistes universitaires travaillant dans des écoles de gestion renommées telles que Kellogg, IMD, et INSEAD.

L’article suivant (dans sa version originale anglaise) présentera le commentaire d’une personne de la prochaine génération au sein d’une entreprise familiale.

How Can I Manage Family Relationships Outside of the Family Business?

Commentary by Rafael Kisslinger da Silva, Brazil and Germany

As a third-generation member of a Brazilian business family, I am responsible for our family office, especially concerning our investments outside of Brazil. I am based in Germany, near Frankfurt, while our core business, Máquinas Condor S.A., has its headquarters in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Our family has numerous members around the world and managing our family relationships outside the business has oftentimes proved to be a lot more complex than managing these relationships inside of the business. One single word explains the complexity—emotions. In the context of the family business, it is acceptable (and at times even desirable) to leave the emotions out of the picture and, instead, focus on the business tasks at hand. In the context of the family, however, this approach simply does not work. Learning to talk openly with other family members about one’s feelings is not easy. And learning to listen (ideally deep listening) to how others feel is even more challenging. But both are crucial if the family unity is to prevail. In addition to sharing feelings, families must also learn to talk openly about conflicts. Avoiding difficult conversations about conflicting themes, or pretending that they don’t exist, is another approach that simply doesn’t work. As paradoxical as it may sound, creating a healthy conflict culture is the only way to achieve sustainable harmony in a family. Conflicts will never go away, but families can learn to be aware of them and manage them in effective ways.

    "In the context of the family business, it is acceptable (and at times even desirable) to leave the emotions out of the picture and, instead, focus on the business tasks at hand. In the context of the family, however, this approach simply does not work."

When managing family relationships, it is important to notice that a fair outcome is not enough. The process that leads to any outcome must also be fair. In other words, even if the final solution is ultimately fair, if such a solution is the result of a “black box” process, it won’t be accepted by the other family members. Even worse, it could actually fuel conflicts. Non-transparent processes create suspicion, and suspicion within the family is corrosive and paralyzing; it sows distrust. Fair process is about opening the black box and discussing openly how and why decisions will be made in the family. The journey matters as much as the outcome. It’s not about where we go but about how we get there. When families establish fair processes, each process will help to build trust, and trust is indispensable to healthy family relationships.

I once participated in an exclusive workshop with one of the world’s leading advisors for family businesses. This consultant earns a fortune by helping families to function better. And his key message was that families can actually solve every problem related to family functionality on their own once the family’s communication works properly. As he explained, family functioning is based on the family’s communication. And communication is the only tool that families have to improve their functioning. So, being proactive to find the time to spend together, motivated to understand the other person in their unique context, and willing to communicate regularly among each other are the core ingredients to manage relationships in a large family. If families succeed at establishing such processes, they will not only trust each other but also be happy to spend time with each other. It takes commitment and effort to manage family relationships.

As I stated initially, managing family relationships is complex because of the underlying individual emotions. Emotions flare easily when, after communication breakdowns, people do not know each other well any longer. Eventually, they will stop interacting. Unfortunately, managing emotions can be a lot more challenging than managing professional business issues, but families can learn to become “professionally emotional”.  

Questions for Further Reflection
•    Why do you love to be around your family members outside of the enterprise?
•    What stories would you like to share with your fellow family members? What stories would you only share with your fellow Next Gens? Why have you not done so yet?
•    Are there resources in the family system that were never talked about? If so, why?
•    Are there topics that you cannot talk about among family? If so, what are they and why can’t they be discussed?

L’ouvrage intitulé <<Next Generation Legacies>> est maintenant disponible en copie numrique et physique. Toutes les redevances de sont versées au Fonds Telfer de l'Université d'Ottawa, qui aide les étudiantes et étudiants dans le besoin.

Pour en savoir davantage sur la façon dont Telfer alimente la discussion sur l’avenir de l’entrepreneuriat familial, visitez le site de l’Institut de l’héritage des entreprises familiales et abonnez-vous au bulletin d’information.