San Francisco Roundtable
Family Business Conflict: From the Inside and Out
Creative tension can be the key to achieving a successful family business, allowing it to reach new heights. If allowed to become overly negative, it can become destructive, causing undue friction, deadlock and impasse. In this Roundtable, we will explore conflict management techniques designed to deal with inevitable differences of opinion to prevent such negative results.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
|Welcome Reception and networking dinner at Bask Restaurant, 42 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA. All registered participants are invited to attend.Please RSVP here.|
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Hult International Business School, 1355 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA
|8:00 am – 8:45 am||Registration, networking, breakfast|
|8:45 am – 9:00 am||Welcome remarks, opening comments, introductions|
|9:00 am – 10:00 am||
Session I – Distinguishing Disputes from Systemic Conflict: Understanding Identity-Based Conflict
Moderators: Doug Baumoel & Frank Burke
Disagreements over organizational direction, money issues or performance may be resolvable through traditional dispute resolution processes but disagreements over fundamental values, beliefs, skill-sets or feelings can challenge one’s identity and will be more problematic to solve, particularly among interconnected family members and groups.
|10:00 am – 11:00 pm||
Session II – Proactive Conflict Avoidance vs. Reactive Dispute Resolution
Moderators: Doug Baumoel & Frank Burke
The timing and nature of organizational and personal conflicts can impact whether they are better suited to proactive or reactive solutions and consultant and/or mediator approaches. This session will explore those issues.
|11:00 am – 11:15 pm||Networking Break|
|11:15 am – 12:15 pm||
Session III – Emotional Triggers for Conflict: Communicating with Lower Risk
Moderator: Joan DiFuria
The psychological interplay of family and business dynamics can be a two-edged sword: at times mobilizing the strengths of the family and its enterprise, and at other times resulting in misunderstandings, power struggles, and disconnection. Each family, in ways that reflect its culture and style, need to be able to separate the dynamics of the family from the dynamics of the business, using an agreed upon strategy to actively managing the impact of family attitudes and behavior that undermine clarity of role and of actions. Recognizing when one is “triggered” by a family member, and then using a toolbox of techniques available to manage communication, can enable family members to better take charge of a rapidly escalating problem, to minimize conflict and change obsolete patterns of behavior.
|12:15 pm – 1:15 pm||
Lunch and family business stories from Hult and Cornell students
Moderator: Jane Olvera Quebe, Fresno State Institute for Family Business
|1:15 pm – 2:15 pm||
Session IV – Cultural Differences and Awareness in Conflict Management
Moderator: Dennis Jaffe, PhD
Families come from different cultural backgrounds that view and manage conflict differently. Some are more open and expressive or have different values about sharing information or making decisions. The consultant or family advisor has to take care that the suggestions that are made do not conflict with family cultural patterns. We will highlight three different cultural patterns—Collective harmony (SE Asia), Individualist (N. Europe, N. America, Australia), and Honor (S. America, S. Europe, S. Asia, Middle East). As families become global, different family members may move from one cultural style to another, adding more complexity to responding to conflict. This dialogue will look at the effects of cultural differences on managing conflict and suggest ways to approach it from each of the major cultural styles.
|2:15 pm – 2:30 pm||Networking Break|
|2:30 pm – 3:30 pm||
Session V – Facilitating Cross-Generational Conversations to manage and avoid Conflict
Moderator: Isabelle Lescent-Giles, PhD
The next-generation of family business leaders is acutely aware of the need for disruption in fast-changing global and industry environments (see for example the 2017 Deloitte next-gen survey). Family businesses may be able to make faster decisions than non-family businesses. But there are major challenges along the way. Next-generation leaders often feel unprepared and struggle to drive conversations about disruption. How do you minimize conflict and build consensus around the need for change with previous generations, who may be more risk averse? How do you create a sense of urgency so that disruption does not have to wait until the next succession phase, by which time the firm may have “missed the boat”? How do you legitimize change within the organization?
|3:30 pm – 4:00 pm||Closing Comments – Key Tips for Succeeding Through Conflict|
- Isabelle Lescent-Giles, Hult International Business School
- Jane Olvera Quebe, Fresno State Institute for Family Business
- Dann Van Der Vliet, Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell University