Families are complex beasts and as such are not always perfect. Family firms can suffer as a result of a family member not acting in the best interests of the collective family and out for personal gain and this is not easy to deal with, nor always something that the family are willing to recognise, at least not before it is too late.
First and foremost it is a good idea to seek professional input to evaluate the situation and the effect of the individual concerned on the business, and the family, and to create an appropriate plan to deal with the situation at hand.
Families tend to know the score but don't always want to face it and deal with it but until the matter is addressed, it will continue to be an issue, and at some point down the line will still need to be addressed.
A major concern of family businesses is ensuring family harmony. In an international study of 336 family member senior level executives at their family firms, about 65% of them reported that ensuring family harmony is a high-ranking concern. A significant complication is that within these 217 family businesses, nearly nine in ten have “bad seeds.” What are ‘bad seeds?” According to Daniel Geltrude, Managing Partner of Geltrude & Company and Director of the firm’s Family Office Practice, “Bad seeds are family members — usually children — who exploit their family business for personal gain to the detriment of other family members and the company. Although subterfuge is regularly involved, in time, everyone knows what is going on and at a minimum acrimony ensues. Most times, the business seriously suffers as the family tries to hash out the conflicts.”