MEDIATION IN FAMILY BUSINESSES

Cooperating with family, in the first, second or even third generation, carries its own opportunities and challenges.

What is mediation in a family business?

The family business is the cornerstone of the Dutch economy. In employment opportunity as in stability of the enterprise family businesses rank highest. However, cooperating with family, in the first, second or even third generation, carries its own opportunities and challenges.

Source of conflict
Potential conflicts in a family business are many: differences in vision of the future, (partially unaccepted) power relations, questions of succession, general collisions (for instance, between characters), the parting of shareholders or even divorce. Also, simply the different ideas of conducting business may cause tension.

Timely intervention
It is imperative to recognize and tackle these potential conflicts as early as possible. A mediator can be of great value here because he or she can make these issues negotiable without personal interest or a hidden agenda.

Usually these cases are composed simultaneously of business and family-related aspects. The business mediator therefore has to also be aware of the dynamics and potential problems within family relations.

Our people
Our mediators are experienced in both fields and can, if desired, also act together to provide you with the best possible service. Due to their years long experience with family businesses, bank- and corporate life they are at home with the most divergent forms of businesses; they can support you efficiently and professionally. We are solution-driven and operate with respect and understanding for respective relations.

Our method
In an initial intake we make each others acquaintance and hear from each party what the mediation should be about. We determine who needs to be at the table to solve the conflict. Sometimes advisors, such as the accountant or (corporate) lawyer, also take part in the group sessions. This will always happen in consultation and with permission of both sides.

After the table-setting and agenda have been determined, we begin the group conversations. You may expect from us that we as a neutral and impartial mediator will lead the group into well-balanced and effective conversations.

In general, three or four group sessions of two hours are necessary to come to an enduring agreemnet that you both support. The result is usually set down in print, in a list of agreements or settlement agreement.

Time-span
A purely business-related mediation takes two to six weeks, depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the clients and their advisors. Honesty bids us to say that a mediation in a family business, precisely due to the mutual entanglement of the parties involved, often runs at its own pace. One case may be quickly resolved, thanks to the wish to quickly align family relations with company interests, while another may require more time so that decisions can ripen naturally.

Contact us non-bindingly
Do you desire to consult us, discreetly and without obligation, about a slumbering issue in your business? Please feel free to contact us.

Other things might interest you:

  • Is mediation too big of a step, but is there a definite need for guidance in a dialogue about, for instance, the future of the company, the division of tasks and/or the nature of the cooperation? Perhaps dialogue guidance might interest you.
  • Sometimes it is too early for everyone to come to the table, but you do have a personal question about your professional functioning that you would like to take a closer look at. In this case, you might consider personal coaching.
  • More about our mediators; visit our members’ profile pages: