Family Business Challenges: Managing Expectations

The case describes a scenario where a younger brother is struggling to manage the relationship gap between his elder brother and father at work.


A few years back, a young graduate reached out to me.

He shared that he has been struggling to manage his family dynamics because his elder brother and father don't get along. I asked him if his father/brother would be inclined to meet and discuss.

A week later, I met him along with his father.

His father had complaints about his elder son, he said, “My elder son is incompetent and fails to sustain the business which took me 30 years to establish. My clients have started raising issues in quality of the product and service inconsistency.”

Sunil: Sure, how long has he been a part of the business?

Father: More than 4 years now!

Sunil: Who trained him for his role and for how long?

Father: Training? He was initially working with me for more than a year and I have always been there…

Sunil: Did you visit markets with him, did you take him for client meetings or vendor meetings?

Father: No, I was managing the business back then.

Sunil: So, do you mean that he hasn’t been trained in the business but he has the responsibility to deliver results!

Father (realised the gap): Oh god! I am sorry.

Imagine what the son would feel when his father called him incompetent every day! Would this inspire him to do more...?

Often, these blind spots lead to many other challenges. Due to this conversation between father & son, there were issues between the relationship of the elder son & his wife. The younger brother didn't trust his elder brother's capability to deliver results.

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mistlands with gray clouds
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