family business

The Hardest Job You’ll Ever Have in Your Family Business

By Ramez Baassiri

You’ve no doubt held many positions throughout your career. Each one posed challenges that may have seemed overwhelming. Perhaps some of these positions were a perfect fit for your skillset. However, the hardest job you will probably ever have is that of being a loving, cooperative, and forgiving family member.

In a family business, a big part of your education is in how to work well together, which is a lesson you will never stop learning. To be a husband or wife is hard work; to have children and raise them is hard work; to actually continue that relationship and closeness is hard work, and to do that across multiple generations is hard work—and that’s not even factoring in the family business on top of all that!

But one thing I’ve come to understand, which is reinforced almost every day, is the value of sticking with your family no matter what. You can’t just let them go. You can’t “plug in” and “plug out” of your family, only seeing them during the holidays and not calling or visiting the rest of the year, and still expect the same degree of mutual understanding that only comes from a strong relationship.

That’s a value that is dying in so many ways across the world, but it is one of the keys allowing family businesses—and families—to survive. That isn’t to say that we should allow ourselves to become insular. As much as families can grow together and become a place of comfort and tradition, you must also allow yourself to be open to other cultures, other traditions, and diversity. When you don’t bring in new blood, new challenges, and younger team members with different core values and principles, you become stagnant. Invigorate your business—update yourself by infusing new and bright ideas into your processes. The learning curve dies after a certain cycle unless you invest in education and diversification. No one has all the answers, but you can see through many more eyes by consistently bringing in fresh perspectives.

Remember to keep your business and its purpose in perspective – it’s built by your family with your family’s hard work and core values. Your family and your contribution to it is the greatest job you’ll ever hold. When you treat that responsibility with great care, everything else will fall in line.

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