For Couples Working Together, Setting Ground Rules is a Must 1

For Couples Working Together,
Setting Ground Rules is a Must

by Carol Sorgen

You married your beloved for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. But for profit or for loss?If you’re in business together, that’s about the size of it.

Take David and Sharon Nevins, for instance.

David Nevins credits much of Owings Mills-based Nevins and Associates’ success to his wife.Sharon Nevins joined the 10-year-old public relations, marketing, advertising and customer service firm two years ago and started the company’s advertising division. But David Nevins, whose firm had capitalized local billings of $6 million last year, admits the partnership–the business one–isn’t necessarily a “forever” thing.”It’s advantageous now, but we have no long-term plans,” he says. More…

Playing With Contextual Complexity: RelationalConsultation With Family Businesses (Part II)

Playing With Contextual Complexity:
Relational Consultation With
Family Businesses (Part II)

by Douglas G. Flemons, Ph.D. and Patricia M. Cole,Ph.D.
Nova Southeastern University

Mistaken Premise 1: Roles Exist With Individuals

Roles can be considered shorthand descriptions of interactions, for they define positions taken in complementary relationships. A child needs a parent to be a child; to be a boss one needs employees. To help in not losing such a relational understanding of clients’ roles, a consultant would do well to attend primarily to the interactions to which roles refer, to the patterns of behavior that characterize the family context, the patterns that exemplify the business context, and the patterns that emerge as a function of the family-business interface.

Such an orientation brings forth a number of interesting context-sensitive ideas to explore. In reference to the father/son relationship described above, one might ask some of the following questions:Are there aspects of the men’s familial tie that are important to preserve in their business discussions? Is the son trying too hard not to be his father’s son, thereby impelling dad to “put him in his place?” Where do they have their business meetings? Are the two of them relating at work as they did when the son was growing up? If so, is it helpful? If not, why not? Who pays for lunch? What do they call each other at work? More…