When the Family Gets Bigger

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Adding new people to your family — new spouses, new children, new in-laws — can be joyous. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to get complicated. Advance planning helps.

Integrating New Entrants into the Family (30:11)

by Marion McCollom Hampton

BanyanGlobal partner Marion McCollom Hampton sat down with Banyan’s editorial director Karen Dillon to share her guidance on navigating the variety of situations that business families commonly face as new peoplespouses, children, and inlawsenter their families. It needs effort. But you have a lot to lose from getting this wrong.

Key Takeaways:

  • A new person coming into a business family will always cause a disruption, but it doesn’t always have to have a negative impact
  • Open communication is the best way to mitigate the negative impact of new entrants to a business family
  • Start conversations early–before the decisions become about a certain person
  • Whether in-laws will be involved in the family business or not, this decision and open-communication about why need to be articulated early on
  • It can be helpful to talk about the role, boundaries, and expectations of new children/the next generation before children are born

Don’t ignore the people outside your immediate family system, such as in-laws, they are a part of the equation once a family member gets married and they need to be considered and included in some way.

Time Stamps:

[0:10] Why it is complicated for family business families when new people join?

[1:41] Example of a new spouse’s tumultuous journey entering a business family and ultimately finding her place

[5:16] How to not lose yourself as a spouse in a family business family

[6:51] What does the addition of in-laws mean to the business family when someone marries and/or has children?

[8:22] Family businesses often have a very visible and ceremonial role in their communities

[9:30] Communication is the key factor in successfully entering a family business

[12:02] Different ways business families can include, or not include, spouses in the business

[13:57] What is the best way to have the pre-nup conversation?

[15:46] From the business family member’s point of view: the necessary preparations and conversations with the incoming spouse before they enter

[17:21] A patriarch/matriarch getting re-married can often times be more complicated and poorly handled than when their children get married

[20:34] Often forgotten, babies and children are also new entrants that need to be planned for

[23:19] When should the conversations about expectations and boundaries for new entrants in the business family start?

[25:38] Is it possible to course correct?

[27:40] The consequences of not adequately preparing for new entrants to enter the business family

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