Working with Families

In 1995 Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman published Smart Moves for People in Charge, 130 Checklists to help you be a better leader.  Below are some excerpts from that book which are still very true today.

Tips for Working with Families

  • When you start a business with family members, handshakes and hugs are fine but written contracts are better. If irreconcilable conflicts arise, family loyalty won’t help nearly as much as a contract.
  • Don’t allow favoritism towards family to kill employee morale. Workers know that family members will receive certain considerations. But if the special treatment is unreasonable or hurts the business or employer, morale will suffer.
  • If possible, don’t have family members directly reporting to one another.
  • Don’t allow executives’ relatives who aren’t on the payroll to seek special treatment from employees.
  • Keep relatives who aren’t employees out of the office. [1]


[1] Smart Moves for People in Charge, Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, published 1995.  As quoted in the Business Digest newsletter dated June 7, 2018.

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