Family Business

The Importance of Communication in Sibling Partnerships


2 min




Listen to Francois De Gaspe Beaubien as he explains the importance of communication in sibling partnerships. In a family business, it is essential to communicate among members, which involves frequently speaking to one another, but more importantly empathetically listening to one another. In a sibling partnership, it is helpful to bring in an advisor or moderator when discussing important issues that may spark emotion among members.




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We were working as a sibling partnership, so you need to understand that we’re working now as owners, but my brother and I are managers, right? At the time we were co-chief executive officers together, which is unusual when you think about it, co-CEO’s. And my sister and us were co-owners, right, so far so good. So we’re having this meeting the three of us and the topic of compensation comes up. Now ladies and gentlemen, that is a sensitive topic, right, what are you paid, what are you worth. And I learned an incredible lesson about communication and meta-messages. Now my sister, in front of the two of us, said why is it that you’re paid more than me. I didn’t say anything, and John, the moderator, went into it, talking about compensation and benchmarking and so-forth. And what came out of that, and this is what’s so invaluable ... View More to me, if I had leaped in, if it was just the three of us, I would have said are you kidding me? I mean, look at compensation, look at reviews, what are you doing, how many hours a week do you work, let’s think about mine, you know it would have been that kind of mathematical I’m right you’re wrong, let’s go down and have it out on the mat. John started digging, had a conversation, and what she really meant to say, not what she said, but, the meta-message was do you value me equally as you value yourselves? Do you value what I bring to this sibling partnership and if you value what I bring to the sibling partnership should I not, what’s the mechanism by which we’re going to recognize that should it not be compensation.