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Words of wisdom from a surprising place.

Did you know that neuroscience is uncovering ways to understand family dynamics?  Perhaps you’ve puzzled about a family meeting that went sideways or a family member who became upset for no “reason.”

JoAnne-Norton-3The clues may be found in neuroscience according to my colleague Dr. Joanne Norton, who specializes in consulting for family businesses. Over lunch recently, she shared with me some neuroscience studies that are helping business leaders understand how their actions affect their other key executives and ultimately their business.

Imagine that your key executives are not your business associates but your family members. Sometimes we are not as mindful of those closest to us in our dealings with them.

JoAnne offers some sound advice in her excellent article “Neuroscience and Family Business” in Family Business, Wisdom, Thoughts & Education and I’ve captured some key points for you.

She explains that Family leaders who understand how strong the brain’s reaction is to being excluded, betrayed, or unrecognized can be more sensitive. There are steps they can take such as:

  • Make certain all family members are invited to family meetings and gatherings.
  • Ensure that pertinent financial information is accessible to everyone.
  • Establish family policies so all family owners are given the same opportunities in the business.
  • Create a Code of Conduct giving all family owners the chance to talk about how they expect to be treated and what is important to them.
  • Recognize the hard work of family leaders as well as business leaders; and show appreciation to family members and employees.


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