Delicate issues in family businesses

26 mars 2021
Marie Croes
  • 👨🌾 West Flemish family businesses: the pitfall of 'deure doen'...
    Mentor Jos Deslee in conversation with Michel Lammens (in West Flemish!) 👨🌾

    The West Flemish recipe for success is known:
    💪 Hard and passionate workers,
    💪 Who above all toil and
    💪 Do not complain ('deure doen')

    A ticking time bomb?
    Bringing up things that are not going well is difficult and too often considered a waste of time.

    As a result, a great many frustrations are bottled up for years, often creating ticking time-bombs that can ultimately jeopardise the company's success.

    When conversations become difficult, Mentor Jos advises to put on three pairs of glasses to look at the problem:
    1. The family: what are our values?
    2. The business: what is in the interest of long term success?
    3. The ownership: what is important as a shareholder?

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • new in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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