Ending Working Relationship with Family
I just fired my daughter.
For the last couple years, I have employed my daughter Madeline to do some of the back office work here at Aspire For. I’ve never been a detail-oriented salesperson and would much rather be on the phone selling, supporting and building relationships, than staring at a computer screen and moving data from one database to another.
So, I sought help with the busywork and found Madi.
She started out fine and picked things up quickly. Madi is very bright. If she messed up, got lazy, or was a “no-show,” I cut her some extra slack. That’s what you do for family.
When the quality of her work deteriorated, however, the question of just how much slack I should cut her became an issue and a talking point. We actually had some very good conversations, but the problems persisted. Finally, I grew tired of having the same conversation with her and seeing the same results and made the decision to end our employer/employee relationship before it further impacted our father/daughter relationship.
Is there anything more difficult in a family business than working with family members?
On paper, the family business is an attractive concept. It looks like fun and, at the beginning, it usually is. I was married to a woman who was in a family business—petroleum—and for years would fall asleep at the dinner table while they droned on and on about the value of 93 octane. They never did learn to leave business at the office.
Madeline took the news well. In fact, I think she was relieved! She has another job, so money won’t be an issue for her. But I think she, too, saw the strain that her work was having on the two of us.
I wonder what she would say about me if she was writing this blog. Would she complained that I was tyrannical? Would she tell you that I will did not communicate my expectations very well? Would she comment that working for your father is a bad idea?
Bill Farquharson is a partner at Idealliance. As a print-specific sales trainer, Farquharson applies a fundamentally-sound approach to his coaching, online programs (found at sales.epicomm.org), and live presentations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 934-7036 to discuss your sales challenges.