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The Soul of Family Business

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The Soul of Family Business

A Practical Guide to Family Business Success and a Loving Family

Lilja Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Family firms offer unique advantages, but unhappy families usually mean unsuccessful family firms. 

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Insider's Take


Family firms face issues and hazards that nonfamily firms never face. At the same time, family businesses can realize special opportunities that nonfamily firms can’t achieve. Tom Hubler, who has decades of experience as a therapist in family business consulting, details the practices that make these companies work. Though his manual is informative and useful, his repetitiveness and tendency to name business concepts after himself – Hubler’s Legacy Model, Hubler’s Speck of Dust Theory and Hubler’s Checklist – somewhat dull his worthwhile advice and practical insights. He does provide smart, proven conflict-resolution techniques to keep family members working together in harmony. And, he writes movingly of the importance of “heart and soul” in a family business. Relatives and nonfamily members in family firms will gain insight and understanding from his advice.


Family Firms

Relatives who work together in a family business face a singular challenge: They must successfully run their business while maintaining harmonious relationships with one another. Family members who are in business together but who don’t get along on the domestic side still must find a way to work together on the commercial side.

Common Problems

Ten common problems plague family members working in family firms:

  1. “Lack of appreciation and recognition” – Nothing causes more internal tension and bad feelings than relatives who don’t show one another respect and approval. Family members need to recognize the importance of the “emotional bottom line,” which is as crucial as the financial bottom line.
  2. “Lack of forgiveness” – Being willing to forgive sustains family connections and family firms. A lack of forgiveness among relatives means strained, unhappy working conditions. One route to learning to forgive is for family members to access their religious heritages. Most religions include a “philosophy...

About the Author

Business consultant Thomas Hubler specializes in US family-owned businesses. He is a founding member and fellow of the Family Firm Institute in Boston.

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