Change Management Consulting

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Family Conflict Resolution


Dear Kelly:

We are writing to thank you for the work you did helping the future of our company. When you first met us, our partnership was frayed. There were unspoken issues that were delicate and not easily discussed. We needed an intermediary to show us how to broach these sensitive issues, express our thoughts and concerns, and craft a resolution.

In fairly short order, you identified the critical issues and enabled us to define them, put them in perspective and resolve them. You were a calming influence.

As a consequence, we are now communicating like partners we are. Together we have been able to make significant progress in planning for our Company’s future, as well as our own as individuals. Thank you for your efforts and effectiveness. We are happy to wholeheartedly recommend your services as a “business and planning consultant.

With best regards,

Mark J. Berman                                                          David Springer
President                                                                     Founding Principal


Types of ConflictKelly Graves

In over two decades consulting with family businesses and organizations, I have observed three major types of family business or workplace conflict:

Task Conflict Task conflict arises among members of work teams and affects the goals and tasks they are striving to achieve. Differences in vision, intentions, and quality expectations often lead to task conflict. Family or employee relationships may initially appear to survive task conflict, but an important project may not. It is essential to channel task conflict so that these differences become complementary and improve the way the family or team thinks about accomplishing current and future tasks.

Process Conflict This form of conflict centers around the steps or methods used by a family or work-teams to reach a goal. One person might like to plan 100 steps ahead, while another might like to dive in head first. Process differences can lead to communication breakdown and ultimately result in conflict. Like task conflict, process conflict can be useful if managed correctly. Healthy differences in process often lead to an improved way to achieve goals.

Relationship Conflict Often misunderstood, relationship conflict undermines and tears at the fabric of an organization, department or team’s ability to achieve its goals. Relationship conflict penetrates all aspects of an organization. When people in a workplace environment fail to communicate effectively, teams, departments or even an entire organization will suffer. Relationship conflict will quickly consume all the attention and energy of an organization, leaving little time to accomplish profitable tasks.


What can we do to bring conflict to a reasonable resolution? How might our resolution be beneficial to everyone involved? The ultimate goal of conflict resolution is to increase one’s understanding of what happened, why it happened, and how we can learn from it so we don’t become victims to it in the future. Conflict isn’t bad. In fact, it is a vital part of a successful family business or organization. Knowing when to encourage conflict – in a manageable and productive way; knowing how to spot it early and slow it down if need be; and knowing the natural stages of conflict’s life cycle can all lead to highly productive outcomes. Both this knowledge about conflict and the skills needed to manage it successfully are needed to get the best out of your people.

I specialize in helping people learn from and move through conflict to create long-lasting, sustained, “win-win” outcomes for you, your family business, partnership, department and company. Contact me now so we can discuss how to reduce your pain and partner on creating a successful environment for you and your family business.

If any of this this resonates with you—and you appreciate straight talk—that is an indication that we are probably a good match for each other and would benefit from you clicking the link below to schedule a free 60-minute introductory meeting, so we can discuss your specific challenges.

Contact Kelly now

California, USA