Business owning families know about hard work and dedication. It is not unusual to spend 50-70 hours a week at work only to come home and talk shop with loved ones. Many families report that business discussions end up eating into their personal time so much that they miss the opportunity to just be family. While we frequently encouraged boundaries to be drawn on activities, there is one place in which business discussion absolutely does not belong at the table and that is during important family traditions.
Traditions are a way that the family honors itself and future generations by gathering to celebrate an important aspect of the family. A July 4th celebration might signify the family’s deep appreciation for freedom. A Christmas or Hanukah celebration might represent the family’s deep beliefs in their faith. A tradition of an annual family vacation might represent the family’s commitment to nurture itself over time. These activities are to be revered in the family and should be protected as an inclusive activity for all family members, regardless of whether one works in the business. Business dialogue during these sacred activities deteriorates inclusiveness and creates in and out groups.
Sure, evening dinners and weekend get-togethers might include some business discussion, but a family’s most treasured time together is a time to turn off the shoptalk. Today is a good time to ask, “Are we honoring our family in our rituals and traditions or are we merely paying lip service to family and really just honoring the business?”