Making It Work: Family AND Business

Family members have family conversations. Business systems have business conversations. When the family business is a farm or ranch, conflict and friction can arise because each of the two systems has its own way of “doing things.”


The family system is social, and is typically based on feelings and caring for each other. The business system, on the other hand, is more analytical, structured and matter-of-fact.

If the family were run like a business, discontent, grumblings and maybe even a mutiny soon would occur. If the business were run like a family, it may not maintain its ability to produce, make a profit, and grow.

The family needs the business for support, and the business needs the family for labor and purpose. How do we manage the clash? We must recognize what system we are operating in when we make decisions and plans. This takes conscious thought and awareness.

A variety of tips, techniques and tools to use in conducting Family Business Meetings are available to participants in the Design Your Succession Plan program. Contact your local county extension office or visit to find a program that is offered at a place and time that fits your needs.


Washburn: December 6, 8 and 13, 2016 at 6:00 pm
Location: North Dakota 4-H Camp, 2702 8th Street SW
Send registration to: NDSU Extension – McLean County, PO Box 1108, Washburn, ND 58577
Contact: Calandria Edwards, (701) 462-8541,


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