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Is There an Elephant in the Family Business?

by Leslie Walton | Aug 17, 2017


Growing up with the family business’ office next door to your room almost guarantees that you will have business flowing directly through your DNA. Kyle Danner, family business advisor, experienced just that and then spent almost 20 years learning from the challenges and rewards that come along with being in a family company.

To Danner, family and business are one in the same and he was able to take his personal and professional experiences and wrap them up into helping other families with their businesses. Recently during a group workshop, Kyle shared some useful tips to help families promote conversations and changes:

·         Acknowledge the issue/struggle. Being honest is key about what the problem is or can be. Take the time to communicate clearly and rationally.

·         Realize that anything can happen. Unexpected events can occur at any time and at the same time. Be flexible, adaptable and willing to change course if circumstances require it.

·         Understand that other families in business may be going through the same thing. Don’t feel alone or ashamed that everything is not perfect. You can find strength in learning from others’ experiences.

·         Try to step back from tunnel vision. Don’t just see things from one point of view. Deliberately and intentionally, try to see things from a new perspective.

·         Look for constructive ways to handle things. Try to focus on the specific issue with the result being positive changes. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

·         There is more than one side to a story. Everyone could actually be right at the same time if listening is involved first. Take the time to listen to each other, with open ears and hearts.

·         Don’t be afraid to talk to each other. Every family has a story. Be open to communication and share your thoughts.   

Deciding to start or get involved in an already existing family business will come with benefits and backfires. Being prepared is important. Being honest is crucial. Luckily, there are people like Kyle Danner willing to stand by your side, just like family, to make sure you tackle the “elephant in the family business.” To learn more contact Kyle Danner at or

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