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By Sara Stern


Whether you’ve hired family members in the past or if it’s your first time considering it, the decision to hire a family member can be a huge one.

Recently, a family business owner called me to talk about whether she should hire her daughter to run operations in the business. The owner and their sister have run the business for over a decade and are a well-matched integrator and visionary team.

The business has been a successful one. Both owners have had a lot of fun building the business and they are both ready to retire. Now they’re considering hiring a member of the family to take over the Integrator role.


Despite having a clear Accountability Chart, a strong Scorecard, and an effective Vision/Traction Organizer™ for decision making, the owner started asking me about how this might affect other members of the next generation.

She was worried about a number of issues including the new integrator lacking a few important skills, possible issues with vendors, and whether or not they should change the plans for who inherits the business.

She was also worried that the new integrator:

  • Might be overwhelmed and not ready for the role
  • May feel responsible for the financial success of her siblings and cousins
  • May begin to have a strained relationship with the other owner (her aunt)

This is not uncommon.

Even when family businesses run on EOS®, it can be easy to blend family issues, ownership issues, and business issues together. It can also be easy to forget that you have valuable tools meant to help you make these decisions.


Here are a few tools that can help you make better decisions when hiring family members in your business:

  • Separate decisions about who runs the business from ownership issues. As we teach in EOS, when defining the Accountability Chart, only those with a seat working in the business are responsible for running it. Remember that just because you own the business doesn’t mean you need to run it. The opposite is also true: just because you run the business, doesn’t mean you need to own it.
  • Handle family issues with the family and business issues with the business. Typically, if people don’t get along outside of work, they will have a hard time getting along at work. Similarly, if things go well at work, they can keep relationships at home strong. If you already have strong personal relationships, keeping your relationship at work strong will support that family relationship.
  • Lean on your tools. You have a People Analyzer™ to help you decide if someone is the right person for the seat. When you’re in full agreement about what the seat looks like, what your core values are, and what it means to GWC™ the seat (get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it), you’ll know if someone is right for the job.

Use these tools and you’ll have the confidence you need to know you’ll be making the right decisions.