Family Dynamics

About this collection: In this Content Collection, you’ll learn about the most common conflicts in family philanthropy, the creative “tactics” some boards use to perpetuate the avoidance, and how you can use simple tools to address conflict in a healthy, productive way. Also included are sample code of conduct policies and tips for planning and hosting a productive and inclusive board or family meeting.

Conflict is normal in any family or organization. Yet, many of us avoid conflicts, even if that avoidance affects relationships or how the foundation operates.

In this Content Collection, you’ll learn about the most common conflicts in family philanthropy, the creative “tactics” some boards use to perpetuate the avoidance, and how you can use simple tools to address conflict in a healthy, productive way. Also included are sample code of conduct policies and tips for planning and hosting a productive and inclusive board or family meeting.

Note: for additional insights on managing sensitive issues and crafting better family meeting agendas, see the related Content Collection, Family Meetings: Creating a Culture of Dialogue and Learning.


 

Avoiding Avoidance: Issue Brief and Webinar

Avoiding Avoidance: Addressing and Managing Conflict in Family Philanthropy

Passages Issue Briefs
Conflict is normal in any family or organization. In this issue of Passages, you’ll learn about the most common conflicts in family philanthropy, the creative “tactics” some boards use to perpetuate the avoidance, and how you can use simple tools to address conflict in a healthy, productive way.
November 13, 2014

Avoiding Avoidance: Addressing and Managing Conflict

Conflict is neither inherently good nor bad. Conflict will always occur in an organization that's growing, evolving, and changing. What makes it good or bad or a positive or negative experience is how it's managed. On this webinar, we’ll explore typical situations where families might find themselves falling into …

Finding Common Ground: Article, Webinar, and Other Resources

Finding Common Ground & Valuing Different Views

Article
Dealing with different views is challenging in any family. Beliefs, opinions, and practices can diverge in so many ways. Making collective decisions across generations and branches within family foundations – while taking into account differing politics and religions, different attitudes toward money, and varying comfort levels with how public to be …
January 12, 2012

Finding Common Ground, Valuing Different Views

Families and foundation boards across the country wrestle with diverging values, various religions and different political persuasions.  While always a concern, divergent opinions come into sharper focus as the nation heads into the 2012 election year. In this candid, behind the scenes look at two family foundations, we explore strategies and …

Notes on an Effective Family Culture: The Roy A. Hunt Foundation

Sample
This set of tips from the Board of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation was shared as a handout on NCFP’s January 2012 Teleconference, “Finding Common Ground, Valuing Different Views.” It is a useful set of tips for any family seeking to create a culture that respects differences of opinion and …

Controversial grants policy (Roy A. Hunt Foundation)

Tool
Harmonious agreement on grants is not always possible within a family foundation with diverse granting interests. Trustees sometimes struggle to develop strategies to guide the consideration process when points of view differ. This policy from the Roy A. Hunt Foundation provides a framework for managing “controversial grants” from the family …

Creating a Safe and Healthy Family Culture: Additional Perspectives

10 Habits of a Healthy Family Culture

Article
For many, living a rich life includes a rich family life that involves connection, sharing, closeness, and love. Yet achieving that is much easier said than done. How can we intentionally create a healthy family culture? What are some of its characteristics?

Boardroom Battles: 5 Ways to Move Beyond Conflict

Article
Most board members are rational, committed professionals. However, even among the most collegial boards there's always the possibility of conflict, and savvy foundation leaders I know have used the following approaches to diffuse disagreement smoothly and quickly.

The 5 Dysfunctions of Philanthropy

Article
In 2002, Patrick Lencioni wrote a book called, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team." It explains the interpersonal aspects of teambuilding in a professional setting and how they undermine success. Although Lencioni’s team is in a fictional company, his lessons also are entirely relevant to grantmakers. We're pleased to share …

Additional Tips and Tools

Six Tips for Managing Family Dynamics

New Media
Whatever differences your family may have, those differences need not get in the way of your philanthropic goals. Your challenge is to find ways to channel the bonds of family in the service of a shared vision and anticipate the conflicts that inevitably arise.

Common Causes of Conflict

New Media
Whatever differences your family may have, those differences need not get in the way of your philanthropic goals. Your challenge is to find ways to channel the bonds of family in the service of a shared vision and anticipate the conflicts that inevitably arise.

Emeritus Board Members: Curse or Blessing?

Ask the Center
Mom and Dad are aging but we want to keep them involved.  Aunt Sally has been running the foundation forever but the other board members feel it is time for someone else to take over.  Uncle John is beginning to get confused.  The three sisters in the second generation have …

Fist to Five Voting and Consensus

Sample
Fist to Five is quality voting. It has the elements of consensus built in and can prepare groups to transition into consensus if they wish. Most people are accustomed to the simplicity of “yes” and “no” voting rather than the complex and more community-oriented consensus method of decision making. Fist …

Sample Policies and Practices