Slash Your Family’s Clash

January 29, 2015 06:36 AM

Conflict of any kind, whether it’s a silent simmer, knock-down drag out or aggressive argument, can hinder or hurt your business. While conflict is normal in a family business, it should not go untreated, says Reg Shandro, a farm succession consultant with Farmacist Advisory Services based in Lacombe, Alberta.


Strive to reduce conflict and improve communication on your farm.

“Conflict is a clash of interests, behaviors, wishes or actions that result in an unproductive use of energy,” Shandro says.

While people tend to want to avoid disagreements, Shandro says, conflict can have a positive impact on your team. Conflict can:

  • Bring about change
  • Identify concerns or issues
  • Open up communication
  • Provide faster and better understandings of each other’s positions
  • Create new opportunities
  • Bring about relief
  • Change relationships


To ensure your operation’s conflict creates positive results, you must first step admit it exists. “Resolving conflict is rarely about who is right,” he says. “It is about acknowledging and appreciating the differences.”

In most cases, the sooner you can identify and settle conflict—the better. But, if emotions are high, Shandro suggests taking a timeout. “As emotions go up, intelligence goes down,” he says. “Rather than emotionally react, you need to intellectually respond.”

Other good rules of thumb for working through conflict include:

  1. Don’t make assumptions on what someone else is thinking.
  2. Have an outside source mediate the conversation.
  3. Strive to separate the people from the problem.


Shandro spoke at the 2015 Tomorrow's Top Producer conference on Jan. 20, 2015. For more information on the Top Producer Seminar or Tomorrow’s Top Producer events, visit


Thank you to the 2015 Tomorrow’s Top Producer sponsors:

Bayer CropScience, Case IH, Conservis

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