Avoiding Hostile Holidays - Step 1

Holiday gatherings can heighten family tensions about family wealth or family business. Firefights can mar the Season for celebrating family and fortune.

So how to avoid hostile Holidays? How to enhance celebration and divert conflagration?

Step #1: Blame and Credit – Getting Past the Past

Contentious families can hang up on placing the blame…or hoarding the credit.

The blame game is particularly injurious. Past blunders are not forgiven or forgotten during the Season. Instead, they resurface as weapons hurled in heated and hurtful arguments. As in war, truth is the first casualty. Family litigation obsesses on blame placing.

Hoarding the credit is an unhappy analog of the blame game. Hoarding credit tries to rewrite family history. Again truth is in harm’s way.

A successful entrepreneur describes how his company culture handles screwups.

“We try to forget who screwed up, and try to forget who came up with the bright idea to correct it. We just fix it and move on.”
Don’t fixate on blame or credit. Get past the past.

I put it this way to family members:

“We will challenge you to create your future. We will prompt you to identify your strengths, your accomplishments, your successes, and to bring them forward into your future. It is our strong belief that your past need not determine your future. We will encourage you to identify what has not worked for you, and to leave that behind in the past.”

Blame placing and credit hoarding invite the past to damage the future – in business, in professional practice, in personal relationships.

‘Tis the Season for getting past the past and getting on with the future.

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