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A Family & Business United for 100 Years

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The Critical Role of Cohesion in a Family Enterprise

Unity in a family enterprise is necessary for the longevity and sustainability of the business. Conflicts inevitably arise within a family unit, but artfully navigating them leads to a more resilient enterprise, allowing for growth and innovation. 

Unity within the business construct resonates with customers and partners, fostering stronger familial bonds beyond the workplace and enhancing overall cohesion within the family unit and business. A prime example of this is Bergey’s, Inc., a family business that is celebrating its centenary in 2024 (and marking 25 years as members of DVFBC). Founded by Norman L. Bergey in 1924 with a steadfast commitment to “The Golden Rule” — treating others as he would want to be treated — the company has upheld this ethos across generations. By prioritizing values over profits, Bergey’s has not only survived but thrived, cultivating a loyal and repeat customer base. This success story serves as a testament to the enduring rewards of maintaining a unified vision and commitment to excellence.

The Bergey family’s continual commitment to treating others as you want to be treated has become a cornerstone of their moral compass. For a century, this principle has positively impacted customers, employees, and family members. This dedication is evident in the care shown to Henry Bergey (founder Norman Bergey’s son), who celebrated his 100th birthday in 2022. Eager to fulfill his wish to continue living at home, the family came together to equip his living space with the necessary accessibility features and caregivers (including family members), ensuring he could stay in his beloved home instead of moving to a nursing facility.

These shared vision and values are crucial for uniting families and businesses. A collective understanding beyond individual interests fosters cohesion, enabling members to overcome obstacles that every enterprising family faces, including the Bergey family.  However, family dynamics often disrupt cohesion, stemming from differing personalities, priorities, and understandings. In such situations, engaging in crucial, uncomfortable conversations is paramount. It is the linchpin of conflict resolution, often requiring mediation by a skilled advisor and a commitment to compromise.

With resolution and cohesion, growth thrives. Trust, open communication, and understanding are not just buzzwords but the pillars that pave the way for innovation and risk-taking, which are essential for business success. Risks are the genesis of rewards. Without a basis for trust within the business, taking risks, creation, and innovation are stymied.

Without intentional work on healthy communication and clear communication channels, family and business successes like Bergey’s would be fraught with distrust, pitfalls, and possibly an eventual dissolution. Family unity acts as a glue that creates bridges between family members both inside the workplace and beyond. Family gatherings, holidays, and decision-making all become aligned when the glue is strong and reinforced with clear communication, shared values, and impenetrable bonds. 

Crafting a robust business strategy and honing competencies are undeniably crucial, yet the bedrock of unity within families truly fortifies a lasting legacy for their enterprise’s future. We recognize the challenges inherent in fostering such unity within the familial business framework. For nearly four decades, we’ve guided numerous families in bolstering their resilience, fostering cohesion, great governance, and flourishing toward a harmonious future, both in their business endeavors and within the family unit.

Reach out to our seasoned family business experts to beat the odds and prepare for another generation of success in your family and your business!

Check out our 2019 Bergey Family Forum trailer below