McBride for Business Blog

Is Your Business Your Family? Key Differences Between Home and Work

December 29, 2016 // R. Shawn McBride // No Comments »

It’s become a popular phrase these days to say, “Our company is a family,” “We work together as a family,” or the famous “My employees are like family.” We hear these kinds of statements, and we find that it’s a very dangerous idea. Family and business are really different. Family is an unconditional love, it is not conditioned on any actions or things being accomplished. You love a family member because they are part of your family and they’re part of your existence. You will take them as they are.

Business is different. Businesses is based on goals, and objectives, and outcomes, and you need to be very focused on getting to those goals and objectives. It’s not about everybody doing exactly what they want to do, how they want to do it, the way they want to do it. It has to be part of a broader process.

Your team at work (team is a great analogy), is a great way to think about business and how your business is organized – everybody’s coming together to work for a collective whole. Just like a baseball team or a football team, you’re all in it together. You’re going to work through injuries. You’re going to work through bad plays together. You’re going to cover for each other, and you’re going to keep moving forward even if everything doesn’t go perfect.

To be on the team, to earn the spot on the team, you need to be of sufficient quality. You need to be a contributing member of the team. If you can’t make sufficient contributions, the team needs to be changed. The whole stays the same, but the individual parts may have to be changed out. I think this is a very good analogy for the business. We want to encourage our team members. We want our team members to grow, we even want our team members to change over time, grow, become more valuable contributors, and move on to more senior and more responsibility roles. We, as an organization, have a responsibility for that but they need to be contributing member of the team. They’re not family. We don’t give unconditional love in business. We can’t tolerate somebody who wants to do things that harm our customers, that go against our business objectives, or don’t fit our business model. We need to think carefully about the difference between family, and team, and business.


What’s been your experience with building teams? Have you thought about team members as family? Has this ever led to a problem? What do you think about the analogy of team versus family in your business? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances.  This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Ne3/4a Eerin.

About the Author

Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment ( , gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at or (214) 418-0258.

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