Managing ‘Fredo’: Eddleston’s Insight on Family Business Dynamics

"Fredo's Management"

Recognize the ‘Fredo’ in your family business! A term coined by Kimberly Eddleston, a professor at Northeastern University, and an editor at, derived from “The Godfather”. Eddleston presents ‘Fredo’ as a symbol of disruption that can potentially affect businesses negatively, and cause instability.

Fredos often arise from feelings of entitlement or inadequacy. While family loyalty is key, it can be harmful if it influences business decisions. Personal dynamics indeed need to remain personal to maintain growth and stability.

It is common for disruptive entities to deviate family businesses from their planned course, making it difficult to reach strategic goals. Eddleston’s solution? Incorporating proven strategies and creating an inclusive environment. This way, everyone knows their role, reducing potential disruptions.

At the upcoming 32nd Annual Family Business Conference, Eddleston is set to present her insights. She plans to discuss challenges faced by family businesses, particularly the destructive elements found within family dynamics. Her approach? Proactive intervention and fostering positive relationships.

Surprisingly, ethical standards or accountability aren’t always exhibited by family members involved in the business. Eddleston recommends implementing clear corporate governance and setting up an independent board of directors. This checks and balances system and objectivity in decision-making can keep potential issues at bay.

Preparation for disputes arising from evolving family dynamics and business operations is crucial. As per Eddleston, setting up a solid dispute resolution process and clear communication of roles and expectations can minimize conflicts. To maintain productivity, empathy and respect within the business environment need to be cultivated.

However, mismanagement of ‘problematic’ family members can result in significant consequences, potentially leading to loss of non-family staff and even the entire business. Therefore, integration of formal HR practices is vital. This approach helps to establish clear roles, responsibilities, and communication channels.

By adopting these proactive measures, Eddleston underscores, family businesses can successfully manage their complex dynamics and thrive. Thus, the article concludes with an optimistic note for family businesses grappling with their very own ‘Fredo’.