I set myself up for disaster:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;

I am beginning to wonder if I have set myself up for disaster.

I just launched a new company. Things are starting slow but the sales are beginning to build.

After serious thinking, I decided to quit my job, give up my apartment, and move back to the family house in order to have more time for the business. I am sharing the house with my brother, who is a partner in the business.

I have a realistic plan, a good product, and I have laid the groundwork with intelligence and perspective. What’s the problem? My brother!

Where I am serious, hard working and conscientious, he is flighty, head strong and easily frustrated. He seems to be in a permanent contest with me and if I say white, he says black. He refuses to discuss business decisions- if he’s doing it, he’s doing it HIS way. There is constant friction.

One of the reasons I started the business was so he could have a chance to establish himself- he’s 45 and can’t hold a job, although he’s talented and bright.

Don’t suggest I move out or get rid of him. This is a family business. But how can I cope?

Rickety Rick

Dear Rickety;

It is always easier not to get into a situation than to try to get out of it. There is a reason your brother is 45 and can’t keep a job. Perhaps you thought you could fix him; but statistically, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
I suggest you hire a third party negotiator. Formulate a contract with specific concrete roles and expectations. Ambiguity can be the death of a new startup. Some people need everything spelled out.

If your brother were in a position where you, and the business, needed to depend on him, could you? My guess is no.

Good luck,

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Granny says: it’s a nice idea to introduce a third party to mediate, but if your brother is in a serious rivalry with you, a mediator isn’t going to help because your brother will never agree to it. Fifteen years or so of family therapy are recommended first.

Granny isn’t sure that any attempts at reason are going to help this mess. If you refuse to get rid of your brother, I suggest that you find something with which to blackmail him…something he is afraid of. People who will not listen to reason often respond very well to fear.

Granny admires your desire to help your brother, but she predicts you are going to want to hang yourself if this continues.

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About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at dr.brilliantcliche@yahoo.com and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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One Response to I set myself up for disaster:

  1. Ken Bryant says:

    There is no place in business for sentiment. If your brother doesn’t have clearly defined strengths which you don ‘t have that would compliment the business, then he has no business being a partner. Help him if you want but keep that and him away from your business. I’m surprised you didn’t discuss with him the qualities in a partner you were looking for before he got involved. You have got to assert yourself and break the arrangement with him before it affects your personal relationship with him.

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