A Family-Business New-Year’s Resolution

In the blink of an eye another year has passed, and resolutions for 2016 may be creeping into our thinking.

The closing of the year bestows a blessing; it encourages reflection–pressing us to review our individual accomplishments, our persistent challenges, what we are grateful for, what more we hope to accomplish, and who we would like to become as a person. Equally it affords an opportunity to reflect on the future of our family business and its significance to our families and ourselves.

Here are some practices inherent to successful multigenerational family businesses that you might resolve to begin in 2016:

  1. Devote time to better communication within the family
  2. Commit to professionalizing your business – working on it rather than just in it
  3. Establish a family council
  4. Develop a family hiring and employment policy
  5. Begin the discussion of succession
  6. Hire outside expertise
  7. Create a strategic plan

Wishing You a Happy and Prosperous New Year!


The Last-Minute Succession

In his recent blog, entitled “the last minute,” Seth Godin writes “I’m not good at the last minute. It’s really fraught with risk and extra expense. I’m much better doing things the first minute instead.” http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/12/the-last-minute.html

For a family business, ‘last-minute succession planning’ is similarly afflicted and is, sadly, too often what takes place. Successful succession involves much more than the final transaction that formally transfers ownership. ‘First-minute’ succession planning is a process of ongoing conversations among family members regarding the values and vision the business will carry into the future. These talks function to define the business’ culture, create governing policies, teach wealth management skills, identify and develop next-generation talent and leadership.

To see my video blog on this topic, CLICK HERE.


The Best ‘Family-Business’ Leaders are Constant Learners

In their article The Best Leaders Are Constant Learners, published in Harvard Business Review  Kenneth Mikkelsen and Harold Jarche write that today’s business leaders must make meaning of a playing field that is constantly changing shape.

A valuable axiom for creating successful family businesses is that next-generation leaders need to keep their eyes on the future, while respecting the past. The challenge is perhaps never more trying than for those family businesses where past business practices have been successful and family traditions are strong.

“Sustainable competitive advantage,” Mikkelsen and Jarche write, “now depends on having people that know how to build relationships, seek information, make sense of observations and share ideas through an intelligent use of new technologies.”

In family businesses today, active application of this strategy is incumbent on the both the younger and the senior generations in order to maintain multi-generational success. And it works best when all generations are helping the others meet the challenge.