Family Dynamics: Some Things Don’t Change Much

Addressing the questions about how I got started in consulting family businesses, I did notice that there was one subject that was a part of every story: family dynamics. Making the study of family dynamics should be a part of the bedrock of everyone’s practice, with a special nod to the work of Dr. Murray Bowen. I was so fortunate to have been steered in his direction early in my career.

Add To Your Formal Education By Tapping Into The Experience Of Others

I was trained in organization development, business behavior, and group dynamics. I didn’t set out to be knowledgeable about families in business, but it happened because of an innate curiosity about how all things work. Throughout my career when I didn’t know something, I would engage professionals to teach me. I have learned from attorneys, accountants, engineers, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists—all worth every minute invested in listening and every penny spent for the time.

My First Family Business Client

My first client was three businesses, all interlocked by long relationships among the owners.

  • Business One: owned by a widow and her two sons, A and B. In that business was a non-related controller, C.
  • Business Two: owned by another widow with one son, D. In that business was an older gentleman, FR, who served as “family retainer,” holding the business together.
  • Business Three: owned by A + B + C + D + FR.

D had a severe and permanent congenital problem. He was dumb as a rock. I know that sounds harsh, but it was a significant factor. He had roomed with B in prep school, then with A in college until he (D) flunked out. The stated task was to merge the three businesses into one.

Please Keep In Mind That I Was 31 Years Of Age And Just Starting My […]

Every Professional Starts Somewhere: Choosing Your Practice Bedrock

I attribute my 50+ years of success to my choice of a remarkable foundation. Look thoughtfully and carefully for the bedrock of your practice. That choice can serve you well for your own half-century in the business.

Let’s Skip Family Drama And Just Get Back To Work

I am so happy to see the world starting to right itself after all these long months of societal upset and loss and sadness. As the pace of life picks up, I say that for the businesses I consult—let’s skip any family drama and just get back to work. I recently discussed some key tools to prevent in-house conflicts with Andrea Obston.

Consulting In The Time Of Covid: Meeting Your New Clients

Meeting the family members and any other players is not by any means the first step of a new consulting opportunity. Most likely you have spent time researching and there have been phone and email exchanges well before it is time to shake hands and make eye contact. I have had to make some big adjustments in my consulting practice, as I am sure everyone has. I am sure it has been a challenge for both sides.

The Bowen Family Systems Theory—Learning It Then Using It

Here is what you need to know going in: you must learn it well enough to teach it. To be a credible facilitator and consultant, when you say you can help, you must know every detail of your plan. Using the Bowen Theory for family business issues is no different than showing someone how to work on a car, walking others through how to play a new game, or even demonstrating the current cool hip hop moves. You must know it well enough to teach it with conviction.

The Bowen Theory Was A Turning Point For Me

I have always enjoyed the mission of learning the “hows” and the “whys” of family dynamics, especially when it involves a family in business together, and that curiosity was what led me to the work of Dr. Murray Bowen.

The Bowen Theory Was A Turning Point For Me

I have always enjoyed the mission of learning the “hows” and the “whys” of family dynamics, especially when it involves a family in business together, and that curiosity was what led me to the work of Dr. Murray Bowen.

A First Step To Resolving Issues In The Family Business

I have worked 50+ years consulting in family business matters, and I recognize the clues when family members begin the process of working on “the issues.” “The issues” vary, of course, but there can turning points when a family business needs an outside opinion, maybe some suggestions, to resolve painful or contentious situations. For those family leaders who would like to do some groundwork, I’ve created an online course called Re-Imagining Relationships For Families In Business. This is a distillation of what I have seen and worked with over the length of my career. I know for sure that the relationships within the family business dynamic (or any business dynamic, for that matter) are the key to sustaining the legacy of success.

These Four Pillars Support A Successful Platform

The lessons around each of the 4 Pillars include exercises and supplemental resources to help family leaders, or the upcoming family leaders, understand and incorporate the key takeaways from each concept. Pillar 1 is all about Alignment. Right off the bat there is an exercise in values clarification because a leader must begin with what he (or she) knows about himself/herself. Then his job is to learn where the rest of the family is with their values. Once all have agreed on a values statement for the business, then they can move on to Pillar 2, which is about Boundaries. Anyone who grew up with siblings already knows that personal space is an issue that begins with the very young. (Mom! Make (brother or sister) get out of my room! Or move over in the car. Or stop playing with my toys, etc.)

Boundaries should be addressed right away when sorting out how to best get the family business moving together towards success. Oldest child may feel she should be able to step […]

Family Business Employment Policy: Individuation

This discussion relates to the second half of the Philosophy section developed by the Wilson family. As you review the elements below, I encourage you to think about the discussions the family must have had in the process of arriving at the statement.

By |2020-06-25T08:07:51-06:00June 1st, 2018|Categories: Articles, Family Relationships, Family Values, General, Managing Family Business|

Part Two: Family Business Employment Policy: Philosophy

This discussion relates to the second half of the Philosophy section developed by the Wilson family. As you review the elements below, I encourage you to think about the discussions the family must have had in the process of arriving at the statement.

By |2020-06-25T08:08:10-06:00May 15th, 2018|Categories: Articles, Family Relationships, Family Values, General, Managing Family Business|

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.