A successful family business must be poised to prosper for many generations to come. A quick list of necessary items needed to create a successful family business include: alignment on important matters, a shared vision for the company, a detailed action plan, a family constitution, a shareholder agreement, a responsible owner and an official employment policy.
Trust in family business is a critical issue. Strong relationships which are based on trust and communication build equality and respect - not power and control. Trust can be built, measured, tested and repaired. It is a way of reducing uncertainty in interpersonal and organizational settings and is necessary for cohesive and productive professional relationships.
Disputes can cause major disruptions within a family business and even spell an end to the business if not handled effectively. This is exactly why learning how to facilitate dispute resolution in family business is vital. The development of a shareholder agreement can prove to be invaluable in resolving differences and protecting a family business from making destructive decisions.
Learning how to build positive working relationships is essential in a family business. Positive relationships are a factor in the success of the business and in the level of satisfaction at work. To build good working relationships in a family business, employees of the business must be proactive in making social investments in one another.
The strength of social relationships and strong ties to their manager can distinguish the happiest employees from everyone else. Family business support can be the greatest asset of a family business. Workers who believe their supervisor cares about them as people are oftentimes more productive and more likely to stay with a company long-term.
Positive bonding within families is a critical factor in the long-term achievement of the family as well as the family business. Families that have a culture of love and support ultimately lead to more successful working relationships and family business success. Social investment and bonding in the family business is an invaluable factor.
Strategic business decision making is related to consensus decision making in family business. Families that use a strategic business decision making process are committed to discussing issues until there is full agreement to move forward and implement a decision. If a family is committed to working together for the long term, it is best to embrace this model.
I was privileged to be a featured speaker at Family Firm Institute’s 26th Annual Conference in Brussels, Belgium this month. This was my twenty-third year presenting at the Global Conferences of the Family Firm Institute (FFI)! Throughout my career, I’ve always enjoyed connecting with audiences through these speaking engagements.
I presented my session with Dennis Passis, owner of Gate Enterprises Inc., a mid-sized family business. Passis and I met at last year’s conference and our conversations about professional orientation led to the joint presentation. Our talk, “What Informs Your Work with Family Business?,” resulted in a lively, 60-minute interactive session with the audience.
Jesus Casado, FFI Board member, said, "This was the best session in the entire conference!"
During our session with the audience, we spoke about how the values and fundamental beliefs of family business counselors provide the foundation for their work with family business clients. We discussed how those beliefs set the quality and tone for client-consultant engagement and become a determining factor in creating successful outcomes for the family business.
Thank you to Family Firm Institute for once again bringing together such an interesting group of experts, as well as owners and members of family businesses from around the world!
Does Your Family Business Need Help?
Family Business Matters has extensive experience assisting family businesses. With many decades of experience, we understand the wide variety of challenges that families face as they work together to build, grow and sustain a thriving family business generation after generation. Through conferences, continuing education programs, family business retreats, speaking engagements and private family business consulting services, Family Business Matters has assisted more than 450 family-owned businesses around the world chart their way through family business issues of all shapes and sizes.
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In my last post, which you can read here, I gave the background of the Yost family, with whom I worked as a consultant. The Yosts own a group of successful car dealerships. Brothers Alan and Charlie make up the third generation of this family business, and both worked in the business. Alan is determined to find the easy way through everything, and he never excelled in the business. Charlie, on the other hand, transformed the dealership into an award-winning business with great profitability through 20 years of hard work.
When Charlie reached the breaking point and decided that Alan had to leave the business, it created a contentious situation that threatened to tear the family apart. The brothers had a buy/sell agreement that stated that Charlie would have paid Alan just under $10 million for his share of the business. Alan wanted more than the buy/sell would give him. He hired an adversarial lawyer who worked on a contingency and promised Alan he could “get a lot more.”
I worked as an advisor with the Yosts to help them make their way through this buy/sell agreement. In my meetings with the Yosts, I discovered that one of the most important core values of the family was their commitment to function from a place of integrity. This principle was demonstrated by the actions of the brothers’ grandfather, business founder Fred Yost.
Alan had a wonderful, loving relationship with his grandfather. During Fred’s latter years, he and Alan had lunch once a week. In those lunch meetings, Fred told Alan the stories that only a founder of a business can tell. Those stories all contained a […]
When family business conflict affects a family, the result can be catastrophic. In order to prevent family business conflict from destroying family relationships, it can be beneficial to engage a family business consultant to help the family work through the difficult process of coming to an agreeable resolution to disagreements.