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.

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.

Collaboration: Agreement On Methods And On What “Privacy” Means

After 20 years of being friends and being familiar with each other’s work, Dr. Jaffe and I were able to use our particular strengths to help solve some thorny issues, without stepping on each other’s toes or working at cross purposes. We shared information and we innovated together because we had agreed on our methods and we understood the enormity of the need for absolute confidentiality.

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 […]

My, How We’ve Grown In The Family Business Support Profession

It’s been a year of introspection for me, and I’ve spent some time looking back on a half-century career of working with families in business. This thought-work was how I knew to structure my recently released online course, Re-Imagining Relationships for Families In Business. Having to first distill, then organize those principles that I know for sure get results when working with legacy business families took me quite a long way down memory road. I see that, when those involved realized the overall impact of family businesses in global terms, then our consulting and support profession really gained depth and structure.

Nowhere were such changes more dramatically evident than at the recent FFI annual conference in London. The photo you see was taken there, and I have dubbed it “The Stalwarts.” Left to right, it’s Dirk Junge, James Olan Hutcheson, and me. We have all been involved with FFI since its inception, and we were doing the family business consulting work before there were official societies to support it. I’m seeing fewer and fewer of the more senior players in the Fam Biz orbit at these get-togethers, but Dirk, James, and I are still showing up.

In London I was pleased to see a large group of Spanish-speaking participants, and an equally large group of attendees from the Middle East. FFI is now a truly international association of like-minded professionals. I give Judy Green credit for making this happen. I would gauge the majority median age range at the global conference to be 35 – 50, and I think they could have benefited if more of the original seminal thinkers in our profession were there to mingle and to answer questions. That’s a reason I keep attending.

I’ve always believed that change is good and in fact, our ability to change is pivotal […]

David Bork Writes Forward for MAPS for Men Book, a Must-Have Resource for any Family Business

David Bork Writes Forward for MAPS for Men BookDavid Bork is proud to have contributed the forward for the book, MAPS for Men: A Guide for Fathers and Sons and Family Businesses.

New York Times best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio show host Dave Ramsey calls this important book “a must-have resource for any and every family business.”

In his forward for MAPS for Men, David Bork, founder and CEO of Family Business Matters, writes: “These concepts help fathers and sons reframe their relationship into something that is more meaningful and helpful in meeting their goals, rather than repeating generational patterns.”

David recommends this book to fathers and sons seeking to better understand their personal and professional relationship.

Full text of MAPS for Men Forward by David Bork

In the interest of full disclosure, Edgell Franklin Pyles has been a good friend for more than twenty-five years, and we share a large community of interests. In the early 90s, we explored together the works of Robert Moore, James Millman, Robert Bly, and others. I met both Robert Moore and Robert Bly at a retreat in Aspen, Colorado, organized and sponsored by Edgell.

This was called the men’s movement, and we were excited about it because it sought to further define what it meant to be a man at the end of the twentieth century. It was grounded in Jungian psychology, and while well researched and articulated, it could be theoretical and esoteric. Our explorations of this work produced a practical approach and we have been on parallel, but different, paths.

We were interested in understanding the dynamics that take place between fathers and sons at both the personal and professional level. Our first step was to comprehend and appreciate the relationship we had with our respective […]

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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.