Boundaries are a defining concept for every successful family business I’ve ever worked with, and it’s the second of my supporting pillars in my online course, Re-Imaging Relationships For Families In Business. American poet Robert Frost noted that “good fences make good neighbors,” and I would add that good boundaries make good working relationships between family members.
Something I know for sure: anything attempted without alignment is unlikely to be long-lasting. Still, you must all agree on the “how-to” before you can implement an agenda of growth and sustainability. I recommend a family alignment model called Values-Based Leadership.
“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’ve spent some time looking back on a half-century career of working with families in business, and 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.
What I want to say is that in my experience, much of the research is focused on what conditions do or do not exist in family. I believe there should be more focus on what actions might be taken by family business consultants to improve overall operations. That’s always been my motivator in working with the over 500 families during my 50- year career. “I hear you. I see your issues. Now let’s do something to change them.”
In early 2018, in the deep winter of the Rocky Mountains, I sat down to write about what I’ve done for a living for the last 50 years. For the last 5 decades I have worked to help families in business grow, prosper, stay together, keep the love, and pass the torch when the time comes. I acknowledge it is time for me to take what I have learned over my years in family business consulting and make it available in an online course. Re-Imagining Relationships For Families In Business takes the learner through what I know to be the Concepts, Methods, and Techniques That Can Work Miracles. My online course includes not only what I have learned first-hand from all my years of work, but it also includes supporting research to help understand why things may happen the way they do, and how to make lasting changes to prevent future obstacles.
David 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."
Top Ten Family Business Facts | Fact #2: The Cluster Model Helps Capture the Evolution of Your Family Business Over Time
Traditionally, family businesses are described as constituent of three overlapping circles: 1) the family, 2) the business, and 3) the ownership (Gersick, Davis, McCollom Hampton, & Lansberg, 1997; Tagiuri & Davis, 1996). Recently, Michael-Tsabari, Labaki, & Zachary (2014) suggested the Cluster Model to update the two and three-circle models by providing a more detailed picture of the circles’ evolution over time.
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.