Blog

Inflation Fears Halt Succession Plans

Déjà vu? When the GFC hit (2007 – 2009), the succession plans of many family businesses came to an abrupt halt as legions of outgoing leaders suddenly re-cast themselves into the roles of business heroes and saviours – ostensibly because they’d lived through, and survived, previous recessions and financial crises.  In their minds their successors […]

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“More, or “Meaningful”?

by Jon Kenfield MBO (Note: this is my personal, unauthorised take on what somebody else said). James E Hughes Jr. is a US attorney and the author of several highly influential books about preserving and enhancing family wealth.  Hughes postulates that while financial capital provides practical support for multi-generational families, their true wealth lies in […]

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“Don’t Mention the War!” – Lessons learnt working with Business Families

1. What is Old will never be New again – elongation of life expectancy Observations Our Past:  Family succession was usually caused by the physical and/or mental incapacity or death of family leaders.  Historically, this is why Wills were the prime determinants (one can’t really say “guides”) for family succession and inheritance. Our Present:  We’re […]

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Cause #50 3rd Parties (1) – Externals

Observations The actions and inactions of non-family: Directors, Managers, Employees and Advisers (“Externals”) are a common cause of conflict in Family Business. Family Businesses are notorious for birthing warring cliques and factions – supporters for: Mum vs Dad; siblings against siblings (or cousins); generation against generation; and employees against family – please get them out […]

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Cause #49 Old Retainers

Observations Old Retainers are a common cause of conflict in family business.  Typically, Mum or Dad has worked with “old Phyllis / Sam” since the early days and over the years has (allegedly) promised: “we’ll always look after you”, in return for their unconditional loyalty. Conflicts arise when new business leaders are pressured to honour […]

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Cause #45 Retirement & Other Exits

Observations Generational transition (aka “succession”) and the retirement of one or some people that comes with it, is THE major cause of conflict in family business.  85% of my working life is spent trying to resolve the tensions that arise in business families through stalled and/or conflicted successions, and their many related issues. “Retirement” means, […]

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Cause #44 Business Performance

Business performance or, more often: lack of same, is a common cause of conflict in Family Business.  When business results are not what they could and should be, and worse, are not what people need them to be, tensions mount, and conflict often follows close behind. Poor business performance has many causes – some avoidable, […]

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Cause #43 Personal, Family and Business Values

Observations Values are personal internal motivators that encourage humans to do what they do, the way they do it, when they do it.  They’re a key component of character and personality, being created by a mixture of: genetics, intelligence, education, environmental upbringing and training (from home, social, ethnic and religious sources), lived experience, and (possibly) […]

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Cause #42 Next Generation “Issues”

Observations Next generation “issues” are a common cause of conflict in Family Business.  We’re talking here about macro, contextual causes.  Lots of other micro causes are covered in other chapters – specifically around personality differences and succession scenarios. A Family Business is defined as any business that substantially involves at least 2 family members as […]

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Cause #41 Buying & Selling Interests in The Business

Observations Another common cause of conflict in Family Business gains oxygen when family members are, or feel they are locked into ownership of the family’s business interests – notwithstanding their wish to not be involved.  This uncertain feeling develops into conflict when it begets an uncomfortable sense of: “obligation to do stuff” – either in […]

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