All posts by admin

Our Best Family Business Resources of 2016

2016-header

A Year in Review: Our Top 15 Articles

Written and edited by our team of practitioners, our complimentary newsletters feature original thinking on all of the topics that face family businesses. Subscribe today and receive a free copy of our special white paper: “15 Lessons Family Councils Wish They Knew Before They Started.

Save 30% on our best-selling books!

View our entire library on our publisher’s website and save 30% with coupon code PM16THIRTY at checkout.

hr_in_the_family_business_cover_loresHuman Resources in Family Business
This new book shows how HR practices can help family firms achieve their values-driven goals as a family and a business. Filled with case studies, frameworks and practical tools, this book addresses how to successfully anticipate and manage people issues and opportunities. Details…

family-wealth-continuity-cover_lo-resFamily Wealth Continuity: Building a Foundation for the Future
Too many one-size-fits-all and elaborate continuity plans fail to take into account the idiosyncratic family factors that can interfere with continuity planning. This book explains how building the right foundation will help families implement the best continuity plans. Details…

Webinars On-Demand

From Partners by Chance to Partners by Choice: Building Trust-based Partnerships with Siblings and Cousins
Discover how to think objectively about where you might improve as a partner while also striving to identify and enhance these qualities in your family partners. Details…

Introducing Teens and Young Adults to the Family Enterprise
Understand the many facets to developing capable successors to take on business challenges and leadership roles and be excited to do so in partnership with their siblings, cousins and other family members. Details…

Subscribe to our newsletters and receive the latest family business resources via email. Learn more…

Dana Telford and Michael Fassler Named Principals

The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to announce the addition of two of its seasoned experts to the top position of principal in 2016: Dana Telford and Michael Fassler.

“Both have fantastic family business acumen, academic and career pedigrees,” said Drew Mendoza, managing principal of the firm. “Their contributions to the field not only as advisors, but also speakers and writers, are superb. Most importantly, both have shown tremendous leadership in our company and great respect for our vision and values.  Every client I have spoken with has provided outstanding reviews of their work with the family and the business.”

Dana Telford
Dana Telford

Dana joined the firm in 2011 and has advised hundreds of business families from many business sectors in a variety of sizes on six continents and in more than 18 different countries. His former and current clients include leaders from Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest, a royal family and two of the largest privately held businesses in the world. Dana earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“Dana brings wonderful experience as a consultant and an excellent mind to the continuing development of The Family Business Consulting Group,” shared Craig Aronoff, co-founder, principal and chair of the board. “He represents the ‘next generation’ of ownership which will assure the continuity of our firm and the achievement of our commitment to remain an independent firm providing unconflicted service to our family business clients across generations.”

Michael Fassler
Michael Fassler

Mike has been serving family businesses since 1984, across industries and internationally. Since joining our team in 2013, most of his work is focused on family businesses owned by sibling teams and cousin teams with an emphasis on helping clients balance the tension of family and business as their families and businesses grow. He is a certified and active member of the Family Firm Institute and earned his BBA in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and graduate degree from Michigan State University

According to Craig, “Mike is an outstanding addition to our ownership team with decades of experience and a great understanding of practice of professional advisory services and building our capacity to better serve our clients. We look forward to having his voice in our decisions concerning the continuous growth and improvement of The Family Business Consulting Group.”

Established in 1994, The Family Business Consulting Group’s ownership group today includes Craig Aronoff, Drew Mendoza, Christopher Eckrich, Stephen McClure, Amy Schuman, David Lansky, Joe Schmieder, Greg Greenleaf, Dana Telford and Michael Fassler.

Our intention is similar to that of many of the family businesses we serve: to perpetuate The Family Business Consulting Group across generations by constantly identifying and attracting outstanding professionals and continuously facilitating their improvement while reinvesting in our organization, methods and intellectual capital.

Welcome to your new leadership roles, Dana and Mike!

Nicole Bettinger Joins The Family Business Consulting Group

bettinger_200x300The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to announce the addition of Nicole Bettinger as its newest consultant specializing in communication, conflict resolution and training next-generation family business owners. Her experience includes facilitating family meetings, educating families and aligning ownership.

“Nicole is a wonderful example of what we seek in next generation family business specialists,” said Managing Principal Drew Mendoza. “She brings solid business and family communication instincts, broad experience, career commitment to the field and great care for the families she serves.”

Prior to joining the firm, she served as as the operations manager for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Family Business Center. Her work in programming helped the Center support family businesses through a variety of services including discussion forums, training programs and educational resources. Nicole also facilitated peer group meetings focused on the training of next generation family business leaders.

She has a personal passion and understanding of family business as her family owned a grocery store for 95 years before converting into a community operated co-operative.

Nicole’s education includes a BA in History and International Studies from UW-Madison and an MBA from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is a recent graduate of the Family Firm Institute Certificate program in Family Business Advising and is pursuing the Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising.  Nicole also has completed coursework in group facilitation and mediation through DePaul University.

Justin Craig Joins The Family Business Consulting Group

Craig_200x300The Family Business Consulting Group welcomes Justin Craig, Ph.D. as a consultant to our team. His areas of advisory expertise include issue-selling by next-generation family members, business and family governance, and the use of strategy measurement and management tools, such as the Balanced Scorecard, in family firms.

He is also a Clinical Professor of Family Enterprises and Co-Director of the Center for Family Enterprises at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Justin’s research focuses on the strategy, function, management and performance of multi-generational family enterprises and those who lead and steward them. He is especially interested in the behavioral aspects of the family and, increasingly, the business family-influenced drivers of socio-economic impact. Before Kellogg, he held faculty positions at Northeastern University in Boston, Bond University in Australia (where he co-directed the globally renowned Australian Centre for Family Business) and Oregon State University.

Today he works closely with family business leaders and advisors, and has trained and presented to members of family firms from most business sectors (technology, consumer goods, manufacturing, retail and many others) and countries worldwide, including the United States, Columbia, Mexico, England, Ireland, Finland, South Africa, China, South Korea, Pakistan, India, Dubai, New Zealand and his home country Australia.

Justin completed undergraduate degrees in Business and Psychology (with Honors) at Griffith University, a Master’s degree in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science at Bond University.

Podcast: Revealing Family Business Challenges Can Empower Startling Opportunities

Brun de Pontet 100x150
Stephanie Brun de Pontet

Senior FBCG consultant Stephanie Brun de Pontet was a recent podcast guest on Business Confidential Now with host Hanna Hasl-Kelchner.

The show explored how a family business can grow and prosper and successfully transfer from one generation to the next while at the same time avoiding blow-ups and other situations that make for really awkward family get togethers.

Interview highlights include:

  • The most common first generation family business challenges.
  • Which should come first, business or family?
  • Why it’s important to manage a family member’s sense of entitlement.
  • Distinguishing the rights and duties of family business owners who don’t work in the business from those that do.
  • Why pay objectivity is more important than pay parity among family working in the family business.
  • The quintessential family business succession challenge.
  • Why next generation leaders must be empowered to adjust leadership styles.

To listen, visit www.businessconfidentialradio.com or download:
On iTunes http://apple.co/1PW0PA0
On Spreaker http://bit.ly/22eEtkz
On Stitcher http://bit.ly/1UJPlnM

Joshua Nacht Joins The Family Business Consulting Group

Joshua Nacht
Joshua Nacht

FBCG is pleased to welcome Joshua Nacht, Ph.D. as the newest consultant to our 25-member team. He brings a complementary mix of skills, attributes and experience to his new role.

“I was inspired to become a family-business consultant after working with John Ward as both a client and student,” says Joshua. “I have a diverse set of life experiences and skills that allow me to integrate various perspectives and capabilities to work with business-families. I have been looking at FBCG for years, and the opportunity to join this elite (but not elitist) group is a tremendous honor.”

Joshua works with families to help promote dialogue and idea advancement by integrating diverse perspectives. He utilizes a systems-based approach to work with the complexity and opportunity present in family businesses. Joshua facilitates effective group process, and works to leverage polarities as a way to maximize organizational functioning.

He has spoken at numerous family-enterprise conferences on a range of issues including having multiple roles, incorporating married-ins, and creating generational cohorts. Joshua is also a co-author of several articles pertaining to actionable family business concepts and an active collaborator to idea development in the field.

He serves on the Board of Directors of Bird Technologies as a married-in, third-generation family member. In addition, he is a second-generation owner of a real estate development and management company in Edwards, Colorado.

Joshua earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 2007 and worked for five years as a professional counselor with individuals, groups and families. In 2015, he earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Systems at Saybrook University with a focus on family-enterprise. Joshua’s dissertation research, “The Role of the Family Champion,” investigated leadership within the ownership group of business families.

Joshua and his wife Alison have two children, and are part of a thriving small-town community where they are founding members of a cooperative school. He enjoys cooking, nature excursions, and is an avid skier and cyclist in his native Colorado.

According to Joshua, “Being able to work with a world-class group of people is very exciting to me because I can learn and grow with the best.”

JoAnne Norton Named Cal State’s Interim Family Business Chair

JoAnne Norton
JoAnne Norton

Congratulations to FBCG consultant JoAnne Norton who was recently named interim Rick Muth Chair in Family Business for Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

She will hold the position for the 2015-16 academic year while a national search is conducted to fill the permanent position.

“She brings tremendous knowledge about family business, wisdom with regards to family dynamics and communication, and passion for assisting family businesses to achieve their potential,” said Ed Hart, director of the Center for Family Business at Cal State Fullerton. “We honestly could not be more excited for what JoAnne brings to the center and to our members.”

Norton has been working with multigenerational family businesses for more than a decade in the areas of family governance, communication and leadership training. A former vice president of shareholder relations for a family-owned media company, she has taught in the business college for seven years and facilitates two peer affinity groups of the center. She holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University.

The endowed position was established through a fundraising drive led by major donor Rick Muth, president of Stanton-based Orco Block. Muth is a founding member of the college’s Center for Family Business.

The center was established in 1995 as a partnership between the business community and the university. Its mission is to enhance the well-being and survivability of family businesses by providing opportunities for education, interaction and information tailored to business needs and concerns.

Collected resources: Family councils

Editor’s note: A frequent question we hear from business families regarding family governance is: “Where do we start?” The following is a selection of articles and other resources that can be helpful in thinking about the role family governance might play in your family. 

As family business advisors, we have been recommending to our clients that they form family councils for decades. In fact, councils are often considered the sine qua non for all families who own businesses together, particularly if the business has been around for more than a generation. But who really needs a family council, and what exactly is one?Read more…

Responsibilities of Family Councils by John L. Ward, Ph.D.
This comprehensive list outlines the obligations a well-defined council provides to the family firm. Read more…

A Renegotiation of Relationships by Chris Eckrich, Ph.D. and Steve McClure, Ph.D.
The “Hills” family asks: Are we ready to commit to changing our rules of engagement with one another? Read more…


Family Council HandbookBook: The Family Council Handbook
by Chris Eckrich, Ph.D. and Steve McClure, Ph.D.
An invaluable owner’s manual for family councils that includes beneficial models, strategies and real-life examples. Learn more…

Webinar: Providing Structure for Family Business Continuity
During this on-demand webinar, panelists Chris Eckrich, Ph.D., Steve McClure, Ph.D. and Amy Schuman explain how to use the family council to strengthen the family and the business. Learn more…


Other Complimentary Resources

These articles originally appeared in The Family Business Advisor, a monthly email newsletter published by The Family Business Consulting Group. To sign up for your free subscription, please complete this form. We also have a vast selection of online articles available at your fingertips!

Results from On-boarding Survey

Last month’s Family Business Advisor (FBA) article touched on the process of ‘on-boarding’ new employees in the company.  We asked readers and our advisors to comment on a few questions based on their experience, and we are summarizing what we heard.  Please note, we cannot draw any scientific conclusions from this exercise – rather, it is food for thought & perhaps further discussion…

1) When asked if family businesses were better, worse or no different than other companies when it comes to ‘on-boarding’ employees, more of our respondents suggested family businesses are likely ‘worse’ or no different.  A couple of interesting caveats: first, the vast majority of our colleagues (all professional advisors to many family businesses) responded ‘no difference’ to this question.  Second, if we look at some of the comments from readers, we get a sense that some family members may have struggled with their own on-boarding because of the high degree of scrutiny that can come from being ‘the boss’ kid…’ – which also aligns with the answers we got to question 2 below

“Worse when onboarding a new employee who is a family member, not necessarily worse when onboarding non-family employees”

2) When asked who had a better ‘on-boarding’ experience, family or non-family employees, both readers and FBCG advisors tended to weigh in on the side that non-family employees had an easier time of this.  One reader’s quote adds some depth to the opinion:

“We have hired many more non-family family employees so the process is more standardized and doesn’t involve the extra complexities that can exist when bringing in a family member.”

However, an interesting ‘counter-view’ (that it may be easier for a family member to onboard) is captured in this quote, which speaks to the family benefit of familiarity:

“When I joined the business I already knew many co-workers and senior management, from working there over summers and company functions/picnics where the family has been involved.”

3) Finally, when asked to rank the importance of certain ‘best practices’ around on-boarding next generation family employees to the business, both the readers and the FBCG consultants came up with the same relative hierarchy.  A few comments underscored that all of these are important or valuable, but when forced to rank, the following order emerged, starting with the most valuable:

1) The new family employee works outside the family business first
2)The new family employee starts working at the right job
3) The family employee reports to a non-family member
4) The family employee participates in the same performance feedback process as other comparable employees
5) The company board is actively involved in the onboarding of the new family employee

We deeply appreciate everyone’s participation in these ‘mini-surveys’ and hope readers gain some additional insights alongside us as we seek to hear from readers about their lived experienced with these complex topics.  We hope to continue to send out questions to our readers and are always looking for innovative ways to engage folks in the dialog.  As always, if you are interested in learning more about how the Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. may be a resource to you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Gratefully, the Family Business Advisor

The Changing Face of Philanthropy in Family Firms

Paul Hawkins of the University of Portland, recently said the following:

“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore the earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse”.

In providing support for the communities in which they provide employment, manage supply chains and enjoy a customer base, family firms have demonstrated an extraordinary willingness to give back. Much of this is connected to their values which include the need to support the wider “societies” in which they operate.

However, increasingly, giving monies is insufficient for family firms. They want to get involved in the causes they support in a hands-on way. Some are beginning to treat their philanthropic support and donations as they would any other investment. Family firms are beginning to measure their ROI in emotional, spiritual, political, commercial and social terms.

A group in the UK called “Achieving Impact”, run by James Plunket, works with families to align their values to the political, social and environmental needs of those to whom they give. Families treat their investment in land/machinery/people in the same way they treat their investment into charities. They work to build KPIs that help them to measure the impact they are having. Performance measurement becomes a key element in the philanthropic endeavours of family firms. Some families ask:

  • are we collaborating with other providers (social and political) for the greater good?
  • to what extent are we proactive in our giving vs. reactive?
  • do we combine with institutional investors who are ethical?

 Are we seeing this trend elsewhere in the world?