Category Archives: Family Business Consulting

David Karofsky Joins The Family Business Consulting Group

David Karofsky

The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to welcome to its team David Karofsky.

David brings over 25 years of experience in coaching and consulting to individuals, families and companies to develop better cross team communication and build alignment among leadership. His client work is focused on executing the transition of ownership and leadership, professional development, conflict resolution, strategic planning and forming governance structures for family and closely-held businesses.

David is a recognized practitioner in the field, international speaker, and co-author of So You’re in the Family Business: A Guide to Sustainability with his father, Paul Karofsky. David joined his father’s firm, Transition Consulting Group, when he began his family business consulting practice, which has given him a personal appreciation for the joys of family business. David feels the move to FBCG offers the best of both worlds. “When FBCG approached me about joining its practice, I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to become part of a new team and expand the value I provide to my clients, while still being able to collaborate with my father.”

“We’re excited to have David on board,” shared Drew Mendoza, Managing Principal. “We have a lot of respect for the work that David and his father, Paul, have done with families over the years. David brings great energy, knowledge and expertise around family business, and he’ll have much to contribute to the FBCG team and the families that we serve.”

David is a graduate of Bowdoin College and received his Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology from Boston University and his MBA from Northeastern University. He is based in Boston, where he lives with his wife and two children.

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!

Avoiding the “to-do list” mentality

Kristi Daeda
Kristi Daeda

One of the great benefits of the ever-increasing dialogue around family business challenges is that many families have a much clearer picture of the things that are required to sustain the business into future generations. Readers of our books and articles will see that our experience with business-owning families has shown certain things to be very helpful in balancing the needs of family and business, including independent boards, family councils, family policies, family meetings, and family education.

And so, it can be tempting to dive in and start putting those things in place. Take the example of instituting a family council. It can seem fairly simple – selecting people to serve on the council, organizing meetings, creating agendas, etc. A successful family council, though, requires the family itself to change, giving up old ways of communicating and making decisions in favor of this new structure. This kind of change takes time and may feel like two steps forward, one step back for a while until the family adapts.

This is why the process of how these important structures are created is as important as the structure itself. A board of directors will be most effective when the board has the trust and respect of the family. A family council will work best when the family understands its purpose and respects the council members who represent them. The process of creating these structures includes what they are and how they’re formed, plus education, agreement, and engagement.

As we enter a New Year we may look to set goals that will move our families towards better continuity planning. Keeping the focus on both where you need to go and how you’re going to get there is important to smoothing out the bumps in the road on the way to change.

Hiring a family business consultant: Key questions and considerations

Bernie Kliska
Bernie Kliska

As a consultant to family businesses, I am frequently asked, “When will I need a family business consultant?” The simple answer is, when you need one, you will know it.

A consultant is usually brought in to help a family resolve particular issues that they do not have the time or expertise to resolve by themselves. There are basically two types of systems consultants often used:

Expert or project consultants will give you solutions to particular problems and help implement those solutions.
Process consultants help you define the problems and then assist you in reaching your own conclusions and solutions.

What should you be looking for when hiring a family business consultant? The first and most important factor is straight forward: can they help solve your particular issues that are hurting the family and business or both?

Before hiring a consultant, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • What type of experience do they have working with family businesses?
  • How broad and deep is their training?
  • How long have they done family business consulting?
  • Do they demonstrate expertise on the pertaining issues the family is presenting?
  • Have they helped other businesses with similar issues?

Two other basic criteria are cost and time. Is the consultant affordable for you and is there a time constraint? Do you have confidence that the consultant will complete the project on time?

While these are important factors, the real question is, does the consultant have the experience and ability to manage the specific issues that are involved? A quick and cheap solution that doesn’t solve your problems is not very useful.

Helping to cultivate harmony is an important part of the consultant’s involvement. Family businesses are incredibly complex entities. Family business members inherently need to work through a broad range of complicated challenges, with the consequences of failure being not only the loss of the business, but also potentially the loss of the love found in family relationships.

Succession, ownership, communication, family dynamics, and governance all require different types of management. However, to be successful, all of these things need to be functioning in harmony. Thus, there are many different skill sets that a consultant needs to work with a family business.

Running a business is hard, especially these days. Trying to run a profitable business with your family, while maintaining harmony within the family, can be even more difficult. Fortunately, there is help available.

Family business consulting is basically the art and science of helping a family business find the delicate balance of peace and success among the family and the business.