Tag Archives: dilemma

Classic Dilemmas

by John L. Ward

Classically, families transitioning from sibling parents to successor cousins face the challenge of transferring wealth and power by common rules shared by all the branches or by each parent deciding what’s best for their children. The questions where parent/branches could disagree:

  • At what age should next generation receive dividends, income?
  • At what age should next generation receive stock and voting rights?
  • At what age should next generation attend board meetings as observers?

Parents, of course, have the right to disagree on what’s best for their children. On the other hand, equivalency facilitates transparency and goodwill among the families.

As with all dilemmas, what to do is a matter of respectful balance. One family said it well:

“We coordinate and set uniform policy as much as possible


respect that parental privilege comes first.”

That reminds us of a family seeking to balance the family-first or business-first dilemma. They speak to it in a paradoxical way:

“The business always comes first – but for the family.”

Please share any dilemmas or paradoxes you face as a family in business.


Work-Life Balance: Who Would Choose Work?

by John L. Ward

Commentary on work-life balance has been fueled by the recent pronouncements of Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook) and Marissa Mayer (CEO Yahoo).  A recent article by Laura Vanderkam in USA Today urged using the term “work-life fit” instead. She notes that focusing on balance sets up a false choice. Fit provides an insight where work and life can be the resolution.

We often blog about managing dilemmas, balance and paradoxes, as family business leaders must have those capabilities. The example of work-life fit is very instructive.