Tag Archives: professional

Professionalizing the Family Business

Bernie Kliska

What is the meaning of the term professionalizing?  For some families, professionalization means transparency and accountability; for others, it means more formal structures and systems, yet for others it suggests they have a non-family CEO….  But are these always an improvement on what came before?

One of the issues with the idea of “professionalization” is that it is based on assumptions.  One assumption is that the family business is not already professional.   Second is that other models of business are better than the one they have and if they duplicate it, it will improve their enterprise.  Neither of these assumptions are necessarily true. 

There is often a perception that family businesses are not professional.  However there are many family businesses that are incredibly professional. The meaning of “professionalization” should not be whether a family member or non-family member heads the enterprise.  Instead, it should be a company that exhibits high standards of performance and ethics. 

One should not fall in the trap of assuming that the way to make your business more professional is to get rid of family members who are employees. The word “professional” implies strong leadership that nurtures formal processes for setting clear goals and rules, appraising employees performance, hiring based on ability to contribute, and promoting based on merit.  If that is what you have – you have a well-managed business, and that is the key to long-term success for any enterprise.


The Year of You

Norb Schwarz

By now most of us have made our New Year’s resolutions and have put them on a back shelf.

For 2012, I am working on a new challenge. I am concentrating on self-improvement as opposed to focusing on the business. The process will be much the same as my business planning process. First take an inventory. Who am I? What are the elements that make up “me”? I came up with eight potential elements for myself; the spiritual me, the emotional me, the relational me, the financial me, the professional me, the experiential me, the intellectual me, and the physical me. Given those elements of “me”, the next step is to look at how I have fared in each area in the past, where I am now, and where I want to be in the future. The final step is to outline what I have to do to meet each of my future goals and begin the process for each.

I like to keep the following favorite verse in mind as I go though my “year of me” process:

Isn’t it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings
And common people like you and me
Are builders of eternity?

To each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass and a bag of rules
And each must make, ere his life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.