Family Business Consulting
WHO IS FAMILY BUSINESS CONSULTING FOR?
ENTERPRISING OR BUSINESS FAMILIES WHO ARE EXPERIENCING THE FOLLOWING:
- As the founder, you would like to be able to have the tough conversations with other family members about important business concerns like transitioning the business to the next generation, choosing leadership, and establishing an advisory board.
- As part of the the next generation, you value the legacy being handed to you. You feel confident to speak out and have those tough conversations with the senior generation but need help doing it.
- Your family and your family business feel stuck and you’re not sure why. You want the honest truth about what’s getting in the way of your family business thriving and your family feeling more connected.
- Deep down you know that your family relationships are the most important ones and yet you don’t know how to be as successful with them as you do with other non-family business relationships. You feel much more competent in business relationships than you do in family relationships. You are inspired to change that and would like professional guidance to do so.
- While you find it much easier to invest in tax advisors and wealth management strategists, you are ready to start investing in a relational specialist to help your family have clear and direct communication with each other about family and business issues. You are ready to be proactive instead of reactive with regards to your family relationships.
- You hold back being honest with your kids about planning for the family business and transitioning the family’s wealth because you are afraid of treating them unequally. Also, you don’t want money to ruin them. As a result, they are largely in the dark about many things having to do with your family enterprise.
- You are challenged to find a supportive bridge to help your family from their emotional distress / avoidance cycle to working as a team on solid outcomes for the business.
- As a founder, the child that you had expected to take over your business tells you they are not interested; you’re in shock and not sure what to do next.
- You are worried that family relationships will be permanently fractured if things don’t change for the better in both the family and the business.
GUIDING THE LEGACY OF YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS
WHAT IS FAMILY BUSINESS CONSULTING?
FAMILY BUSINESS / CONSULTANT RELATIONSHIP
The relationship that you build with me, your consultant, is a rare one. I contract with your entire family, not just one member. As such, I aim to not take sides or align with one member or branch. Rather, I strive to make meaningful relationships with all parts of your family system and business, regardless of whether they are older or younger, owner or non-owner, work in the business or not, or have emotional struggles or not. While not every member may get a vote, I believe that everyone gets a voice. All of this creates the basis of trust and respect that will make our work together successful and meaningful.
Rarely will I tell you what I think you should do. Rather, I will more often ask relevant questions that will help you all discover your own path forward. I will readily offer empathy and understanding as I believe that contributes to creating an emotionally safe environment for you to be vulnerable with each other. Because each business family is incredibly unique, each path forward needs to be highly customized to their needs. My job is to help families get clear for themselves about what their respective path forward is.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
What to expect with FAMILY BUSINESS CONSULTING
Phase I – Initial Consultation
Before we decide to work together, it’s important for me to meet with many, if not all, of the family members that comprise your family enterprise. This is because when I consult with a family businesses, the entire family is my client. In these meetings, it’s an opportunity for me to learn about the challenges that you all are facing and what goals you might have for our work together. You also get a flavor of what it might be like to work with me through these meetings and decide if I’m a good fit for your family. Based on what you are sharing with me, I will tell how I might work with you and answer any questions you might have.
Phase II – Discovery
Discovery is the exciting phase where you commit to the process of change. I start by learning as much as I possibly can. I will have in-depth meetings with key family members, shareholders, and managers/employees in the business. I also might have some members complete assessments about your family enterprise. I will seek to get an in-depth and well-rounded perspective of both the history and the current state of your family and your business. Each part of your family system that I interface with will give me vital information about where you all are, where you want to be going, and how you might get there. I will also want to meet with any advisors that are central to the family business to get their perspective and to establish a collaborative and collegial relationship. It is essential that we all work together in service of your family enterprise’s emerging vision.
Phase III – Vision & Alignment
Based on what information was gathered during the discovery phase, we will start to put together a unique vision together that outlines how you will achieve your goals and aspirations. Every voice matters and is woven into your vision. This vision will ideally take us through a year together at which point we will reevaluate our work. The action part of the vision will likely involve different meetings with various formations of your family enterprise (family members, owners, and key managers of the business).
Phase IV – Process
Everyone works together to make the vision a reality. Though the intention and structures of the meetings are clearly laid out, the real work is what will evolve within our time together. This is called process. It is where the magic happens. It is where truth is spoken. It is where relationships open up, explored, and possibly mended. These spaces can also be where vital knowledge is gained, synergy is ignited, brilliant strategy is birthed, deep listening happens, old rifts healed, losses grieved, identities transformed, and so much more. Sometimes these spaces are used for figuring out complex business issues and other times they are used to empower people through education. Regardless of the content of the meetings, when a business family gathers deliberately with compassion and honesty, powerful forces align to make the impossible possible. However, this kind of space can only be created with a foundation of emotional safety. Sometimes, the first step in the process phase is building (or rebuilding) trust that will lead to emotional safety and expressions of vulnerability.
Phase V – Completion
Periodically, we will re-evaluate our work through reflecting on progress made, updating your vision, and deciding if you would like to continue working together. A good sign that we are heading towards final completion is when you need me less. This happens when I see my families able to create safe spaces for themselves by using communication that is honest, kind, and needed; when conflict is navigated with a messy sort of grace; when I see them relying on the governance structures we worked hard to put into place; when roles are clearly explicitly defined and named; when members feel empowered to speak up freely; when leadership development is invested in and the results are self-evident; when the family is playing and having fun together. When I see all of these things happening, I feel confident that our work can wind down and transition into me being a resource that is available as needed.
I also offer Leadership Groups
Leadership Groups provide the needed emotional support that can expedite your personal & professional growth.