Family-Owned Business Succession Planning Consultants – The Other Story

Most family-owned business owners and principals of closely held companies do a pretty good job nowadays in planning for the succession of the business in strictly financial terms. There are countless highly sophisticated financial analysts and succession planners who will go through a multiplicity of financial variables and help a family-owned business principal come up with the best possible financial route for planning his or her succession. What doesn’t get taken into account much of the time, and therefore becomes a huge potential problem, is family-owned business succession planning in terms of people, not money. This is one of the areas in which I concentrate my executive leadership services directed toward family-owned companies. It seems hard to imagine, but oftentimes in family-owned businesses the flow of events and the planning for succession in financial terms predominates over the obligation of the founder to plan for the company’s succession in terms of the people dynamics. By people dynamics I mean which of the children will be involved in running the company. What roles will they play? How will the children’s roles relate to their personality and standing in the family? Which children will not be a part of the ongoing family business? These are all critical concerns that need to be answered in the process of early succession planning in successful family-owned companies.

Recently, I have had a president of a family-owned business in Orange County, California, call me. He wanted to engage me for a family-owned business coaching because his two brothers and one sister were having a great deal of difficulty managing the company that they had inherited recently from their father. Ironically, the company was doing well in strictly financial terms, but in terms of the people management, things were chaotic. Unfortunately, the father had never specified clearly the exact roles of each of the vice-presidential titles that were given to the children, and therefore a difficult and potentially business-threatening power struggle had ensued. More than that, the questions remained open about which particular area each new adult child owner was best suited for. This was my challenge in working with this company, and by the time I had finished, we had sorted out both the emotional dynamics residual to their father’s death, the power struggle dynamics among the four siblings. I was able to place them in roles for which they uniquely suited and would help the company profit in the future.

This is the other story of family-owned business succession planning consultants.

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