The Top 2 Reasons Family Business Succession Plans Fall Apart

    Over 50% of succession plans fall apart and fail… This has been documented time and time again. So WHY do succession plans fail and what can you do about it? In my work with family business clients I have found two things to be true for most failed succession plans.  1. Lack of Vision and Values Alignment Many organizations have not taken the crucial step of not only mapping out the vision and values of the organization, but then doing the same for the family and the individual members of the family.  Most often this leads to family members or other individuals working in the organizations who have a vision of where they want their life to go …

A Family Business Story: From Dysfunction to a Life and Business by Design

This is the story of a family my team worked with over the course of 18 months.  Names have been changed to protect their privacy.  Since the early 80’s, Brad had seen his family business flourish and grow into two businesses. But over the years, his businesses slowly began running him. He often found himself in the weeds with a family, two companies, and over 50 employees. Brad was at a crossroads.  Succession planning became a serious option. Brad wanted to devise a plan that would eventually let him step back from the helm of the company and let his two children take the reins, but how? This is where he reached out to us for help.  Discovering Misalignment and …

When a Family Member Wants Out of the Business

A few years back, I was running a breakout session at an International Family Conference. The topic we were focused on was how to navigate family transitions, while still celebrating Thanksgiving together. I find that is what most people in a family business really want: the ability to make decisions best for the business and the family and not have any “hard feelings.” The integrity of the family often trumps all things. During this breakout there was one particular family who raised a question about what they should do about a family member who had no desire to be part of the business. They wanted to know what they could do to persuade that person to be active in the …

Do I Sell My Family Business to Private Equity?

  Not far from where I was born, Art Van Elslander started a family business that grew to a $725 million retail chain of furniture stores called Art Van within 50 years of its founding.  With the advent of Wayfair and Amazon, Art needed to pivot and build a succession plan. He was in his late 80s and the time was now. Art had 10 heirs yet he decided to sell to Private Equity.  Art died the year after the company was sold and he was quoted saying that he felt confident with the transition and he believed employees were in the best of hands. Yet, what unfolded was a train wreck of issues. Many of the employees were filing …

Who Is Getting Your Leftovers?

Over the last 15 years of working with business owners, Executives, and other high achievers, I’ve noticed a common thread that has a major impact on their joy and fulfillment: A strong percentage of my clients are giving their significant others their leftovers. High achievers are often motivated by the desire to accomplish more professionally, provide for their families, and create an income that will give them and their families a lifestyle of freedom, experiences, and possibly recognition. This desire can create a story about how their lack of presence is okay… because they are serving their family, after all, right? I have personal experience with this story and it took the wisdom (and frustration, let’s be real) of my …