Specializing in Executive Leadership & Sustainable Organizations”

Family Business Consultation

What is the rationale for offering consultation to family businesses?

Family businesses can experience a number of unique conflicts not typically found in other corporate environments. For one, family firms—that are often made up of parents and children, family and non-family shareholders, stakeholders, and employees—can struggle with unresolved tensions associated with the diverse viewpoints and vested interests that arise between different generations.

Conflicts that develop within a family firm significantly challenge those involved to arrive at solutions to critical issues affecting the business’ ability to thrive. It is sometimes difficult for family members to perceive the ways in which family and business systems can be contradictory, or work at cross-purposes to each other.

The health and viability of any family business depends greatly on its governing members being able to develop an awareness of the interdependency and interactions that inevitably occur between business and family systems.

When business and family dynamics collide, daily operations will be derailed, producing adverse effects on the bottom line. Typical themes may include:

• Issues of basic trust and respect
• Dysfunctional family communication patterns
• Unwritten roles and confusion around commitment and tasks
• Poor separation of personal and familial/business interests
• Unresolved emotional conflicts among family members
• Unspoken/unwritten expectations
• Ineffective conflict resolution and problem solving skills
• Group emotional intelligence: collaboration, cooperation and working effectively with available resources

These common themes can be found when parties are dealing and negotiating with any substantive issue that has the potential to determine the family business’ current and future viability. These may involve:

• Ownership
• Strategic planning
• Estate planning
• Business financial planning
• Succession

What can clients expect from Solution-Focused Family Business Consultation?

Family businesses that have determined a need for consultation are invited to schedule one or more initial meetings with Dr. Giacalone to:

• Clearly identify the specific conflicts and needs of the family business, as well as the differing priorities and vested interests of the relevant parties

• Gather the necessary history, information and knowledge to understand the presenting problems and issues. An assessment is then completed and
communicated to the participating family members

• Communicate clear solution-focused guidelines and recommendations along with an estimation of the amount of time it will take to deal effectively with the
identified family business issues

• Assess the commitment and buy in of each of the family business member participating in the consultative process

Building a sustainable future

Not all family businesses will find themselves weighed down by intractable internal problems. Some family firms may also wish to avail themselves of consultation to identify and support existing elements within their current business structure that are contributing to its success. Parties within the family business can engage in valuable strategic and succession planning sessions with Dr. Giacalone to map out a consensus about how to maximize the health, integrity and sustainability of the business over the years to come.