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UFB Issue #032 Fuzzy Agreements
November 04, 2004

"The key to family business success"
ISSN 15465640


A free monthly e-zine with articles and tips from Family Business Experts who understand family values and business systems.



November 4, 2004 Issue #032 Family Business Experts

http://www.family-business-experts.com

http://www.familybusinessexperts.com



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In This Issue...

1. Our Managing Director Announces -

2. Business first family...Family first business

Fuzzy Agreements - Made and Accepted
The Scourge Of Family Businesses

3. Legacy through Leadership

LP09. Ensuring Consistency of Organizational Rewards

4. Around the Family Business Experts web sites




1. Our Managing Director Announces -

One of the more popular features of our web site is the ASK THE EXPERT form located on most pages of our web site. It is a complimentary service we offer - where visitors to our web site can pose a question or a problem to our family business triage expert and our multi-disciplinary team.

A few months ago, a visitor to our web site used the ASK THE EXPERT feature to seek some guidance regarding his family's business. We exchanged e-mails and the story started to unfold. Michael was involved in a family business with his dad, Paul. Michael and Paul worked hard to build a successful business together and throughout the years they had always maintained a great relationship - both in the family and in the business...

We continue with the Leadership Practices series, since these practices are the foundation for the processes that must be in place in order to achieve success.

Reminder: We've developed a couple of quick diagnostic assessments to help you. They are both fr*ee [at least for a while] and we try to deliver 48 hour turnaround of our analysis. Try them!

The Holonomic Top Down Assessment asks you about a combination of the 12 Main Enabling Processes that an effective organization has to have operating in order to achieve the 6 Desired Organizational Characteristics of effective organizations. Where your assessment indicates one or more of these are not working in your organization, we'll feed back suggestions as to the underlying Leadership Practices that might not be working.

Take our fr*ee Holonomic Top Down Assessment to see what underlying practices might be at fault and causing problem symptoms in your family business .

Diagnosing from the other direction - Bottom-Up - we ask you to identify which of 29 Leadership Practices aren't present or working. From that, we point you to Enabling Processes and thus Desired Characteristics that probably aren't functioning.

Take our fr*ee assessment on the 29 Leadership Practices to see how they affect your family business.



Whether to contribute, challenge (or hopefully even praise) our newsletter, I encourage you to contact me directly Don, or our editor David.

Enjoy, and here's wishing you, your family, your clients... much success!

Don Schwerzler, Managing Director
Family Business Experts



2. Business first family...Family first business:

Fuzzy Agreements - Made and Accepted
The Scourge Of Family Businesses

One of the more popular features of our web site is the ASK THE EXPERT form located on most pages of our web site. It is a complimentary service we offer - where visitors to our web site can pose a question or a problem to our family business triage expert and our multi-disciplinary team.

A few months ago, a visitor to our web site used the ASK THE EXPERT feature to seek some guidance regarding his family's business. We exchanged e-mails and the story started to unfold. Michael was involved in a family business with his dad, Paul. Michael and Paul worked hard to build a successful business together and throughout the years they had always maintained a great relationship - both in the family and in the business.

As the father started preparing to retire and turn the business over to the son, the wonderful relationship between father and son started to deteriorate. Many of the plans they had made were casual conversations - mutual understandings that now seemed to be in an extreme state of flux because, as the old cliché goes, the devil is in the details.

The plans made over the years always seemed simple and straight forward - but now Paul was attaching "strings" to the succession plans and these "strings" were mission stoppers as far as Michael was concerned.

For instance, Michael was the only child ever involved in the family's business and the business was supposed to be his when the Paul retired. Now however, Paul was thinking about gifting some ownership in the company to his two daughters.

The parents were moving to a retirement community in another state and were thinking that the office administration for the business could be moved as well - leaving the son in charge of operations.

While there were other strings too - I don't want to belabor the point - but you get the picture.

Anyone ever involved in a family business knows about these kinds of situations - they abound. "Fuzzy agreements" have wrecked many family relationships and destroyed many family businesses.

Having served as a Succession Manager for almost 40 years, these kinds of stories are not new to me - the problem is that they are the rule, not the exception to the rule.

What we generally find when we start working with a family business is that our client family's communication system is a "mix of confidence and fear of failure, love and selfishness, science and art, guesswork and facts, gut instinct and cold-blooded calculation".

While to some it may seem like a hopeless situation, there are things family businesses can do to improve their communication system!

One key strategy we find to be very successful is to formalize the communication system for the family. We often talk about developing a more formalized or professional management system. The reason being is that this is the most effective strategy a family can engage to grow a family business faster and to do a better job of maximizing the true potential of the family's business. Developing a more formal communication system for the family makes equal sense and is just as important - especially as part of the succession management process.

The first step to formalize the family's communication system is to conduct regular family meetings where family issues and business issues can be discussed - and dispatched. You don't have to agree on everything to work together. Almost always, issues left unaddressed will fester like an open wound until they do get handled. What is sad is that so many of these dramatic episodes are unimportant, petty issues - simply blown out of proportion.

It is a good idea to have a family business expert facilitate these family meetings, to help create the agenda, to help set the rules and to make sure the meetings are not derailed by petty disputes between or amongst family members.

If your family business is plagued by "fuzzy agreements", made and accepted", contact us - we can help!



Our Tips and Recommendations

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Define project phases. Clarify your goals. Anticipate obstacles. Establish tasks. Delegate assignments. Set due dates. Check off tasks when they're done. Bump dates. And much, much more!

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3. Legacy through Leadership

There are 29 Leadership Practices [LP] that are really the foundation upon which 12 holonomic or enabling processes[HP] are built, and which, in turn, produce 6 desired organizational characteristics [DOC]. We'll look at each in this section.

LP09. Ensuring Consistency of Organizational Rewards

Ensuring consistency of organizational rewards is the administrative process that enables the organization to professionally manage its organizational-level rewards systems, so that they apply to all Associates and are updated as conditions in the environments change. The process supports and is consistent with the organizational architecture. Dr. Ken Mackenzie is our internationally-recognized organizational expert. These leadership tips are discussed in detail in The Practitioner's Guide for Organizing Organizations.

Would you like to see how the 29 Leadership Practices are affecting your family business? Our assessment only takes a few minutes to complete!

Take our fr*ee assessment on the 29 Leadership Practices...



4. Around the Family Business Experts web sites

Search the entire content site
in two different ways

1. A search engine powered by ATOMZ has indexed all the pages on the site and will link you to those relating to any search term you enter.

2. A 'Table of contents' listing that will link you directly to any page / article you select. Use the Site Map Navigation Button from any major page on the site.


Background information, testimonials to our service and understanding, and answers to FAQ's [Frequently Asked Questions]. Family Business Experts

There are many articles accessible from this page on the left side navigation bar.

FamilyLore Game is an exciting game for the whole family.

Preparing a mission statement is challenging work....

Take our fr*ee assessment on the 29 Leadership Practices to see how they affect your family business.

Take our fr*ee Holonomic Top Down Assessment to see what underlying practices might be at fault and causing problem symptoms in your family business .



And remember about our convenient new online billing with 100% assurance! Another step in our process of starting online business. Secure online payment

© 2000-2004. Family Business Institute, Inc.
1213 Laurel Cliff Drive, Smyrna GA 30082
voice 770-952-4085 fax 770-432-6660

Contact Don Schwerzler

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