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How is your family structure?

Family businesses provide a feeling of togetherness; however, differences in opinion can wreak havoc on relationships. Is there a possibility for structures that can help prevent a breakdown in family relationships? We have been discussing strategies for separating the company from the family.

  1. Treat the company as a company & the family as a family.
  2. Establish conflict resolution mechanisms.
  3. Have structures in place.

Since various sensitive issues arise in a family business, it is advisable to have governance and management structures for almost everything.  

On the business side, it is essential to have a Board of Directors and a Steering Committee. On the family side, it is advisable to provide tools such as a Family Constitution and create governing structures such as a Family Council, a Family Assembly, and a Family Office.

Having these structures in place clarifies the scope of everyone’s roles and responsibilities in improving the business’s governance and family cohesion.

I am here to help you and your family develop these structures to help prevent conflict and maintain family harmony. I should be part of your process part for conflict prevention.

Ready to get started?  Reach out to me; I can help.

I can help you resolve family business conflicts

I have been sharing posts on various social media on the tragic outcomes resulting from conflict in some of the world’s most famous family businesses. What about the flip side? What do successful families do to minimize conflicts?

While those stories are nowhere near as entertaining to read, we can learn from some of their strategies. 

Here are a few for your consideration:

  1. Establish the family rules. These successful families build and agree on a set of rules which address key ownership issues.
  2. Decouple family issues from business issues. Families that separate the ownership issues from management issues and balance their relationship as family members and their contractual relationship as business owners have a more viable family business.
  3. Establish a family council. The family council becomes a forum that allows family owners to be actively engaged in the debate surrounding ownership and family issues – the emphasis here is that all family members can participate, regardless of whether they are actively involved in the management of the business.

Most families are facing conflict with no mechanism for dealing with disputes between family members.

I should be part of your process part of your conflict resolution framework.  Ready to start addressing conflict in your family business? 

Reach out to me; I can help.

Merry Christmas to all!

In today’s world where we are surrounded by ugly news, I thought it was time to share a little humour. I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading my email.

Mr. Smith loved his daughter very much, so when she got married he gave his son-in-law Isaac a 50% interest in the family business.
“Isaac, what you’ll do is go to the factory for a few months and learn the business and work your way up.”
“No, I don’t think so,” said Isaac. “Factories are too noisy for me and I really don’t like dealing with those blue collar people who work in them.”
“Okay then,” Mr. Smith replied, “you’ll work in the office until you know everything.  My accountant for 35 years will help you and then you’ll be in charge of the office.”
“I really don’t see myself as an office person. I can’t imagine myself spending the whole day behind a desk.  It’s really not a job for me.”
“Okay, I understand.  Then you’ll join the sales department and you will take care of the most important customers.  All travel expenses are paid for, of course.”
“I hate airplanes and hotel rooms are very uncomfortable. Sorry, not for me.”
“What do you mean!!!???”, exploded Mr. Smith. “I give you a 50% interest in a well established and profitable business and nothing is good enough for you?!  What I am I going to do with you?”
“Buy me out!” responded Isaac.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.
Create great memories this season surrounded by your family! 

To you and your family’s health, wealth & happiness!

Stay safe, 
The “Why” Guy

Working on Ourselves in a Family Business

The ideas of how we will take a little bit of time during this pandemic (to stay healthy first) to work on ourselves has taken so many unexpected twists and turns over the last 7 months.  Some of us have chosen to read more books, start to exercise a bit, eat healthier or on the flip side,  watch way more television than we would like to admit.

Those in the Family Business world whom I speak with often, have had a similar approach but with the addition of how we can help each other and our clients.

Well, how did I do?

The “to be read” book pile is slightly lower, I have seen every show/series that TV has ever made, managed to drop about 20 pounds, still safely visited some clients in person, and have repeatedly thrown my hands up in the air saying, “I give up” to the virus that has changed the way we do just about everything.

There, I have shared and ranted at the same time and it feels better.

In Family Businesses we have the same frustrations, but feel like we don’t have someone we can talk to about all the issues that arise.  Someone who understands the challenges you are facing in both worlds,  your business/economic world and your family relationships world.

I understand the impact of this once in a lifetime pandemic is having on your family and your family business.  I want to talk to you about it and do whatever I can within my power to help you come out the end of this as a better family and a better business. 

Maybe this is the time to plan for the long term succession of your family business?

If you find yourself feeling defeated and frustrated, please reach out as I would love to try and help. Do not feel like you are alone with these trepidations.  

Our phone call will NOT COST YOU A PENNY!  I want to help, I want to learn more and this phone call will be mutually beneficial, I promise.

I know I have shared this quote before (I think it was Brad Sugars of Action Coach) and he said, “the comeback needs to be bigger than the setback.”

Most of us have had our fair share of setbacks so lets link arms and mount a massive comeback.  Call me and let’s explore some great opportunities for success.

Happy Thanksgiving!

COVID Conflict

The title says it all. 

I often find myself in conversations regarding the pandemic and how it is affecting each person so differently. 

First and most importantly, it is about staying safe and healthy with your loved ones.  We tend to first talk about the impact on mental health for kids out of school and the lack of social interaction for many of us, but there is also a higher level of conflict brewing.  This conflict is especially rising for those in the space I work in, The Family Business.

Many of us (me included) sat back in March and said, “Let’s wait and see if this blows over in the next few weeks”.  Well, 6 months later we are still in it and there seems to be no indication of this novel coronavirus ending in the near future. 

What happens with those families who work together?
The matriarch and patriarch could be at increased risk due to their age or compromised immunities. The next generation may have kids at home who they want to protect.  The employees have many of their own issues to manage during these times. I could go on and on and would never cover the every scenario. 

What is happening with the business during all of this?
We had stages of lockdowns that denied many businesses from operating in any capacity.  When they could open, who was going in to run things?  How do we operate with half of our staff? With the CERB, some businesses are having trouble getting some of their staff to consider the health risk for similar or even less money just to come back to work.

These are some of the discussions that I have had with both existing clients, and potential clients.  The family unit that works together is struggling.  The struggles are around all of the points made above and then some. 

The communication is terribly negative, and often judgemental, simply based on individual decisions amongst family members who work together trying to decide what their next steps should be. Tensions are heightened due to the inherent stresses associated with living in a worldwide pandemic.  The stresses inevitably carry over into the Family Business as well.

As with most conflicts, the most effective way to address them is to use a collaborative approach.  Let me help you have that facilitated discussion and hear all the sides.  Let everyone put their concerns out in the open and we can take the next steps together.  Let’s chat!

The Summer of 2020

I have been getting a lot of emails from many of my contacts that touch upon “returning to work” or “emerging from a pandemic” with all kinds of buzz words like, “corporate recovery”, “pandemic growth”, etc.

I will admit, I took off that first couple of weeks in March to see “what this thing” is all about.  It is serious, nasty, and has affected so many people.  People like me, who work with others mostly in-person quickly learned to adapt to the technological world of  Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams with minimal hiccups along the way.

Just getting out (safely) and being in the real world for a short period of time, is reason alone to put a smile on my face.  As a family, we are spending our funds in our own community to support the independent businesses whose names I remember seeing on my kid’s soccer jerseys growing up.  Of course, this also includes take-out meals from our favorite local restaurants whose owners we have come to know, like, and respect.  I always feel like this virus is just over my shoulder and that keeps me focused on continuously being safe.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you because most businesses that are not producing face masks and other PPE, are trying to navigate through their next steps.  In many cases, it will be business as usual with some altered interactions.  For some businesses, it is a chance to plan out things on a deeper level, for the long term.  For others, there are some very real struggles. 

Family Businesses have been at the forefront of every economy for centuries. Yes, centuries.
The statistics are all over the place, but the one that resonated with me the most is that 80% of all businesses (worldwide) are considered a Family Business.  YES – 80%!!

It is that family business that sponsored your son or daughter’s fundraiser in school.  That family business is also the same one who you may have grown up shopping at around the corner.

I support Family Businesses in two ways.  Firstly, they are always my first stop to shop and spend my dollars. Secondly, my chosen career is to help, guide, and nurture Family Businesses to greater successes as both a Family and a Family Business.

There is no shame in struggling these days.  We all struggle in one way or another. I am here and would love to have that conversation to help get you “unstuck” by assisting you to prepare for the greater times ahead.  Please call me!There is no cost for that call!!

Let’s make the Summer of 2020 be the best one ever!

Brad Sugars of Action Coach made a great statement which is posted in my office:


This is not only my goal for my own business, but for yours as well.

Transitions Group