In this issue
Developing a family council checks a lot of boxes for a growing multigenerational family business. A family council provides a mechanism to engage and educate family members in a setting that includes positive social bonding time. Councils are a mechanism to define and address the “business of the family,” reduce conflict and promote positive social experiences associated with the business. They also encourage family interaction across branches and generations.
In order to sustain your family business for multiple generations, you need NextGen members who are prepared to serve as responsible stewards. This extends beyond the financial aspects of ownership and governance. Young people in successor generations must also learn to manage relationships among a diverse and growing group of family shareholders.
The WM Fares Group of Halifax, N.S., began planning for generational transition when the three second-generation siblings began asking questions about how decisions would be made in the future.
Wadih Fares, the 62-year-old patriarch and founder of the property development company, has the last word on business decisions. But in 2012, his children began to wonder how the process would work when he was no longer at the helm.
It’s fair to say Lodge Manufacturing has kept the small town of South Pittsburg, Tenn., going since 1896, the year Joseph Lodge opened his first foundry. The company, known for its cast iron products, is one of America’s oldest continually operating makers of cookware.
The Business: As a high school student in Reno, Nev., Don Jensen worked part-time pouring and selling concrete parking curbs. In 1967, he went to work for a friend of his father’s who owned a business called Washoe Septic Tank Service, an excavating contractor that manufactured, installed and pumped septic tanks. The owner offered to sell Don the precast and pumping portion of the business. On Feb. 14, 1968, the sale was completed.
The sustainability of a family business often depends on diversification. Times change, markets change, technology changes — sometimes it feels as though everything changes regularly.
William F. Peel and Barbara K. Peel founded Red Coats Inc., a janitorial services firm, in the 1960s. Today, the diversified family enterprise is known as the Red Coats Family of Companies.
Would a 21-year-old family member who is an MBA student benefit from attending a board of directors meeting as an observer? Would the NextGen’s presence in the boardroom be disruptive?
I assume this question comes from an elder family leader who presumably serves on the board. I would like to strongly suggest that any concerns be put aside.