November/December 2017

In this issue

  • How to develop a diverse board and select the right chairman


    Our natural tendency is to surround ourselves with people whose backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints are similar to ours. But in order to achieve the true power of a board of directors, you must take a different approach when considering director candidates.

    Planning a family education program: Consider goals, logistics and content

    If you hope to maintain business ownership and wealth across multiple generations of your family, you’d be wise to develop a strong family education program. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” template for a family to follow in designing and launching an educational program, there are common content and logistical decisions families need to work through. The following topics are a good starting point for addressing your family’s particular needs.

    Protecting your family enterprise from the scourge of 'transition shock'

    CNBC analyst Jim Cramer raised some eyebrows recently when he stated on his show, Mad Money, that Walmart was going toe-to-toe with Amazon; Walmart isn’t generally seen as a rising powerhouse in e-commerce. But this comment by Cramer about Walmart CEO Doug McMillon drew even more of my attention: “As long as he’s got the backing of the family, he can afford to take some short-term hits in order to grow the company’s e-commerce presence. That’s a real rarity in this game.”

    Dueling Perspectives: The advantages of an independent board


    The board of directors of Samaritan Medical Center was honored as “Private Company Board of the Year” in its revenue category (less than $100 million) at the 2017 Private Company Governance Summit. Samaritan’s board was cited for its adoption of many public company best practices.

    Moving into the future


    Stevens Brothers Cartage and Storage was founded in 1905 in Saginaw, Mich., to haul steamer trunks using horse-drawn drays. Today The Stevens Group, still based in Saginaw, is a full-service moving company run by the fourth and fifth generations. Its longevity is a testament to the Stevens family’s focus on education and governance—and ongoing succession planning.

  • The strategic way to do your planning

    Family businesses face extra challenges when it comes to strategic planning because they must address family as well as business issues. Too many family firms schedule multiple planning meetings and still end up with a failed plan, because they didn’t approach the process properly. Before you prepare a PowerPoint deck to show your planning team, consider the following questions:

  • Risky business down on the farm


    Risk taking has paid off handsomely for McCarty Family Farms in Colby, Kan. In the last few years the McCarty family has become known for its partnership with Dannon, the global yogurt brand—quite an accomplishment in the dairy farm industry.

  • Business Mindset Helps Omaha Steaks Meet Challenges

    By Dave Donelson

    Bruce Simon, the fifth-generation CEO of Omaha Steaks, has a theory to explain why the direct marketer of beef and other foods survived to mark its centennial this year. “The sign of a successful family business is not to let the family part affect the operations of the business,” he says.


past issues you might be interested in