In this issue
In the 1980s, changes in the construction industry and overexpansion threatened Kansas City-based U.S. Engineering Company with financial collapse. Henry “Skip” Nottberg, fourth-generation owner of the company started by his German émigré great grandfather, brought the company back from the brink after years of negotiations and, amazingly, began rebuilding. Then, two years ago, just when the repositioned company was moving forward again, Nottberg was diagnosed with cancer.
When you think about servicing customers, you should consider that consumers shop fewer stores today. Because of increasing time constraints, by the year 2000, Americans making a major purchase will probably visit only 1.3 stores.
Many family businesses in recent years have recognized the value of having some sort of deliberative peer body to provide advice and guidance to management. In some companies that body takes the form of a legal board of directors with a majority of independent outsiders chosen for their business experience and expertise. Other companies, aware of what appears to be a surge in litigation against corporate directors in recent years, have preferred to set up an advisory board of experienced outsiders.
Didier Anzieu, a psychoanalyst and management consultant, was wrestling with a knotty question: What recommendations should he give to Bernard Lambert, president of the Dunor Corp.? Lambert had recently asked Anzieu to visit the company and advise him about two problems: how to stop a war going on in the executive committee, and how to let go of a family executive who had been promised a permanent position in the company.