In this issue
“I come before the committee today representing my family and the nearly 13.5 million other family businesses in the United States. I am also here on behalf of our employees, who represent a few of the nearly 20 million family business, private sector jobs created during the 1980s.
How well are you laying the groundwork for management succession? The following self-test should help you identify strengths and weaknesses. For each question, check the one statement that best describes your status. After you do so, consider where you stand on each item by consulting the comments in “What your answers tell you.” Then, chart your answers on the scorecard at the end to help you formulate a strategy for tackling the most neglected areas. (If you are really daring, have all family business stakeholders take the test. Hold a meeting to compare answers.)
Big business is perceived as the primary commercial supporter of the arts in the United States. However, more and more small and medium-sized companies—many of them family owned—are developing innovative strategies that not only serve the arts but improve a company's visibility in the community and build customer loyalty.
Family business owners should never forget that their responsibility reaches well outside the family. It includes employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where the business operates. This perspective helps clarify why a board can be crucial to the firm.
A board can undertake several meaningful roles. It can support the strategy-making process, assist with the succession process, and motivate the use of discipline and self-discipline among family members. Each of these activities can impact greatly the long-term success of the company.