What Were the Results of My Request for Information?

Business Leader Post, May 1, 2013

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

Thank you to those of you who responded to my request for issues that you felt families were wrestling with in the context of their family businesses. The results were a surprising on two counts: First, many more people responded than I would have anticipated; and secondly, there were no major themes.

Succession came up, of course, but the list of other issues was extensive and very specific. Some examples: shareholders—i.e. families where some members worked in the business and some did not; the difference between the two generations in their use of technology as a means of communication; healing past wounds; feelings of favoritism; the absence of a formal process for business valuation; different levels of competency among family members; dependency and anger; impact of inheritance tax on succession planning; lack of accountability for family members in wealthy families. And there are more.

The specificity of these issues suggests that both families and professionals who serve those families responded to my request with the specific issues that they themselves were encountering. The issues listed can all be addressed and solved, but I suspect that people do not know where to go to address them. If you choose to, you can use this blog to ask me questions about whatever is going on; and I would be glad to point you in the right direction.