Learning To Let Go of the Family Business

“At some point you have to stop

chasing your legacy”

On the way into work today I was listening to sports radio and they were debating whether David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox was going to proceed with his planned retirement at the end of this season, or change his mind and retire later. He is having a great start to his final season and this has some speculating whether he might play longer. Sports athletes are notorious for staying on too long and chasing their legacies. How many times have you seen an athlete hurt their legacy by playing too long and being remembered for their sub-par play at the end of their career, rather than getting out at the top. Think: Brett Favre. It had me thinking this is a similar dilemma family business owners are faced with when they reach their senior years.

There is no retirement age in a family business.

The senior generation can stay on as long as they want. Often beyond their shelf-life. There are many reasons for wanting to stay on longer than they should; succession concerns, fear of retirement, personal finances, to name just a few. More…

How Not to be the Next Family Business Scandal

Admit it. Don’t you enjoy reading about family business scandals?

It makes your family business seem more normal. You’re not alone. The most popular category of articles on Fambiz are about conflicts and family scandals.

Virtually every family business scandal originates from some form of conflict; sibling rivalry, compensation, favoritism.

In our family business conflict didn’t exist between family members. We were fortunate. Where conflict did come into play was when the company began to grow rapidly and we began to professionalize the business. This brought up contentious issues like how fast to grow, hiring non-family talent, changes in roles and corporate culture. The difference was these issues were business-related and weren’t personal.

Conflict is usually dormant in the early years of a family business, but often gets uncovered when a business is getting ready to transfer to the next generation. More…