Dealing with the Founder’s Dream: The Key to Bridging Generational Change in Family Companies

Dealing with the Founder’s Dream:Northeastern University
The Key to Bridging Generational Change
in Family Companies

Family Business Quarterly
by Jacques Leger

You don’t have to be a management guru to know that fast-paced change is an inescapable component of doing business today. The challenge for family businesses is dealing effectively with change as the business shifts from one generation to the next.

How can the second or third generations engage the founding generations in a process of change? With great difficulty in too many situation. The most severely limiting factor is often in the dreams of the new generation.

The business foundation. Consider the process of starting and building a successful family business. The launch begins with the entrepreneur’s dreams. The business evolves as a combination of the entrepreneur’s taste for risk early on, and the dreams of a brighter future for generations to come. Those dreams are reflected in the culture, the values, and the operating philosophy of the family-owned business.

Unfortunately, this business foundation often forms a solid core around which many business issues are seen as undiscussable. The problem is that the realization of the entrepreneur’s dreams, while at the center of pride of ownership, is often the key cause of intergenerational conflict in family businesses. As many of the dreams become realized, the taste for risk may dissipate, with the result that the appetite for change from the original success formula may wane. More…

Managing a Family Business Disaster

Managing a Family Business Disaster

by Richard L. Narva
Principal Consultant, Genus Resources, Inc.

What happens when two brothers who are the owners, directors and the CEO’s of a business are suddenly in a plane crash?What happens to their employees and their customers, to their community, and the network of people who depend on their company?What happens to a family business that loses its leadership, its heart and soul, and its owners in the blink of an eye?

What do you do when there is no one to sign the payroll check due to be issued in 48 hours and there is no board of directors to authorize anyone new to sign? Who helps the employees who have decades long personal relationships with the deceased owner/managers to manage their grief?Who supports the surviving key managers as they strive to manage the company and their own grief simultaneously?There is no end to the questions. More…