Getting the Next Generation Ready to Run the Family Business

 by Dr. Patricia A. Frishkoff
Past Director, Austin Family Business Program, Oregon State University

You’ve built a successful business – let’s say it’s a nursery – and you hope to pass it on to the next generation.But you’ve seen succession fail, down the road and across town. So you wonder – why does the transition work in some family businesses, and not in others?As with nursery stock, success grows on strong roots.

Passion.Does the next generation perceive and understand the passion of the senior generation?

We used to visit businesses on our vacation trips when I was a child.That was due partly to our family farm: my Dad and Grandpa knew a lot of people, plus we really couldn’t afford to pay admission to amusement parks. I loved those visits.It was partly about the interesting work that the people did.But, it was more about the performance that the owner gave as he (sometimes she) showed us around.For the eyes, gestures and voices of those owners exuded passion – deep love for the business and their work.  More…

What Is the Toughest Case That You Ever Had?

What Is the Toughest Case
That You Ever Had?

Understanding the Family Business
May, 1997

by Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.
Genus Resources, Inc.

The toughest cases are the ones that are the most heart wrenching. The toughest case that I ever had was a situation in which a very talented member of the younger generation had an addiction problem. His parents had continued to “rescue” him each time he got himself into difficulty.There was no ostensible reason for this young man to have a problem.The parents were loving, involved, thoughtful and supportive people.

The family shared the problem with me early in the assessment stage of our engagement.Although the family member with the problem acknowledged that he had a problem, he was incapable of taking responsibility for his behavior.He suggested that his problem stemmed from his father’s emotional unavailability to him as a youngster and that his father treated his brother with favoritism. More…