Shared Vision

by Leslie Dashew

In my many years of specializing in work with family businesses and families of wealth, I have found that the single most important indicator of success for these families is a shared vision. When a family shares a clearly articulated picture of the future, they have the foundation for making decisions about the use of resources, for selecting members to carry out responsibilities and for creating guidelines on how the family will function.

When members of a family understand that they are all trying to achieve the same objectives and they recognize their interdependence, they take better care of their relationships. This process is especially important for families who share ownership of active or passive assets and/or when overall leadership is shared by more than one person. More…

A Family Of Entrepreneurs

by Tom Kurtz

Growing up in a family business was surely a unique experience. I am certain that the simple observation of watching my parents and older siblings respond to the challenges of the business with dedication and perseverance helped to shape my values and work ethic.

As our family topsoil business was growing, I clearly remember my mom, Dolores, our first sales and marketing person (although she didn’t know it at the time, she thought it was about survival), stirring something on the stove while she was explaining to an individual that six cubic yards of topsoil would spread 1,000 square feet, two inches thick.

During the soil season (the end of March through November), my dad, Mel, was always gone before I got up and would come home late at night covered with dirt and dust. My folks didn’t have much time to watch me play little league baseball and things such as that, but I didn’t know any kid, outside of my family, who learned how to drive a truck at age eight. By the fifth grade, I was helping my dad after school and summers working at the topsoil field. It was at this point that I knew I was hooked, and that the family business was right for me. More…