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…

Succession Planning at Erving Industries

The Changing of the GuardNortheastern University

Family Business Quarterly

Northeastern University Center for Family Business

Charley Housen succeeded his father as head of Erving Industries and created one of the nations largest privately owned paper-processing companies. His son, Morris, is very bright, passionate and energetic. But Morris and Charley have very different styles. And those styles arent always compatible. Charley would like to see Morris at the office by 8:00 AM in a shirt and tie. Morris says his father doesnt see him at 1:00 AM working in his shorts in his home office. As a follow up to two previous presentations to the Center, Charley and Morris share the latest chapter in their work together.

Ego conflicts, loyalty issues and differences in strategy and vision. These are just some of the succession issues that Charley and Morris Housen have struggled through, yet they still managed to avoid family conflict. They accomplish this by effectively separating their business and personal feelings. More…