Dynamic Tension: Or, You’re Standing on My Foot!

Dynamic Tension: UMass
Or, You’re Standing on My Foot!

by Ira Bryck
Director, UMass Family Business Center

The term “dynamic tension” was first developed by early exercise fanatic Jack La Lane, describing how muscles meet resistance with his particular fitness equipment.Rock historians later borrowed the phrase to discuss the partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney; dynamic tension between them was the factor, aside from musical skill, that empowered their success as a team.The catalytic reaction of their different energies and personality styles, that one would imagine could only result in bickering and failure, created a product impossible to predict.But the notion that one works best with a conflict free colleague/clone, is to ignore how the world works to produce something bigger than the sum of the parts.

This is significant in light of the research that highlights that some two thirds of family owned businesses that will be transitioning power to thenext generation (some say half of all family companies within the next decade)–either a parent to children or siblings to cousins–will seriously consider a shared leadership form of governance.We live in a culture that values egalitarian rule–our president is no king, today’s model parent is more coach/mentor than ironclad royalty–it is no wonder that the assumption that a business requires a single leader is being questioned among siblings and cousins in business. More…

Succession Planning

Succession Planning

by Adriane B. Miller

Small, closely-held companies must confront this thorny issue.

John R. Beever doesn’t know how his business would function if he fell out of an airplane today–but he’s prodding his family and key managers to discuss it.

Mr. Beever, 59, runs family-owned John Dittmar & Sons, Inc., a Baltimore custom woodwork manufacturer that his great-grandfather started in 1876.

But discussing the future raises difficult questions. Mr. Beever’s two sons, Geoffrey and John C. are in their 30s and vice presidents of the firm. Both are enthusiastic about the business, both are bright. Both want to succeed their father. More…