Saturday, November 27, 2010

Can a Business Family use Social Networking

Social Networking – a term that sent shudders up my spine.

Thoughts of random tweets about lunch specials; unwanted romance details, or worse – stupid comments on the day’s hot topics or mindless meanderings. Networks like Facebook where young college students make stupid political comments and posting of pictures that will haunt them in their employment careers; or long-lost friends who found me (except I wish they would have stayed “lost”). Sure, there are good things about these social networks – I do get to see pictures of friends who live far away and catch up on their lives. I can find out about my high school reunion, what the flavor of the day is at my local Rita’s Water Ice, and whatever else I want to know about my favorite store or tv program. But is social networking really for me?

Well – maybe there is a way to use social networking to my advantage. As with any invention or technology, there are good uses and misuses. I’ve already given several examples above of “good” uses in my personal life.

But what about in my professional life?

Bill Roberts, in an article for HR Magazine entitled ‘Developing A Social Business Network’, has identified several major organizations whose HR Departments are effectively using Social Networking. By setting up their own networking sites, they are able to communicate new initiatives in the company, allow employees in different geographical locations to “connect, communicate and collaborate”. This internal opportunity to connect, benefit both the employees and the company.

So how could social networking help a family business?

By connecting with other family businesses from around the world, families can discuss issues that are important to them and subsequently benefit from the collective knowledge of Business Families. Business Families can share with other Business Families how they navigated turbulent issues. The issues you face in your family business are probably similar to issues faced by many other families in businesses. Networking with other Businesses Families may provide answers and insights to your questions and issues.

Why not give it a try?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Establishing Core Values in the Family Business

The seminar conducted by Amy Schuman of the Family Business Consulting Group on Establishing Core Values in the Family Business provided our membership with many new insights. Though many times Business Families think Values are a soft activity, Amy stated many times families find this some of the hardest work. Quoting Jack Welch, “soft values deliver hard results”.

The results of Business Families understanding their values can be seen in the performance of individuals, performance of the business, and in personal satisfaction. As Business Families grow and expand from the Founder to Siblings to Cousins and as personal values may begin to diverge it is important to respect the differences and find the sameness to continue stewarding the business. By exploring and comparing the Value statements of several large well-known family owned businesses such as Enterprise Car Rental, S.C. Johnson Company, and The Biltmore Estate Company we were able to see how family values influence the business values. This is not to just copy what another family has discerned but rather to gain understanding.

This seminar was packed full of challenges for Business Families.

Three key take-aways for the participants were:

1. Begin the discussions to discern what the values are that motivate, guide, and impact your family and business. Every Business Family has values, you need to discern them to understand them.

2. WRITE THEM DOWN. The final version will not occur in the first setting and will most likely be an iterative process that will also include word-smithing.

3. Following the old adage “What gets measured, gets done”, develop an audit or measurement to determine if you, your family, and your business are living and practicing your values.

This very thought provoking seminar forced Business Families to look deep inside their own famlies to begin asking the difficult questions.

The seminar can be viewed by members of The Network of Family Businesses in the archive section of the website.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Collaborative Partnership Formed to Better Serve Business Families

I have known Mike McGrann, Executive Director of the S. Dale High Center for Family Business for many years and have had the privilege of working with him in service to several business families. As a visionary and educator, Mike is committed to serving family-owned businesses and I am extremely pleased to be able to serve his membership with this collaborative partnership.

The mission of The Center for Family Business is to serve and strengthen families in business through succession planning, family leadership training and legacy building. In 1995, a group of business people, family business owners, and representatives of Elizabethtown College, came together to fill a recognized need. The S. Dale High Center for Family Business has always been dedicated to bringing the best available resources to families in businesses for south central Pennsylvania and beyond. Today, the S. Dale High Center for Family Business is proud to be one of the largest and oldest centers in the country.

The Network of Family Businesses continues to grow with the collaboration of The S. Dale High Center for Family Business. All members of The S. Dale High Center for Family Business will have full membership and access to the on-line educational seminars, opportunity to dialogue on-line with other families in business, and access to the growing archive of information and articles through The Network of Family Businesses.

This is an exciting step in continuing to provide a growing network of business families access to educational resources as they strive to build their family legacy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Establishing Core Values in the Family Business - How Business Families Can Pass On The Shared Values

The Network of Family Businesses has scheduled an on-line educational seminar with Amy Schuman, Principal, Family Business Consulting Group on Establishing Core Values in the Family Business. The on-line seminar is scheduled for Thursday, November 18th at 11:00 AM EST.

In a White Paper found at Schuman states many family business case histories demonstrate that the strongest governance systems, clearest policies and procedures, and most logical, well-documented roles will collapse if they don't rest on a foundation of shared values. Many families struggle with discerning and documenting their shared values. Families may have a list but may find that list to be a very generic statement that doesn't do a good job of reflecting their unique characteristic as a family and business.

Amy Schuman, a principal of the Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. works with family businesses on leadership development, communication skills and team building. Her experience is centered on helping family members collaboratively create systems, structures and relationships to help them function as effective stewards of their enterprise.

The Network of Family Businesses is an Exclusive Private Network with a growing community of families that have a desire to keep their finger on the pulse of industry trends while building their family legacy. Our network will support you and your family in that journey with our Elite Network of International Renowned Experts, Innovative on-line Educational Seminars, Information Hub of Relevant Articles, and most importantly Connections with Family Businesses from around the world.

Registration for the On-Line Educational Seminar is available at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Juxtaposed Quotes

Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get

Ray Kroc


Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.

W. Edwards Deming

Is repeat business just luck?