Monday, December 26, 2011

A Holiday Family Tradition


Many families have a tradition they follow around the holidays and it is often nice to share those traditions or to learn of traditions other families have.

A tradition for our family, started by Kathryn my mother-in-law, centered around the red table cloth at our Christmas dinner. When the meal was complete and the table cleared, everyone would trace their hand and sign their name. Abe, my father-in-law would include the year with his name. During the course of the following year Kathryn would embroider each hand and name, using a different color of embroidery thread each year.

So now each year we can look at those hands that were present at each meal and fondly remember the events of that particular season. Throughout the years we had many international guests visiting with us during the holiday and as we look at their hand it provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our friends and family around the world.

Now our daughter-in-law is continuing our family’s holiday tradition.

We would love to have you share a holiday tradition your family enjoys. Respond below or Log into The Network of Family Businesses, go to Forums in the Main Menu on the left and click on Share Holiday Traditions of your Family.

Enjoy learning of the traditions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Wishes To All






As we approach this Christmas season it is my wish that you and your family have a very Blessed Christmas and Holiday Season.

I approach this Christmas with a new sense of awe and amazement. As I watch my granddaughter’s curiosity and amazement at all the lights and glitter and excitement, as I watch our second grandchild not really sure what all the fuss is about, I am reminded to remember to approach this season with that same sense of childlike wonderment and awe.

Recognizing that this season can bring peace to families where there had been strife, joy to families where there had been trials and hope to families where there had been hopelessness.

May your family realize the love of this season and continue through next year.

God Bless and have a wonderful New Year.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Family Business Check-Up


The Family Business Check-Up Continued: Customer Focus

Family owned Businesses, of any age or generation, need to take routine assessment of the health of their business, family, and individuals in the business. To get a clear true understanding, the assessment should consider, separately and in combination, all the factors that enhance the health of the Business Family. Critical areas that should be evaluated include: Leadership; Values; Change; Goal Orientation; Empowerment; Communications; Team Work; Interpersonal Relationships; Familiness; Customer Focus; and Individual Recognition.

The best way to find out what is actually going on in the family and business is to ask those in the family and in the business. Earlier ‘Check-Up’s examined Familiness, Family Values, and Communication. This Family Business Check-up examines Customer Focus.

All businesses must support a basic orientation to meet the needs of the customer or

client in order for the family business to maintain its’ existence. This dimension considers

the extent to which family members collectively identify with meeting the needs of those

customers and clients.


Each Family Member should address the following statements:

1. Our family’s highest priority is servicing the needs of our clients and customers.

2. Those who serve our customers and clients according to company expectations are rewarded.

3. We resolve customer and client issues to their satisfaction.

4. Client and customer suggestions rarely lead to change.

5. Input from our clients and customers is influential in our decision making process.

How would your family, employees, and customers, clients, or vendors, answer these questions about Customer Focus by your family and your family business?

We will continue to explore critical areas for the annual check-up of Family Owned Business in later posts.

What are your thoughts regarding the Business Family Check-Up?

When was the last time your Family Business had a check-up?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Enhancing Motivation Through the Stages of Change in the Family Business

It has been said the only constant in today’s environment is change. This theme of constant change is often attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus and is as applicable today as the day Heraclitus coined the phrase. In order to navigate that environment of change and lead your family and your family business, it is imperative to understand the constant change. How do you recognize the change that is occurring? How should we interpret the change? How should we communicate the change? And how do we lead our family and business through the changes?

Many people have a difficult time dealing with change and often do not have an understanding of the traits of change, the stages of change, or the propensity to deal with change. Understanding and developing knowledge, skills and abilities that will help your family and family business during change will help your family and family business flourish. In a White Paper found at www.netfamilybusiness.com Melissa outlines the Stages, Specific Principles, and Motivational Elements for Families and Family Businesses in a state of Change.

The Network of Family Businesses has scheduled a virtual educational seminar with Melissa

Mitchell-Blitch to discuss Enhancing Motivation Through the Stages of Change in the Family Business. The seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, December 13th at 11:00 AM EST.

Melissa has Bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business administration, and Master’s degrees in accounting and psychology. Melissa is uniquely suited to understand the complexities of wealth management and business. Having worked with individuals and families across the spectrum of socio-economic status, she understands that we all have something that makes us unique, and this can either leave us feeling isolated and alone, or it can help us connect more authentically with others.

Melissa realizes what impacts the quality of life, relationships, and financial outcomes and understands what is required to be an agent of change

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Leadership and Learning


To build a Family Business Legacy requires the training and development of the next generation.

In a MassMutual survey of family businesses they found that 55% of CEO’s over 61 years of age did not have a successor selected and 30% of family owned companies are expected to change leadership within 5 years.


"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."

John F. Kennedy

How are you developing the next generation of leadership in your family business?

Let us know what you have found successful and how you are preparing the next generation.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Truth



“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
Albert Einstein

Truth and trust are critical in the family and the family business.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trust - The Beginning of Everything in a Family Business


The Network of Family Businesses has scheduled a virtual educational seminar with William Alexander to discuss Trust – The Beginning of Everything in a Family Business. The seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, November 15th at 11:00 AM EST.

In a White Paper found at www.netfamilybusiness.com Bill states that nothing can be successfully accomplished without the presence of one key ingredient – TRUST! Yet many families choose to move forward with their business and family governance without taking the time to insure trust is present in the family business system. Bill defines four trust building actions to establish trust within the family business system. In his upcoming seminar Bill will define trust and how to understand and implement the building blocks.

Bill is a member of the faculty of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he lectures on the topic "Strategies and Practices of Family Controlled Corporations". He was a third-generation principal and CEO of a large construction entity in central Pennsylvania.

In addition, he has served on various boards, including Herr Foods, Hershey Foods Corporation, where he was also chairman of the Hershey Trust, and Highmark Blue Shield. He was formerly the managing director of the Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center at Wharton.

Mr. Alexander holds an undergraduate degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

We at The Network of Family Businesses are excited to have Bill presenting on this critical topic.

Register to join The Network of Family Businesses and be eligible for the On-Line Educational Seminar at:

www.netfamilybusiness.com

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Questions


"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask is a fool for ever."

(Chinese proverb)


It is interesting how quickly we tire of a child asking questions. I always know when that is happening to me. I tend to answer “because” or “I said so”. How much opportunity for developing a relationship and deeper understanding do I lose when that is my response to a curious question?

I am frequently amazed at the information I can learn by asking a few questions and then listening to the answers and responses. At times I become impatient and do not allow adequate time for the response to my question. When I do not listen, I do not learn. When I do not learn it is difficult to understand. To build a culture of inquiry and learning, we must learn to ask the probing questions and have the patience to hear and really listen to the answer.

As you reflect on the culture of your family and your family business, are you open to the difficult questions? Are you willing to listen to the answers?

How are we teaching the next generation to ask good questions?

What questions does your business family avoid?

How does your business family nurture questions for understanding?

“Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers.”
Voltaire

What are your questions?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

When Does Perception Become Reality?


Perception is Reality

Perception as defined by Webster is impressions, powers of observation and interpretation.

Perceptions develop as a result of a complex combination of factors including concrete experiences, cultural beliefs, and social influences. Perceptions are often treated as “the truth” from those who hold them, even if the perception is inaccurate, therefore making them very powerful. Perceptions can be changed, although not easily, through honest dialogue and changed behaviors.

How important and critical is this for a leader, manager, and family member to understand?

By growing stronger in the areas of your proficiency and passion, you help the family and the business you are serving to be healthy and effective. Being aware of blind spots helps you to avoid costly and needless mistakes that can harm the family and the business. We all have areas in our lives where improvement is needed. Without transparency and humility on your part, and honesty and integrity on the part of others who evaluate you, your strengths are likely to fall short of their highest potential and your weaknesses will undoubtedly hinder you.

Without feedback, we never really know how we are doing and are left to make our own assessment and interpretation. Such ambiguity can create stress and often results in discouragement and pain. Some people overestimate their performances and the appropriateness of their behaviors. Others underestimate how they are doing and wonder if they are failing.

What is it we don't know or can't see? What areas of our lives are we blind to but that others can see? When such areas have the potential or seriously begin to hinder us personally or relationally, and/or have a negative impact on others, we need to consider change.

However, perceptions do have their limitations. Perceptions are simply cognitive pictures that are stored in the brain. Honest input from others can affirm a leader’s strengths and gifts and confront a leader’s weaknesses and gaps.

There is a way to gain an understanding of perceptions others have of us in our business, family, and organizations. I am excited to share with you The Leader 360.

The Leadership 360 has significant value over other types of assessment instruments because it provides the recipient with perceptions from others who have actually observed them in the context of real-life.

A Leader should reflect upon the feedback and determine if changes are appropriate. Because it is sometimes hard to make sense of conflicting feedback and because evaluators are also often blind to their own weaknesses when providing feedback, Leaders need to utilize the counsel of other wise individuals.

If you would like to learn more about the Leader 360, contact me or call my office and request a copy of Frequently Asked Questions.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Perception is Reality - Is Perception Reality in a Family Business?


I am delighted and excited for the upcoming virtual on-line seminar with a good friend, Jay Desko. This seminar is scheduled for Thursday October 20, at 11:00 AM EDT. Jay and I have worked together in an academic environment, consulting to clients, and in our church.

This seminar, ‘Perception is Reality – Is Perception Reality in a Family Business?’ takes an in-depth look at understanding how perceptions can influence our relationships, performance, and the family business. It is important to understand that perceptions develop as a result of a complex combination of factors including concrete experiences, cultural beliefs, and family and social influences. Perceptions are often treated as “the truth” from those who hold them, even if the perception is inaccurate, therefore making them very powerful. Perceptions can be changed, although not easily, through honest dialogue and changed behaviors.

“There is a way to gain an understanding of perceptions others have of us in our family, business, and organizations.”

Jay and I will explore how a 360-review system can support the development of an individual, the family, and the business. Jay is the Executive Director of the Center for Ministry Advancement and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. He holds a B.S. in Bible, and M.Ed. in Instructional Systems, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, strategic improvement and board development.


For more information, please contact me at skmoyer@comcast.net

Registration for the On-Line Educational Seminar is available at:

www.netfamilybusiness.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Boundaries and Boundary Issues in the Family Business


In the recent Network of Family Businesses seminar, Jane Adams, Ph.D. provided great insight to very tricky issues for Business Families. Jane stated it is important to understand that Boundaries are structures that separate us and attach us and are the building blocks of all human relationships. Boundaries also contribute to the Roles we play. Everyone plays multiple roles as a family member and as part of the business, thus opening many opportunities for boundary confusion, trespass, and conflict, particularly when outdated roles and unresolved conflicts from one domain seep into the other. Both entities are different, and so are most of the rules, spoken and unspoken, that guide behavior in each realm.

A skilled coach and life boundaries consultant, Jane’s expertise, advice and assistance can improve relationships with grown children, parents and other family members, friends and colleagues and help you balance your needs with those of others and your personal and professional obligations and commitments. Her book ‘Boundary Intelligence’ explains how people cope with the problems and rewards of balancing personal and professional obligations, maintain family bonds when distance and difference tug at the ties that bind, and develop emotionally and psychologically throughout their lives.

Defining the elements of Boundary Intelligence as: awareness, intention, action, and resolution, Jane stated we all have the ability to learn and grow in defining and being responsible for our boundaries. Jane emphasized that in the Family Business it is as critical to have a ‘Boundary Statement’ as it is a ‘Mission Statement’. Critical elements of a Boundary Statement include:

The balances between individual needs and business needs

Maintaining personal and interpersonal privacy

The elimination of burdensome family baggage

Avoiding domain ‘spillover’

Resolving conflicts in the appropriate domain (the family or the business)

Promoting growth, stability, and success of family business

There were several key items Jane believes families need to recognize and can start working on immediately:

1. Recognize and admit that there are boundaries. These boundaries exist in a family, in the business, and personally with individuals playing several roles depending on the context.

2. Business Families must begin talking about and exploring their boundary issues. Communicate the concerns of each individual, walk toward the conflict to address the conflict. Avoidance is not a healthy option.

3. Develop a written Boundary Statement for your family and business.


I want to thank Jane for providing insight and practical examples of boundary issues.

If I can be of service to you or your family, I would love to talk with you.

The archived seminar is available to members of The Network of Family Businesses.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Sandwich Generation


Have you ever played the part of Referee?

If you’re a Second Generation owner of a family owned business, you have probably found yourself in this position. Your parent(s) worked hard to establish a successful business. Their ideas, values and work ethic served them well and they loved and nurtured the business as part of the family. They were thrilled to pass on their knowledge along with the business to you. But now your children are beginning to get involved in the business. And in this fast-moving world, they have their own ideas about how the business should be managed, grow, etc. You find yourself in the middle.

First generation owners have certainly proven they have great skills, ideas and knowledge. But are their skills and knowledge transferring to growing a business in the ever-changing world we face today? Our children have the enthusiasm and new skill sets so relevant in today’s world. But do they really have the maturity and business knowledge to implement those ideas? And now they are clashing. Both generations feel disrespected. Neither wants to give up their own ideas of how things should be done.

How do you, as the “sandwich” generation, incorporate the good from both and keep them talking to each other, working with one effort, to enhance both the family and the family business.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Boundaries and Boundary Issues in the Family Business


The Network of Family Businesses has scheduled a virtual educational seminar with Jane Adams, Ph.D. on Creating a Boundary Between the Family and the Business. The seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20th at 11:00 AM EST.

In a White Paper found at www.netfamilybusiness.com Jane states it can be very tricky to establish and maintain boundaries in family business. Everyone plays multiple roles as a family member and as part of the business, thus opening many opportunities for boundary confusion, trespass, and conflict, particularly when outdated roles and unresolved conflicts from one domain seep into the other. Jane believes one of the most crucial boundaries for a family business is the line between family and business. The needs of both entities are different, and so are most of the rules, spoken and unspoken, that guide behavior in each realm.

A graduate of Smith College, Jane Adams holds a Ph.D. in social psychology and has studied at Seattle Institute of Psychoanalysis and the Washington, D.C. Psychoanalytic Foundation. She has been an award-winning journalist, a founding editor of the Seattle Weekly, and an adjunct professor at the University of Washington.

Jane is a skilled coach and life boundaries consultant whose expertise, advice and assistance can improve your relationships with your grown children, parents and other family members, friends and colleagues and help you balance your needs with those of others and your personal and professional obligations and commitments. A best-selling writer whose books on how people cope with the problems and rewards of balancing personal and professional obligations, maintain family bonds when distance and difference tug at the ties that bind, and develop emotionally and psychologically throughout their lives have helped thousands of readers adjust to change and create happier, more productive lives and relationships.

We at The Network of Family Business are looking forward to Jane’s insight into this important Family Business issue.

Registration for the On-Line Educational Seminar is available at:

www.netfamilybusiness.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Family Business Forum at King’s College Joins The Network of Family Businesses


The Network of Family Businesses continues to grow with multi-generational families joining. The Family Business Forum at King’s College has collaborated with The Network of Family Businesses to offer all members of The Family Business Forum at King’s College membership and access to the on-line educational seminars, the opportunity to dialogue on-line with other families in business, and access to the growing archive of information and articles.

The mission of The Family Business Forum at King’s College is to provide a learning and networking forum for family businesses, program sponsors, and the students and faculty of King's College, which enhances the family business community in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Family Business Forum at King's College recognizes the unique joys and challenges associated with operating and sustaining a successful family enterprise in northeastern Pennsylvania. Family-owned businesses are fundamentally important to the U.S. and regional economy and comprise the backbone of our economy, strengthening entrepreneurial families has a great impact on the community.

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.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Passing the Assets to the Next Generation Does Fair Mean Equal in the Family Business



In today’s seminar Scott Heintzelman, CPA, CMA, CFE of McKonly and Asbury LLP provided great insight and thoughtful questions as Business Families consider passing the family assets to the Next Generation. His thought-provoking theme – Does Fair Mean Equal in the Family Business raised significant questions and issues that need to be addressed.

Scott holds a B.S. in accounting from Messiah College and is a Partner with McKonly & Asbury, LLP. He serves clients in a variety of industries with a specialization in providing business advisory services to the Middle Market with a special interest and focus in working with family owned businesses.

Scott clearly described that for many families splitting of assets is not clear-cut. Scott stated when people see themselves only as a “family business” they struggle with the desire to treat everyone equally - this despite varying contributions to the business. These families tend to focus only on equality as the deciding factor when setting salaries, paying bonuses and when passing assets to the next generation. This is often the situation when consultants or advisors are required to assist with family disagreements (or worse…all out family war).

When people see themselves as a business family, they tend to focus on the qualitative and not simply the quantitative variables. With family, this is the only way to truly achieve balance and hopefully harmony.

There were several key items Scott believes families need to recognize and can start working on immediately:

1. Business Owned Families should recognize that one size of estate planning does not fit all. Know what it is you want to accomplish when planning for the transition of Assets.

2. Put in place good governance, good systems, and good processes to manage communications:

This could include a Family Council; an Advisory Board; Family Investment Policies; sound business principles; rewards and compensation based on performance (this will reduce the entitlement mindset)

3. Business Families must wrestle with this difficult issue of transitioning the assets while the parents are alive to avoid hurt relationships and to avoid a family battle in the next generation.


If you would like to discuss these critical issues in greater detail, please contact me, I would be happy to talk with you.

Scott, Thanks for raising the questions and issues we all need to address.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Do We Understand Our Priorities

“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my ax.”
Abraham Lincoln


“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.
Stephen Covey


As a Business Family are we taking the time to think through the issues our family is facing and are we prioritizing appropriately?

How do we know?

Let me know your thoughts and concerns

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Passing the Assets to the Next Generation - Does Fair Mean Equal in the Family Business


The Network of Family Businesses has scheduled a virtual educational seminar with Scott Heintzelman, CPA, CMA, CFE of McKonly and Asbury LLP on Passing the Assets to the Next Generation – Does Fair Mean Equal in the Family Business. The seminar is scheduled for Thursday, August 18th at 11:00 AM EST.

In a White Paper found at www.netfamilybusiness.com Scott states the terms "fair" and "equal" are often used interchangeably. However, the two are not synonymous. Equality means that everything is the same in a given situation. Fairness, on the other hand, implies that just treatment is given to everyone. This can vary depending on a person's needs and contributions. For many Business Families splitting assets is not clear. Scott believes when people see themselves as a business family, they tend to focus on good governance (including a family charter), sound business principles and reward people based on performance (therefore attempting to reduce nepotism & entitlement).

Mr. Scott Heintzelman holds a B.S. in accounting from Messiah College and is a Partner with McKonly & Asbury, LLP. He serves clients in a variety of industries with a specialization in providing business advisory services to the Middle Market with a special interest in working with family owned businesses.

Mr. Heintzelman, a Certified Public Accountant, is a member of the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Heintzelman is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), a certification that provides him with the management expertise to consult with business clients on operations, internal controls, and benchmarking. He is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and leads the firm's forensic accounting and fraud prevention team

We at The Network of Family Business are excited to have Scott presenting on this timely topic.

Registration for the On-Line Educational Seminar is available at:

www.netfamilybusiness.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Family Business Check-Up


As we previously discussed, Physicians encourage us to have annual check-ups. This is critical in order to understand, prevent and address potential health risks.

Family owned Businesses, of any age or generation, also need to take routine assessment of the health of their business, family, and individuals in the business. To get a clear true understanding, the assessment should consider, separately and in combination, all the factors that enhance the health of the Business Family. Critical areas that should be evaluated can include: Leadership; Values; Change; Goal Orientation; Empowerment; Communications; Team Work; Interpersonal Relationships; Familiness; Customer Focus; and Individual Recognition.

The best way to find out what is actually going on in the family and business is to ask those in the family and in the business. In prior posts and ‘Check-Up’ we considered Familiness and Family Values; this time the Family Business Check-up looks at Communication.

Effective communications is foundational for any group or organization. The effectiveness in communication requires relationships and feedback. This aspect of the check-up focuses on communication as a critical process for the family to understand each other and nurture deep relastionships.

Each Family Member should address the following statements:

1. Our Family feels free to communicate openly and honestly with our Senior Family members.

2. To avoid offending anyone in our Family Business, we are very careful to communicate through formal channels.

3. Our Family Leadership seeks extensive input from Family members who will be affected by a given decision.

4. In our Family, information is shared with those who need it, when they need it.

5. When our Family has disagreements, Family members are willing to work hard to develop understanding and a win-win solution.

How would your family, employees, and customers, clients, or vendors, answer these questions about Communication in your family and your family business?

We will continue to explore critical areas for the annual check-up of Family Owned Business in later posts.

What are your thoughts regarding the annual check-up?

When was the last time your Family Business had a check-up?

What did you find?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So What Makes You A Leader

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." --John Quincy Adams

Kouzes and Posner in their classic “The Leadership Challenge”, see leaders as pioneers… “Leaders are pioneers. They are people who venture into unexplored territory. They guide us to new and often unfamiliar destinations. People who take the lead are the foot soldiers in the campaigns for change… The unique reason for having leaders – their differentiating function – is to move us forward. Leaders get us going someplace.”


How are we as leaders in our families and businesses inspiring others?

Are we truly moving our business and family forward into new territory?


Let me know what is holding you back.