Friday, January 25, 2013


Do you have a trusted advisor or a team of trusted advisors? 

 I do. – For me, they include my financial advisor, my relational advisor, my spiritual advisor, my “construction” advisor, and the list goes on.  Some are professional and some are trusted friends, but I count on them to all give me solid information, honest feedback and sound advice.

Then the question becomes – what do I do with that advice?
I listen, evaluate, test it with my team of advisors, and square it up with my own ideas.

Then and only then, can I make a decision. 
My decision.  But I have learned that I really need to listen to my trusted team of advisors.  They know me, give me new information, different perspectives, an unemotional approach, and they truly want the best for me. 

Would I ever consider adding a new room to my house without talking to my contractor?  Would I ever consider changing my estate without talking to my estate attorney?  No.  I value their knowledge and know they will help me make the best decision possible. For a Business Family the team of advisors should include the business systems, the family systems, and the ownership system.

 Do you have a group of trusted advisors in your personal and professional life?  Don’t neglect building and nurturing those relationships.  They will serve you well as you navigate the issues of life and business.  

If you would like to learn more about building a solid team of advisors, let me know.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Governance Issues for Closely Held Corporations and Family Businesses

To the typical challenges that all commercial enterprises face, there are a few additional ones that accrue to closely held corporations and family-owned businesses. This seminar presentation addresses these challenges, explores their genesis and points to options that can attenuate their most pernicious effects. By these reckonings, closely held corporations can level the playing field and compete head-to-head with firms characterized by widely distributed and even public ownership.

Pressing the firm’s competitive advantage in the marketplace depends on capably prosecuting a portfolio of complex, interrelated value-creation and risk-attenuation tasks. The judgmental component of these decision tasks is very demanding.  Without the Board having been conferred with a superior decision making capability – it is unlikely that the firm can optimize its competitive positioning. The absence of outside or independent directors tends to elicit greater fiduciary liability. This factor derives from both the market perception of fallible judgment that derives from non-independent boards – and from the reality that non-independent boards are rarely able to “challenge the boss” and thereby widen the domain of alternative courses of action.

Read Dr. McDaniel’s White Paper and join The Network of Family Businesses for a virtual educational Webinar on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 AM EST, with Dr. Richard McDaniel of Fiduciary Guaranty Corporation of America.

This discussion will explore unique challenges to Family Businesses, the fallibility of human judgment and its consequences, and new directions for the modern Family owned business.

Dr. McDaniel is the primary creator of the discipline of Decision Accounting™ and the Ad Hoc Decision Audit™ Technology upon which it is based. 
Dr. McDaniel was one of five inside advisors to, and representatives of, H.L. Hunt of Dallas (Hunt Oil Company). His past positions include: President and Chief Operating Officer of Mortgage Banc of Dallas; Regional General Sales Manager for Pulte Home Corporation in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Richard graduated from Harvard College and earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Texas (Arlington).

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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Creating A Family Legacy Continuing This Year

IF a Matriarch or Patriarch builds a successful business yet has no long-term impact on his or her family, did they build a family legacy?

As this question implies, family is crucial in building a family legacy. A legacy is established by leaving something of enduring quality behind for family and for the business. It is not just up to the senior generation to create and build a legacy, every family member has the opportunity to contribute based on his or her own experiences and insights. To do so, however, requires a consciousness and intention to build and nurture the family values, commitment, and faith. Each individual’s contributions may be an incremental movement toward the legacy yet to capture the valuable experiences for future generations requires long-term, ongoing building, living and leaving a legacy.

In a Will and a Trust, a legacy is a bequest, something of value handed down to someone else. Family legacies are built over time and have a living quality. Family legacies grow and change as each generation builds on the past and contributes to the future.

A family legacy must be digested and absorbed before it can be passed on. Building a legacy and living it requires active participation by all family members. It is meaning gleaned by the next generation from the senior generation through intentional interaction and dialogue and observation.

Overemphasizing the leaving aspect of legacy and underemphasizing the building and living aspect is easy to do. Each and every family member can build and live the family legacy at any age.

When legacy building becomes part of a Family’s culture it can serve a critical role for future generations. Legacy is a valuable gift for a family but is only possible when each and every family member is aware of the powerful legacies they have to offer.

How are you helping to build your family’s legacy as we move into a New Year?

I would love to hear how you are doing this with your family or discuss ways you and your family can make a conscious effort to build your Family’s Legacy.