Family Business Succession Consulting

"I was impressed with Linda's ability to readily understand our business strategy and succession plan and to bring in the missing pieces." Bernard Melloul

Unresolved conflicts and emotional issues are the two greatest barriers to family businesses failing to negotiate the transition from one generation to the next. Working with Make Things Happen on your succession plan will help you successfully navigate the emotional white water of the often-challenging process of succession planning. Our family business advisors work with founders, families and partners to develop strategies, structures and systems to ensure your change and transition objectives are implemented.

All businesses experience "typical” problems with planning, transitions, management development, motivation, communication and personality conflicts. When the business is controlled by one or more generations of a family — including siblings, cousins, grandparents and in-laws — or by partners, who have worked together so closely and for so long that they begin to exhibit the characteristics of extended families, these problems become even more complex.

This is because families and businesses have two very different dynamics. The family is essentially an emotion-based entity whose primary objective is to nurture and foster the wellbeing of the clan. Businesses, on the other hand, are task-oriented and focused on making money.

Emotion-based Task-based
Raise children Make profit
Equality rules Competency rules
Acceptance unconditional Acceptance based on performance
Relationships are permanent Relationships are temporary
Power: birth order Power: authority

What makes family businesses so challenging is that they must find a way for these two differing dynamics to co-exist under a single roof. Family business members not only must work together, they must also work together to keep their family’s interactions harmonious. Here’s why integrating family values with business values in tricky business.

Who Can You Turn To?

Professional consultants with a single expertise may be limited by their disciplines. For instance, they may view the family enterprise only from a business perspective, focusing on financial and legal documents to the exclusion of the family’s powerful emotional influence. Alternatively, they might view the enterprise only from a family’s emotional perspective ignoring business issues. In dealing with family businesses this can create as many problems as they solve.

The Family Business Advisor

The family business advisor is a person who begins with one of the expert skill sets, develops an interest in family business and, recognizing the complexity of the family business dynamic, develops the knowledge and skills required to be an effective process consultant to families and their enterprises.

Typically, family business advisors adopt a holistic approach to family business problems, understand the interaction of individual, family and business, and have developed a minimum scope of knowledge from each of the disciplines that could contribute to family business solutions. Family business advisors have a strong understanding of the skill sets and tools that their colleagues from other disciplines bring to the table.

A family business advisor will be able to help you draw all the pieces of the puzzle together into a harmonious whole, ensuring that you, your family, and the business will be equally well served.

Family Business Succession Planning

Make Things Happen helps identify and address challenges linked to leadership continuity and succession planning in family businesses. Succession planning involves working with owners, family members and employees to determine future ownership, employment and resource allocations for those working in the business and those outside it. We solve your succession planning problems directly through consulting and facilitation.

MTH facilitates people having crucial conversations about what’s on their minds and in their hearts concerning the future of their business and the family members involved. Money, power, control and business ownership mixed with family ideals of unconditional love are dynamite combinations. These are high stakes meetings where the goals to achieve and maintain family harmony, solve problems and make decisions can be derailed by not reaching an agreement, potential conflict, unresolved misunderstandings, fear of speaking resulting in continued inertia. We bring the third party perspective along with experience and proven processes to clarify understandings, reach agreements and to move forward. Examples of this work include:

Family Activities Business Activities Owner Activities
Integrating leading and succeeding generations Entry and exit of family members to business Shareholder matters
Harmonizing family relations Transition planning and management Estate distribution meetings
Relationship and inter-personal skills building Strategic planning Exit coaching
Family Council development Board of directors or advisors development Preparing the business for transition
Conflict resolution Organization development Partnership charter and agreements

Our advisors will help you identify and address a variety of challenges linked to succession planning, leadership continuity, transition management and ownership specific to family enterprises. Make Things Happen can help you set up the structures and create plans that will prepare you, your family and your business for your eventual exit.

Change is never easy but an experienced family business advisor can help you Make Things Happen!

Please contact Make Things Happen for a complimentary consultation to see how we might contribute to your success.