Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bringing Value to the Family Business

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bringing Value to the Family Business

Article excerpt

Most of us don't object to the price of a product or service if we are confident in its value.

In much the same way, the time and expense of preparing the next generation for ownership and leadership of the family business are much less a burden if the rising owner-executives bring real value to the business.

So what kind of value should you expect in your successors?

What makes a prospective family business owner valuable to the company and to the family?

Skills and relevant experience are at the top of the list, of course.

These days not many family businesses start their CEO-designates out on the loading dock and make them work their way up.

Most companies would consider that a waste of education and experience and a loss of value to the company.

On the other hand, no young member of a business-owning family should expect to take over a department and a corner office the first day on the job.

Sharing the family name that is on the sign out front and presenting a good resume might be qualifications enough to get through the door, but they're not overpowering.

Authority and responsibility have to be earned through learning and "time at post" before the young family member can begin adding value to the family business.

An understanding of the dynamics of the business and an ability to work with them also make the upcoming family executive valuable. While technical capabilities fall into the "skills and experience" category, the young person has to develop sensitivity to the relationships among family members in the business and between family and non-family employees. And he or she must incorporate that sensitivity into supervising subordinates and responding to higher- ups, whether or not they are family members.

There is a great deal of value added by commitment to the present and future welfare of the business. Commitment in family business leadership involves a continued effort to grow the business, to strengthen its performance and increase its profitability. …

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