Family Business Succession Planning

March 1, 2012    Family Disputes - Mediation

FACILITATED FAMILY BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING MEETINGS WORK FOR FAMILIES WHO WANT TO PRESERVE IMPORTANT FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS AND MAKE SMART BUSINESS DECISIONS AS WELL

Most families who own a their own business face numerous conflicts, whether relating to employees, finances, financial reverses, strategic planning, resource use, leveraging, product changes, market changes, serious illness, divorce, remarriage, and death. One of the most under-addressed yet serious needs for family owned businesses is the discussion of a succession plan. These are often difficult conversations, for many reasons–it is often hard for smaller or busy family businesses to make the time for such discussions; the current culture or owner(s) management style may not lend themselves readily to such approach; or because the content of such discussion may naturally include serious things such as family members’ capabilities and personalities, ambitions, sibling rivalries, future goals and dreams, disability, aging and death.

Owners who decide to use a neutral facilitator to assist the family and business with its succession planning decisions find that the process benefits all, with clarification of the future with outcomes that also strengthen the business operation. The primary role of the neutral facilitator, also experienced in such family and business matters, is to convene the meeting and to facilitate quality interactions and the ability to seek additional information as needed for fully informed decision making. Family members may also choose to have others present at one of their facilitated meetings, including another non-family member employee or member of the board, or the business’ accountant or legal advisor. These resources can also benefit from the use of the neutral facilitator, who helps to ensure that everyone has spoken and understood the information and options that are discussed.

Family Business Mediators and Facilitators of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation believe in Better Process…Better Outcome.