Tag Archives: schuman

A Fourth Generation Leader who Mastered the Art of Embracing Tradition and Change

Successful long-lived family businesses find a way to preserve their historic values and traditions while, at the same time, renewing themselves and responding to opportunities in an ever-changing world. Firms that are too rooted in the past become ossified, out-of-date, … Continue reading

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Siblings to Cousins: Ownership Goals for Growth, Risk, Profitability and Liquidity

In the transition from siblings to cousins, families are often called to define the ownership role for the very first time. In earlier stages, a relatively small family allows for more direct involvement of family owners in business operations and … Continue reading

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Siblings to Cousins: Fear not the Larger Group

Many families are daunted by the task of transitioning from a relatively small sibling stage to a larger and more complex cousin stage. However, there are advantages to the larger cousin group that may not be readily apparent, for example: … Continue reading

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The Ford Family as Owners

by John L. Ward Friend and colleague Amy Schuman urged me to read American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company (by Bryce Hoffman, 2012). It’s a compelling and captivating story of a dramatic turnaround. It’s … Continue reading

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Why I’m Seeking a Well-Qualified Female Board Member

Why would a client specifically ask to be presented with female director candidates? While writing this post, I asked the Board Chair of a large, fourth generation real estate business, why he was so keen on finding a female for … Continue reading

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Female Role Models

Recently a client was refurbishing his offices and he commissioned two sculptures for the lobby: One of Abraham Lincoln, and one of Winston Churchill. I happened to be in his offices when they were being installed, and he called me … Continue reading

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“Family” Cultures Yield Financial Results

We spoke earlier this week about a Midwestern retailer that walks its talk. Their corporate culture is directly shaped by the values of the owning family. So – the family gets the deep satisfaction of knowing they are part of … Continue reading

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Communications, Compensation and Corporate Culture

Many family businesses struggle with the question – how much financial information can we share – both with employees and with other family members? In fact, one negative stereotype of family business culture is of a secretive owning family that … Continue reading

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Use the ‘Parking Lot Test’ to Discern Corporate Culture

Arriving at the client’s headquarters, I noticed that only 3 of the 15 visitor parking spaces right in front of the building were occupied. As always, I parked my car at the very back of the lot, which was quite … Continue reading

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Just Like Her Dad, part 3

Amy Schuman All week we’ve been pondering the case of ‘Jennifer,’ daughter of the founder, who has been told by those around her that her success seems assured, because she is seen to be Just Like Dad. Jennifer is a … Continue reading

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