“Matthew saved our company…he has a gift for navigating conflict and we are lucky to have been able to work with him…Relationships immediately started to improve for my cousins and I. We’re an example of what healing looks like. We did a lot of work from spirituality to how we are operating the business. I stopped acting out of fear and protecting my branch and instead learned that if I take care of them, they take care of me. I realized that I’m most comfortable when I operate from a place of compassion and love. With-out that shift, I’m not sure what would have happened. We have almost doubled the size of the business and we continue to grow as an executive team and a board and there is no fear of past legacy only excitement for what is next…we showed our family and our employees that we are going to lead our company into the future. We are happy and thriving and contributing…it’s going great.” — Lucas Dias, Vice President and Board Member.
I used to be arrogant and I made people uncomfortable. Now I’m more present and more patient than I have ever been. I used to want to end conversations as quickly as possible. Now, I offer compassion and safety. I’m experiencing things I never dreamed I would experience. People are saying they feel comfortable with me and trust me more. I’m more invested in caring for the person I’m speaking to. I’m able to help people go from being totally irate to seeming never happier in their lives in one conversation. I’m much more present with people. I feel more connected to people. I never thought this would ever happen to me. I have a strong level of confidence in myself and resolve instead of spikes of panic and despair. A huge amount of anxiety disappeared. I also feel less tired. It has been a relief and it has been liberating. My relationship with the board is much more productive. One board member, my cousin, told me they can’t run the board without me. You are like the Confucius master. You challenged me; I first resisted, then I understood and I did it. I’ve never been happier.” — Gonzo Diaz, III, CEO and Chairman of the Board
Creating harmonious loving families that are unified around profitable, growing, and stable businesses. ℠
Clients report surprise and delight with their newly found business success; closer relationships and intimacy at work and at home; more happiness; peace; profits; and deeper contentment with life generally.
Guidance with Business Acumen, Finesse, Empathy, and Deep Compassion
We guide family business owners, board members, executives/employees understand and manage the complicated dynamics and interplay between their roles as owner, executive/employee and family member. At the same time, we catalyze the letting go of deeply ingrained and unproductive familial habits, destructive beliefs, and old hurt, while fostering new behaviors, mindsets and healthy emotional and communication patterns that foster love, peace, harmony and effectiveness.
This way families can resolve conflict harmoniously and creatively and become unified in support of stable and growing businesses, effectively managing both day-to-day activities and the desired legacy for later generations.
Family Business is Different
Family business is different from other business as it is immensely more complicated. Relationships between family members, whether as owners, board members, or employees, can make managing business together beautiful and rewarding. But, when expectations are not understood, aligned, or not managed effectively, or ideas, emotions, needs and desires are not expressed freely and heard generously, relationships and the business suffer.
How other Advisers Fall Short
Succeeding in, and for us, consulting to, a family business requires an extra level of finesse and understanding of strategic, organizational and challenging family system dynamics that are rarely understood by their other advisors. Lawyers, accountants, wealth and trust advisors are important, but they tend to lack either: the patience or preparation to dive deeply into complicated family dynamics and facilitate effective decision making; the business savvy to ensure effective implementation of the decisions; and the compassion and deep empathy to move a family in business through the most challenging times. Psychologists can be too focused on analysis, individual mind-based cognitive egoic methodologies, miss the entire systems of the individual and collective, lack business understanding, and take too long to get results.
Aspects of Successful Family Business Governance and Management can include the following.
What are your primary challenges?
- Developing and implementing Growth and Stabilization Strategies
- Harmonious and Effective Ownership & Management Succession Planning and Execution
- Creating Family Business Constitutions and Protocols
- Improving Familial Relations
- Resolving Conflict
- Establishing Trust, Harmony, & Unity
- Transforming Decision Making Practices
- Aligning on Family and Business Vision and Values
- Setting/aligning on strategy
- Aligning organizations with strategy
- Setting expectations about individual desires and passions
- Planning for and executing an ownership or management succession
- Establishing/developing Governance, Executive Teams, and Board of Directors/Advisors
- Creating that Conflict Resolution is an opportunity for improving relations, strengthening the family and the company
- Identifying and developing family and non-family leaders
- Incorporating non-family executives
- Establishing and clarifying roles
- Learning to communicate effectively and give/receive feedback
- Shifting Corporate and Family Culture
- Preparing for Sale
- And much more…
Family Business Cases & Results
Family Business Succession and Reorganization for Growth – Large Retail Chain, $300M to $600M Growth
Situation: A $300M ann. revenue hypermarket chain in Latin America had several significant strategic, operational, and growth challenges: 1) The company didn’t have a CEO, there was no plan for finding one and no family member or executive wanted the role. 2) The family didn’t have a vision for the company that they agreed to, 3) The eldest patriarch was unwilling to step down and was thus hijacking retirement for the founding generation, and 5) the 2nd Generation was tied-up in the day-to-day management of the businesses and thus unable to oversee corporate operations and execute growth plans, and 6) having spent their entire careers in that business, the family lacked specific functional expertise required to take the already large and complicated company to the next level.
Action: Over 10 months, we led a series of shareholder meetings and executive team meetings, and performed individual executive coaching, all to establish trust, facilitate succession, align on a bold vision and company growth goals, set strategy and organizational redesign, and transform individual behavior and group dynamics.
Results: Generational succession was realized, a CEO was anointed and confirmed smoothly, vision for the family was created, separately a vision for the family business and the main business was created and committed to. Roles of the managing family members were modified and an executive leadership team with a new CEO was created. A culture of openness and new mindset for adding non-family executives and other professionals then supported scalable growth for years to come. New vision for growth realized $600M in revenue per year after 5 years.
Succession Recovery, Trust Building, Family Business Constitution, Establishing/Separating Executive Team from Board of Directors — Third Generation Medical Equipment Supplier, $70M to $165M
Situation: A successful 5th Generation medical equipment distributor selling about $70M in equipment and services just executed a difficult ownership and management transition to the next generation. The older generation was embroiled in a three-year legal battle that handicapped the company and caused fractures in the family. The legal portion of the dispute was resolved by retiring the older generation and selling the company to the younger. Some members of the family still were not speaking to each other. Emotional stress on this younger generation was extreme. Managing the company as a group of untrusting cousins and without a CEO resulted in difficult and slow decision making and risk to the family fortune that was tied up in the company. Employees were used to following a strong leader and were uncertain about the future of the company. Their main concern was to stabilize the business under new management and ensure effective and harmonious decision making. Trust was missing and fear was present. Familial and business relations were strained.
Action: Prepared a detailed assessment and report outlining strategic challenges and opportunities for the business and the family. Led ownership and management meetings to guide the set-up of a family business council and it’s writing of a family business constitution as a way to build trust, recreate relationships and set vision and governance policies. Brought in financial management advisory to strengthen the finance department. Coached family member executives/board members and developed a new CEO. Set the foundation by policy and practice to separate and strengthen the executive team and board of directors. Facilitated the deep work of putting the older generations’ conflict in the past and minimizing it’s impact on the younger generation.
Results: The business was stabilized and is experiencing growth and increased profitability. Familial relations greatly improved and in some places are great. New business strategy was developed and new executives were hired into an executive team that has leadership and where their contribution is valued and valuable. The Family Business Constitution provides guidance for effective decision making that is based on shared values and commitments for a new legacy to be created and its creation healed wounds from the past generation’s conflict. Separate board and executive team allows greater contribution from non-family executives and having governance, strategic and management discussions in their proper place. The younger generation meets as a broader group of cousins socially and familial relations have been largely, all though not completely restored. Over the period of the engagement the company grew from $70M to $165M in sales.
Family Real Estate Management & Development, Governance, Conflict Resolution, Business Model Transformation, Execution — $3M -> $250M Growth
Situation: Three siblings were managing a real estate management company with about $3M in rental revenue per year. Their mother and father were also owners, but only peripherally involved. Some business services were outsourced to a different family member, but that wasn’t working according to plan and there wasn’t agreement about what to do about it. The partnership agreement was literally written on a napkin and operational roles of the family members were not clear. Day to day operational decision making was challenging, and the father had enough of the conflict such that he demanded for his adult children to learn to get-along. Growth and stability of the company and family relations were at risk. They had worked with consultants before on this and other challenges, but not effectively.
Actions: We analyzed the situation, expectations, visions, desires, strategy, and organization and set out with a plan. In initial meetings, we clarified vision, strategy and values and clarified new agreements. Plans were agreed to for the compassionate exit of the family member supplier. Roles were clarified, new salaries were negotiated. Mom and Dad’s needs were explored and incorporated. The siblings learned to listen, speak openly and honestly, and make decisions in service of the company. Experienced professionals were hired as leaders and coached to support the growth as the business went through 3 significant business model changes.
Results: The company went from making $3M a year from rental income to developing and selling luxury condos and lots for mansions worth more than $250M. All brothers remained in the business.