ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 34

BUSINESS HUB

Back to The Future of
Your Family Enterprise
By David M. Karofsky

A

few years back, I worked with
a client who was struggling
to make strategic decisions
for his company. He had just taken
over his family's business and, as is
the case with many family businesses,
was dealing with challenging family
dynamics that had been set in motion
well before he'd come aboard. Even
though the defining event - the sudden exit of one of the principals years
before - had happened when he was
a young adult, the ripple effect of that
event was still impacting the family's
direction for the future.
This got me thinking about the paths
family businesses choose, leading me
to wonder if family businesses are often
forced down a certain path as a result of
unresolved conflicts in the family.
As I thought about this, I suddenly
remembered the scene in the movie
Back to the Future II where Doc Brown
is explaining the space/time continuum path to Marty McFly, and how his
going back to 1955 in the first movie
disrupted the universe: "Our only
chance to repair the present is in the
past, at the point where the timeline
skewed into this tangent."
You might be asking yourself what
this has to do with family business. It's
my contention that unresolved conflict
in a family business acts very much
like Doc Brown's disruption of the
space/time continuum; it causes what
I call a break in the family/time continuum that influences all subsequent
decisions, affecting the direction of the
family business going forward - and
not always for the best.
But if the family can "go back in
time," in a sense, to resolve or at least
honestly address this past conflict, there

34

JANUARY 2018

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

is an opportunity to make strategic
decisions based on what is best for the
family and the business rather than
having those choices dictated by a conflict from the past, as illustrated below.

a family doesn't plan in advance
for the death of a family member,
it's possible that the business will
shift in a direction that isn't optimal
when the event happens.

FAMILY
BUSINESS
DIRECTION

PAST
FAMILY
CONFLICT

ALTERED
FAMILY
BUSINESS
DIRECTION

COMMON CAUSES OF BREAKS IN
THE FAMILY/TIME CONTINUUM
* Poor communication: Family
members are not able to communicate effectively with each other
or talk through their different
perspectives; conversations that
should be had are not, yet life and
the business still move forward.
* Family conflict/lack of resolution: Resolution does not mean
agreement - but it does mean
agreeing to move forward. You've
got to be able to make good business decisions in which the past
doesn't dictate the future.
* Lack of strategic planning: Good
strategic planning can help prevent
breaks in the family/time continuum from happening. If, for instance

* Unexpected death in the family:
A sudden death in the family
brings emotional trauma along
with other practical repercussions
that can easily push the family
off course.
* Poor definitions of roles and
responsibilities: When you don't
have structure in an organization, it's like a bad rowing crew
that can't pull together to win
a race. This also contributes to
the likelihood of mismanaged
expectations.
* Mismanaged expectations:
When people don't share a common understanding of their place
and power in the family business,
or when the leader refuses to share
power with his heir apparent,


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings January 2018

Meet ILMA’s New President DAVE CROGHAN
ADDING ANOTHER DIMENSION
THE BIG CHILL
LETTER FROM THE CEO
INSIDE ILMA
Company Callout
WHAT’S COMING UP
INDUSTRY RUNDOWN
In the Know
International Insight
Market Report
BUSINESS HUB
COUNSEL COMPOUND
WASHINGTON LANDSCAPE
IN NETWORK
Member Connections
Cross Connections
PORTRAIT
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 1
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 2
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - LETTER FROM THE CEO
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - INSIDE ILMA
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 5
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Company Callout
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 7
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - WHAT’S COMING UP
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 9
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - INDUSTRY RUNDOWN
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 11
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - In the Know
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 13
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - International Insight
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 15
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Market Report
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 17
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Meet ILMA’s New President DAVE CROGHAN
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 19
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 20
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 21
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 22
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 23
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - ADDING ANOTHER DIMENSION
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 25
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 26
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 27
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 28
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - THE BIG CHILL
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 30
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 31
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 32
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 33
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - BUSINESS HUB
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 35
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - COUNSEL COMPOUND
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 37
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - WASHINGTON LANDSCAPE
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 39
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Member Connections
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 41
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Cross Connections
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - 43
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - PORTRAIT
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Cover3
ILMA Compoundings January 2018 - Cover4
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