Businesses and the families that own them are each “governed” by a structure and set of rules. Often, that structure is informal and the rules unwritten, vague and inconsistently applied. This creates a virtual breeding ground for miscommunication, conflict and perceived (and actual) unfairness. Our clients have found that investing the time and energy to develop a more formal and intentional approach to governance pays huge dividends on many levels. While such a process is not painless, it is necessary, particularly as the size of the business and the family grows. This process should start as soon as siblings are actively involved in the business. It is imperative that a solid governance system be in place once cousins are involved. Governing the “Cousin Consortium” is often one of a company’s biggest challenges and threat to continued viability.
DWT’s Guide to Governance is a collection of articles from the Family Business Resource Center written by our Family Business Group team members [that address various issues of family business governance]. We hope that it will inspire families to action, or at least to start the conversation. If you would like to discuss how your organization might take the first steps toward more intentional governance, or if you would like to receive hard copies of the Guide to Governance, please contact Bill Weigand.
Bill Weigand provides strategic counsel to businesses, particularly in the food, agribusiness, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Many of Bill’s clients are multi-generational, family-owned businesses. Contact Bill at 206.757.8164 or BillWeigand@dwt.com.