The first step in our work with clients is to conduct an Assessment of their family business system. Families businesses are complex, and each one is unique. Therefore, the only way that we can provide useful advice is to get a full understanding of the specific strengths and challenges that a client family faces.
Even if you believe that you have a strong handle on the priorities, we believe that the Assessment process establishes the essential foundation for change because it:
- Brings the family owners to the table to address the key issues they face
- Creates a shared perspective about the strengths and challenges of the family business system
- Defines a common language for talking about family business issues and solutions
- Provides owners with an understanding of how their family business compares to global best practices
- Identifies the next steps family business owners should take in order to continue on a successful trajectory
The Assessment draws on the Three-Circle model, which describes the interconnection of family, business, and ownership dynamics, as well as the different perspectives that people have depending on which role(s) they play.
During the Assessment we conduct confidential interviews with the family owners, other members of the business family, and key executives and advisors. In addition, we gather financial and ownership information on the family’s business entities. We then compare the client’s current family, owner, and corporate challenges and opportunities to more than 200 family businesses around the world with whom we have worked. Through this experience, we know both the general best practices and, more importantly, how to customize them to work best for our client.
Without identifying individuals’ views, we compile our findings in an Assessment Report, which we discuss in detail with family members, face-to-face. The report summarizes key themes and challenges as well as our recommendations. We also create an action plan for the client to move forward.