Imagine the conflict, arguments and drama around almost every holiday dinner table, then imagine them played out around a conference table and you'll see the issues that arise in family firms. Emotional, volatile relationships can erode even the most solid business. Larry and Laura Colin, who worked together in a family company before it was sold, use their first-hand experiences to show you how to avoid sacrificing your relationships on the altar of the family firm and visa versa. They look at the characters who populate many family firms, including "Dad the Decider," "The Hard-Charging Son" and "Mr. & Mrs. Inc." Although their insights are just one step beyond common sense, at least you don't need a business degree to understand the conversational text. getAbstract recommends this to readers who must practice nepotism as an art form, working with bosses, colleagues and employees who are also close-knit kin.
Purchased 3 copies for my two boys and myself. They both work in the family business.We covered the book one chapter at a time.Highly recommended for any family business. Will truely open your eyes for what might be ahead for your family business.
As an "In-Law Under the Influence" I found the advice in the book pretty good. It basically says that although there have been successful examples of multi-generational businesses that have selected in-laws to run the company (New York Times), you must proceed with extreme caution when first approached with this possibility (never assume to approach yourself; you must wait to be approached). Important issues must be put on the table before accepting, such as, the possibility of being awarded stock in the company and talking about very sensitive issues such as, what happens if your daughter (or son) and I get divorced (am I out of the company? if I have stock, do I get bought out? etc.) I wish I had had the benefit of the book before, not only for the advice in this particular chapter, but also because of the different points of view that can be encountered ("Mom as CFO", "Dad the Decider" and "Father with the Farewell Paranoia"). The book has helped me be more understanding of these roles and as a consequence much more patient in accepting decisions and behaviors I initially find confusing, because I realize I would do the same thing in their position.
I agree, however, with another reviewer who mentioned that it's a good book for first to second generation businesses, not so for 3rd or 4th generation businesses. Being the father of two future inheritors of where I work now, I don't know if this would serve their purpose for more complex 3rd generation issues.
Family Inc. describes character - "Dad the Decider," "The Hard-Charging Son", "Mom the CFO", "The Inlaw under the Influence, and "The Father with Fairwell Paranoia" that are found in numerous family business settings, and talks about how these characters can tilt a family business unit structure. A good example is how the arguments, conflicts, and drama in the family unit can play havoc in the business unit. Growing up, and working in my family's business, I can relate to what Larry and Laura Colin describe in their book - the emotionally charged relationships that can erode even the most solid business.
The book is an easy read, and a bargain investment. In the privacy of your own home you can read up if you or other family members fit one or many of the characters described that can hurt your family business and keeps it back from moving into the "next generation." Highly recommended if you want your business to move beyond the second generation.