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Key Ideas Newsletter . Summer . 2006 

Key Ideas for Family Businesses & Their Advisors
Brought to You by Jane Hilburt-Davis & Key Resources

We welcome you to this issue of Key Ideas. If you have questions about any of the issues or topics, do let us know. We encourage letters, comments, and suggestions.

In this issue…

Feature Article
What if Disaster Hits Your Company?

Tragedy can strike anyone at anytime. In fact, no company or family can escape some crisis at one time or another. First, let’s define crisis. It’s any unplanned event, occurrence or sequence of events that you have not had to deal with before. What we have learned about recovery and resilience during and after crises come from studying large and small population groups after disasters such as Katrina, 9/11, the Tsunami of 2004, and earthquakes.

It might be external to the business, an economic downturn, a hurricane, terrorism, and earthquakes or internal, the death or disability of the founder, workplace violence, product failure, management failure. Whatever the cause, the key to survival is planning and the ability to ‘take the long view’...

Read the Full Article >

Book Review
Your Lawyer: An Owner’s Manual, A Business Owner’s Guide to Managing Your Lawyer
by Henry C. Krasnow. Chicago, IL: Agate. 188 pp. (Available through Amazon.com)

Here’s a book that you will want to own. The author has written a practical and useful resource book to help the reader better understand the legal process, find a good lawyer, and work with that lawyer to get “higher quality services

Several themes run through it:

  • Lawyers are very literal, so ask the right questions, don’t give them mixed signals, and be realistic about your goals.
  • Disagreement and litigation are only about money, not revenge; they are not the place for strong emotions but rational actions and decisions.
  • Lawyers should offer practical advice and educated guesses about risks and rewards of going forward with any legal decision. They should be able to clearly and strategically tell the client the odds of wining, losing, or settling, providing as Krasnow describes it, “the ever changing calculation”.

Read the Full Review >

Odds 'n Ends

  • Did you know: Training and mentoring keep employees on the job, says a poll by Harris & Associates? The cost of losing a typical worker is $50,000. A 1,000-worker company with nonexistent mentoring will lose $9.5 million because of it. Poor training will cost $14.5 million. Thirty-five percent of employees who don’t receive regular mentoring look for another job within 12 months.
  • Here’s a link to “A Family’s Guide to Board Evaluation”—worth reading! http://www.ncfp.org/FGN-June_2006/contents.html
  • Here’s another interesting article, “Father, Son and Gum” How a 4th generation CEO As shakes up Wrigley by tossing out his dad's rule book: http://webreprints.djreprints.com/1427310758415.html

In the News
Are You One of the Vacation Starved Americans?

This from an August New York Times Article...

 “The Conference Board, a private research group, found that at the start of the summer, 40 percent of consumers had no plans to take a vacation over the next six months — the lowest percentage recorded by the group in 28 years. A survey by the Gallup Organization in May based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,003 adults found that 43 percent of respondents had no summer vacation plans.

About 25 percent of American workers in the private sector do not get any paid vacation time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Another 33 percent will take only a seven-day vacation, including a weekend.

Read the Full Story Here >

Upcoming Event
FFI Annual Conference

Make sure you check out the Family Firm Institute’s Annual conference in October, in San Francisco. See details at www.ffi.org.

That’s all for this edition of Key Ideas. As always, feel free to contact us with feedback, questions, or comments. Key Resources is here to help you, your family, and your business succeeed!

Jane Hilburt-Davis


Phone: 617-577-0044
Email: contact@familybusinessconsulting.com
Web: www.FamilyBusinessConsulting.com

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