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Key Ideas Newsletter . Summer . 2005 

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 welcome letters, comments, and suggestions.

In this issue…

Feature Article
Raising Healthy Wealthy Kids: Improving Your Chances

Increasingly Key Resources is contacted by high net worth families to guide them through the challenges of raising their children to become responsible, self-reliant adults who contribute to society. For the very rich, raising healthy kids poses special challenges. Each child is different, with his or her own unique strengths and weaknesses, and they come with no guarantees or money-back offers! We do, however, have some recommendations for improving your odds of helping your children become responsible and self-reliant adults...

Read the Full Article >

Tips & Tools
Developing a Succession Process

Succession in family businesses is time of both crisis and opportunity. Succession is certainly a crisis in family businesses; only one third make it to the second generation. Successful families in business take advantage of this transition time as an opportunity to develop an objective process that creates an atmosphere of collaboration, lowers the emotionality in the system, and establishes benchmarks for the company, the board, as well as the management. As one of my clients said, as we drafted the succession plan, "I get it; it's first about the process and then the people." And, if the process is fair and transparent, the right people will be selected and the chances for buy-in by all are increased...

Read the Full Article >

Book Review
Managing for the Long Run: Lesson in Competitive Advantage from Great Family Businesses
Miller, Danny & LeBreton-Miller, Isabel. (2005)
Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

In Managing for the Long Run, the authors have written a wonderfully useful and readable book about what makes family businesses different and great. They studied a total of 58 family controlled businesses (FCB), which included companies such as Coors Company, Cargill, Fidelity, IKEA, Hallmark, L.L.Bean, The New York Times, S.C. Johnson and Wal-Mart Stores. The authors note that these are not average family businesses but the 'great' ones. In their research, they have concluded that "four driving priorities or even passions" are evident in the great FCBs and their leaders. They call these the "four Cs"...

Read the Full Review >

In the News
Did Mother Know Best?

Did mother know best? Here's an interesting article about peace returning to Reliance, India's largest business group, after a settlement hammered out between the two Ambani brothers. Apparently, after 7 months of a nasty public feud, Kokilaben Ambani, the brothers' mother patched things up between them. She announced, "With the blessings of Srinathji (a reference to the Hindu god Krishna), I have today amicable resolved the issues between my two sons, Mukesh and Anil."

Read the Full Story Here >

Reader's Poll
Your Chance to Weigh In

This issue we're asking our valued readers to participate in a quick poll (it's simple and anonymous). Please click on the links below to weigh in. We will share the results in the next issue of Key Ideas.

For members of family businesses
What do you look for most in an advisor?
Answer this Question >

For advisors to family businesses:
What do you think is the one factor that makes you most effective?
Answer this Question >

Survey Results
What Do You Think Leads to Family Business Success?

In our last issue, we asked readers to participate in the following poll:

For members of family businesses, what do you think is the one factor that most contributes to family and business success?
(Family harmony; Agreement on business goals; Outsiders on the board of directors; Formal policies for next generation employment; Other).

For advisors to family businesses, what do you think is the one factor the keeps good succession plans from being implemented?
(Cost, Inability of founder to let go, Inability of next generation to take over, Lack of agreement on vision for family, Lack of agreement on vision for business, Other).

Here is a summary of the results:

  •  Advisors thought, by a wide majority, that there was a tie between Inability to Let Go and Lack of Agreement that keeps succession plans from being implemented.

  •  Members of family businesses attributed Family Harmony, by a small majority the one factor that most contributes to family and business success.

Upcoming Event
FFI Annual Conference

Be sure to check out the Family Firm Institute's Annual conference in October, in Chicago. See details at

That's all for this edition of Key Ideas. As always, feel free to contact us with feedback, questions or comments.

Until next time,

Jane Hilburt-Davis


Key Resources
40 Middleby Road
Lexington, MA 02421

Phone: 781-861-0586

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