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Advising & Consulting

As the family enterprise profession evolves, authors offer empircal insights and examples for colleagues to use in their practices; examples of tools and assessments are included.

Thank you to this week’s contributor, Patricia Angus, who continues our series of FFI Practitioner articles written by members of the Editorial Committee. In this edition, Patricia examines what it truly means to be a “Practitioner” and the impact of ongoing practice when working with family enterprise clients.

This week’s FFI Practitioner dives into risky individual behavior within the family enterprise which, if ignored, can impact the performance of the business and the unity of the family. Thank you to Elizabeth Bagger, director general of the Institute for Family Business, for her examination of the topic and explaining how helping individuals become aware of this behavior can transform their story into their greatest asset.

Thank you to this week’s contributor, Randy Waesche, for this thought-provoking examination of the influence that money and financial independence can have in the succession process.

This week’s FFI Practitioner concludes a two-part examination of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), by Brett Coffman. In this week’s edition, Brett addresses the need to look for change in clients and provides a mnemonic device to help remind practitioners about the various techniques associated with SFBT.

This week’s FFI Practitioner begins a two-part examination of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), an evidence-based coaching and therapy model, and its potential application to help family enterprise members find solutions to a variety of challenges. Thanks to this week’s contributor, Brett Coffman for providing this analysis.

This week’s FFI Practitioner examines how advances in science can impact multidisciplinary approaches to family business consulting and encourages professionals need to keep abreast of ongoing scientific developments as they relate to the family enterprise field Thanks to Mindy Rosenthal of the 2019-2020 FFI NYC Regional Planning Committee for contributing this article on advances in neuroscience and their impact on wealth planning.

FFI strives to advance the field of family enterprise through applied research, providing practitioners with practical applications for research conducted by academics from around the world. An example is the periodic précis written by members of the FBR Applied Research Board. Based on recent articles published in FBR, these précis summarize an article and identify implications and applications for advisers to integrate into their work with families. This week, FFI Practitioner is pleased to highlight selected FBR précis on a variety of family enterprise topics.

Have the contributions that lawyers can make to family governance discussion been undervalued? So says this week’s contributor, Henry Krasnow, in a thought-provoking piece exploring how family business consultants can collaborate more productively with the company’s attorney.

In this week’s FFI Practitioner, Eva Wathén examines the importance of culture within family enterprises and explores some of the differences between the cultures of family-owned and nonfamily-owned enterprises.

How do the personalities differ between family and nonfamily CEOs and what impact could this difference have on the performance of family businesses? In this week’s edition, Kim Schneider Malek reexamines the popular argument about family and nonfamily CEOs through her précis of “CEO Personality: A Different Perspective on the Nonfamily Versus Family CEO Debate,” an article appearing the March 2019 issue of FBR.

This week’s FFI Practitioner focuses on buy-sell agreements and their role in protecting family enterprise from potential future ownership issues. Thanks to Dan Frosh, this week’s author, for providing an examination of the numerous benefits and features of effective buy-sell agreements within the family enterprise context.

Welcome to the first issue of the 2019 FFI Practitioner. What better way to look forward than to talk with one of the founders of the family enterprise field? We hope you enjoy this interview with David Bork, a legend in the field and, 50 years later, still a pioneer.

Family business cases can serve as powerful tools to integrate into consulting and educational work with clients. Cases provide an engaging way for family enterprise members to recognize issues similar to the ones they face, helping evaluate potential, less emotionally-charged solutions. To further this publication’s mission to provide readers with practical materials that support their work with multi-generational family enterprises, we are pleased to feature a selection of family business cases previously published in FFI Practitioner.

Thanks to Gaia Marchisio for this week’s article which discusses the importance of recognizing and addressing strong beliefs about “universal truths” and misconceptions in the field of family enterprise. In this article, Gaia urges advisers to avoid becoming too narrow-minded and entrenched in an established way of thinking. Instead, she encourages advisers to maintain an outsider’s perspective on conventional family business truths that are often taken for granted.

Thanks to Chris Casey for sharing his thoughts on what success means in family firms and some of the difficulties he encountered as he worked on his dissertation “Defining success in family firms using configurational fit: A quantitative study of family-owned construction firms” from Capella University.


This week’s FFI Practitioner addresses an often overlooked, but critical phase of the consulting process – contracting. Thank you to Judi Cunningham and Wendy Sage-Hayward for sharing this article that highlights the importance of contracting as an ongoing process, rather than a one-time discussion, and describes two levels of contracting that appear within an engagement.

When family business owners are evaluating non-family ownership succession options, often their advisers may suggest two primary options; selling the business to a “strategic buyer” or a “financial buyer.” However, this week’s edition presents an alternative option – selling the business to the employees, a “friendly buyer,” through an ESOP. Thank you to this week’s contributor, Dan Bayston, for sharing his analysis of ESOPs and the role they can play in a non-family ownership succession plan.

Thank you to this week’s contributor, Tom Hubler, for reflecting on his more than thirty-five years as a family business consultant and sharing some valuable insights he’s gained during that time. We hope you enjoy reading about Tom’s experience and learning about what he refers to as the “soul” of family businesses.

As an adviser, what can you do when the owner/CEO who hires you is wrong? According to Bruce Walton in this week’s edition, an objective board of directors can serve as a valuable ally to confront a misguided CEO and to get the company moving in the right direction. To illustrate his point, Bruce shares some anecdotes of how a board can help in these tricky situations.

For this week’s edition, we are excited to share an interview between Russ Haworth, host of the Family Business Podcast, and Kim Eddleston and Roland Kidwell about their presentation at the upcoming FFI Global Conference. Their presentation is titled “The Diversity of Deviance: How breaking the rules can hurt (and help) families and family firms,” which will address the different types and outcomes of deviance as well as covering how to use deviance in the family and family firm to improve performance.