Family business transition, including succession, refer to changes, planned or unplanned, associated with a family business which may significantly alter the dynamics of the business and/or the family. As such it has the potential to cause a significant amount of conflict within the business and the family and be destructive of both. In order to either avoid the development of such conflict or to mitigate the damage of such disputes a mediator/dispute resolution practitioner may be called upon for longer-term service.
The dynamic elements of best practice in family business transition lie in the following:
- Awareness that the family and the business will endure over the long-term and such endurance will require periodic, if not regular, transitions;
- Willingness of the family to do whatever is necessary to implement best practices in both family and business;
- Address shortfalls in capacity, whether in knowledge, skills, resources and time by acquiring extra resources;
- Commitment of adequate resources, do whatever is necessary and ensure accountability for completion of specific tasks within specific time-frames; and
- Stamina to establish, cultivate and sustain agreed strategies, structures and systems over the long term.
Sustainable success doesn’t just happen. It must be planned and nurtured. Family and business needs, interests and decision-making processes must be separated as completely as possible. Disputes must be adequately managed. A dispute resolution practitioner with qualifications and experience in business and finance as well as in the resolution of conflict will be a valuable aid to achieving best practice. The main objective of the practitioner is to help the family make the best possible long-term decisions for all the family under all the circumstances. The emphasis will be on inclusion, collaboration and constructive problem-solving.