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Your monthly resource for information on managing a Family Business from authority Paul Karofsky. 
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Is the Old Bull Out to Pasture?

For over 25 years, we’ve been helping family members in business together achieve sustainability, typically involving the transition of leadership and ownership to the next generation.  Most often, it means helping members of the younger generation “take hold” and attain the competencies of leadership, and helping seniors plot a new phase of life, retiring from the business, moving to a chapter of significance.  Our focus is primarily on the “tangibles” - on roles, responsibilities, titles, managing communication and on mentoring the next generation to have the attributes worthy of the coveted black leather chair.   Never before has it meant supporting the next generation in the transition to work with another firm where sustainability is not about the enterprise, but about the individual and his or her set of skills.
 
And too seldom have we focused sufficiently on the emotional aspects of this change – especially what it feels like for the senior generation.
 
Earlier this month, David, my son for almost 47 years and my business partner for 8, announced his alliance with The Family Business Consulting Group.  While that possibility was a topic of discussion between us for more than a year, it really “hit home” with his e-letter a few weeks ago.  When I saw the first draft of his letter, it looked great.  The next day, I thought there should be a few edits, and then came the final draft.  For David, it was exactly what we’d agreed upon, and for me, I had the need to “wordsmith” it some more.  With a smile, I told him it looked like the old bull was going out to pasture.  As we talked, David suggested my wordsmithing was less about the words and more about the reality setting in.  It wasn’t about the message looking like the old bull was heading out to pasture, but about my feeling like the old bull was heading out to pasture.  Wow, what an eyeopener!
 
That’s when my son’s empathy was expressed and he encouraged me to put my thoughts in writing – as therapy for me and as a message to others.  


Throughout this book, Paul and David Karofsky address the challenge of good communication and share case studies of what happens when it fails and succeeds.
 

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