Oscars for Family Business

Why not have Oscars for Family Business? Every year we look forward to the Oscars. What movie will win this year? Who will be the best actor, best director, etc.? We wait till the night of the Oscars, and throughout the evening. And last night, we found out the answers. But more important in the real world – – Family Businesses have winners every year and here are some of my picks!

Best Actor: If the President of the Company is male, this Oscar would go to him, for his strength in running the Company and helping it grow and prosper. The President of a family business is often the leader of the Company and also one of owners (or the only owner), thus having Management, Leadership and Ownership in one person.

Best Actress: If the President of the Company is a woman, this Oscar would go to her for the same reasons!

Best Supporting Actor: The brother of the President who, works in the Company and even though he did not get the top position, puts aside normal sibling rivalry. He supports and respects his sibling and therefore because of his continuing help and encouragement, he will get this Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress: This Oscar should go to the Chief Financial Officer, who often is a woman and who may or may not be a family member. If a family member, even though she did not get the top position, she puts aside normal sibling rivalry If not a family member, she earns the trust and respect from all family members by remaining neutral and having the highest integrity.

Best Supporting Role Over Many Years: This Oscar historically goes to Mom. Mom is the “CeO” of many family businesses (Chief emotional Officer.) When disputes and complaints sprout among and between the male founder, children, siblings, cousins, relatives, spouses, and family members not working in the business, Mom hears them all. They come and complain, they come and whine, and they come and want Mom to fix it. “Please talk to _____ (Dad, brother, sister, etc) because I can’t.” Mom is usually in the middle and torn between family members, trying to make everyone happy or at least content. For all her unpaid (usually) familybusiness support and constant stress, Mom wins Best Supporting Role.

Best Screen Play: Those family businesses which have Family Business Councils and undertake strategic planning and thought-out communication will have the best roadmap for the future. This planning may include the adoption of Buy Sell Agreements, Close Corporation Agreements, and estate plans including Dynasty Trusts. Consequently, the family businesses with short and long range planning wins Best Screen Play.

Best Cinematography: This Oscar is for the family business with the best web site. Each successful link provides knowledge for marketing or sales, the history of the company and information about the family and its business. This Oscar goes to the family business with its web site linked to the Conway Center for Family Business!

Best Sound Effects: For those Family Business Councils which discuss the hard topics such as compensation of family members, entrance requirements into the family business, requirements for advancement and division of ownership…the “sounds” of the Family Business Council create an atmosphere for success. Family Business Councils win Best Sound Effects.

Best Song: Many family businesses have written a ‘family values and mission statement” which identifies and sets forth the family’s vision for the future and “what we stand for.” The successful family business adopts a written outline of agreed-upon principles and governance structures. The company with the best vision, values and mission statement will win this Oscar.

Best Special Effects: This Oscar goes to the family business with the best family council retreat: communication, fun, games, education and history. Each family member participates in dialogue and exercises which encourage a sense of belonging and an exchange of ideas.

Best Director: The Leader of the Family Business wins the Oscar for Best Director. Ultimately it is he or she who guides the planning concerning the next leader, owner and manager of the family business. Each Leader is constantly reminded to lead by example, to share his or her vision and to help strategically plan the future of the company. The Leader of the Family Business moves the company in a positive direction.

And, the Best Movie (Company): This Oscar goes to all successful Family Businesses. Family Businesses overlap two major connected but distinct systems: business and family. In the United States, over 50% of the Gross National Product comes from Family Businesses. Family firms comprise 80% to 90% of all business enterprises in North America and a majority of all founders of family businesses believe that one or two of his/her next generation will run the family business. Family businesses are much more than the small “mom and pop grocery store” down the block. They are some of the most successful companies in the United States, the best employers, and the future of our country’s economy.