News Briefs

January 2000

Which Comes First-the Family or the Business?

We have invited John L. Ward back to lead us in more strategic thinking on April 11, 2000, at the Holiday Inn, Appleton. This year's topic grew out of the family business vision discussion that John touched upon last March.

John L. Ward teaches strategic management and business leadership at Loyola's Graduate School of Business. He is an active researcher, speaker and consultant on family business succession, outside boards of directors and strategic planning. He is a regular visiting lecturer at two European business schools. John has authored two leading texts on family business and has co-authored numerous booklets focusing on issues family businesses face.

Those of you who participated in John's workshop will associate John with dynamic, in-depth discussions of real family business cases from around the world and the valuable information that literally filled every moment of the daylong workshop.

At one point in last Spring's workshop, John asked everyone to choose from one of nine family visions that he identified. To the surprise of many of us, the room was split on this issue. After further discussion, Ward challenged each participant to have a dialogue in family meetings around the issue of family vision.

Ward explained that in his work with family businesses around the world, he learned that family businesses outperform non-family businesses of the same size and industry on ROI. He explained that family ownership and family vision create a unique competitive advantage that produces these results.

On April 11, John will challenge us to explore the question, Which Comes First-the Family or the Business? Those of us who attended his last workshop know that this workshop will be an excellent use of time, providing insight, facts, cases, and challenging discussions. You should plan to be there!

On October 20, we were hosts to two members of H.G. Weber - David Ludwig, 4th generation member of the Weber family and Phil Florek, president-as they considered Forum membership. In November, we were pleased to welcome H.G. Weber & Company, Inc. as our newest member.

Herman Gustave Weber founded H.G. Weber & Co., Inc. in Sheboygan Falls in 1925. Weber pioneered the development of variable size S.O.S. (block bottom) paper bag machinery of the type that produces multi-ply specialty, grocery and multi-wall container bags.

Today, the company's product line includes SOS bag machines, inline flexographic printers, laminators, die cutters and patchers, file folder machines, wire tie applicators, vertical conveyors and roll up-enders.

The company boasts an impressive customer list including International Paper, Smurfit-Stone Bemis Co., Hoover, Eureka, Mid America Packaging, Longview Fibre, Hunt-Wesson, Detmold Packaging and Electrolux AB. The company's international market has grown to over 50 countries.

H.G. Weber & Company, Inc. will be introduced at our January 27 meeting.

The Forum - More Than Great Programs!

The Forum offers valuable services beyond the standard programs. Do you know what else the Forum provides?

Peer groups - opportunities to discuss real issues in-depth with peers in strict confidentiality.

Resources - books, magazines, research articles, tapes, and even an inactive CD.

Consultancy connection - assistance in identifying and contacting consultants; contacts made and references obtained on your behalf in an anonymous fashion; consultants may be local or national depending on your needs.

Information searches - identification of published information related to your interests and needs.

Now Available in the Resource Center

Two new books are on our shelves:

  Building Strong Family Teams, a family business handbook, Mark Fischetti (Editor), Family Business Publishing Company, (c) 1999. This handbook is a resource for creating and sustaining effective sibling, cousin, husband-wife, and executive and employee teams.

In addition to "how to's", interviews, profiles and a case study, this handbook includes tools for family business teams, including partnership charters, family constitutions, family councils, and retreats.

  The Family Business Answer Book by Barbara B. Buchholz, Margaret Crane, Ross W. Nager, Leon A. Danco, Prentice Hall, (c) 1999. This book tackles 101 of your toughest questions including: succession planning, estate planning, relinquishing control, competence and commitment issues with heirs, and compensating family members.

These and other books will be available on the resource table at the January 27 program. Be sure to visit the table and to check out any materials that you would like to borrow. You can also contact us by phone or stop in to borrow resource materials.

Styles and Patterns

Family members learn their communication styles from earliest childhood and refine them through adolescence. Each of us has a preferred individual communication style - direct, indirect, informational, relational, etc. - and, each family develops a communication pattern. When styles and patterns combine, interesting things happen especially in family businesses. How do we recognize styles, patterns, and their implications?

On January 27, Pat Nichols and Catherine Lindsay will help us explore our communication styles and will open the door to some interesting insights and beneficial strategies.

The program will begin with registration and coffee at 7 a.m., breakfast will begin at 7:15 a.m. with introductions and announcements at 7:50. The workshop will begin at 8:00 and will proceed with interactive dialogue and with small group discussions and activities.

All members of your family and management team will benefit from participating in this workshop. Guest owners are also welcome with pre-registration.

Thank You!

Perhaps you noticed at the November workshop that we recognized Larry's Markets, Inc. for their co-sponsorship of the workshop. We really value this show of appreciation and support of the Forum. Thank you!

Recently we received a gift from RB Royal Industries for co-sponsorship of our January program. Again, we say "thank you" for this show of appreciation and support.

Co-sponsorship support is one way members and non-members alike can share their success with the Forum. The co-sponsorship support helps to underwrite our program costs and ensure that we always have quality programs. And, this support helps meet budget as we strive to maintain reasonable fees.

If you would like to say "thank you" to the Forum, share the benefits of a good year, and/or demonstrate your support for the Forum's mission, we would be happy to accept your gift and to acknowledge it during the program and in our newsletter.

For more information about co-sponsorship, contact Sue at 424-2257.

Management Changes Predicted

In a recent news release by Family Business Magazine, the results of a new survey of 339 family business owners from across the U.S. indicate that 65% of the owners plan to create co-leadership structures. This change will require shifts in...

At the same time, owners will face greater... The implications drawn from the results are said to be clear. "Family owners will have to take deliberate steps to agree on values and mission in their companies; they will also have to create organizational structures such as family councils to enhance communication and prevent divisiveness among different generations and family branches."

For further survey information and implications see the Autumn 1999 anniversary issue of Family Business Magazine.

Creating & Preserving a Family Tradition - the European Experience

Twenty-five Forum members and sponsors, representing nine family groups, are finalizing their plans for a once-in-a-lifetime workshop experience in Italy, March 10-18, 2000.

Nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn overlooking the Breuil-Cervinia Valley is the Grand Hotel Cristallo. What an ideal location for a "blue sky" workshop on family business strategy!

While there, participants will focus on creating and preserving a family tradition through group and family meetings, meetings with Italian family business owners, and Italian family business professionals and educators. Meetings will take them down the mountain into Milan and into the provincial capitol of Aosta to explore family business tradition in Italy.

Before departing, participants will meet with their families and management teams on February 3rd to develop a plan and a commitment of support for their workshop efforts.

Craig Smith of Retained Earnings is sponsoring the February 3rd meeting and reception at the Holiday Inn, Appleton. In addition to the business of preparing for the workshop, participants will learn about the region, eat and drink some Italian specialties, and learn a little Italian.

Franca Barricelli, assistant professor at UW Oshkosh and Craig's Italian language instructor, has agreed to help us with some essential phrases, e.g., "How much does this cost?," "What's for dinner?," "Where's the water closet?," "How do I get to Grand Hotel Cristallo?" etc. Everyone is guaranteed an informative and enjoyable evening.

Perspective Taking: an intergenerational challenge

Paul Karofsky, Executive Director of the Center for Family Business at Northeastern University, Boston, led this dynamic workshop on November 10 at Liberty Hall in Kimberly.

Karofsky challenged workshop participants to consider the greatest family-related concerns of their generation and the other generations in their businesses. Through challenging small group discussions and case studies, participants developed an extensive list of concerns.

After identifying the concerns, Karofsky led the group to recognize the things that made the other generations concerns difficult to deal with. The distinction between parenting and mentoring, differing goals, control issues, and entitlement issues were among those identified and discussed.

Other issues raised for future discussions included the consideration of minority interests, a value-based compensation model, a 360o evaluation process, and family member incompetence.

Following the workshop, the Forum compiled the identified concerns and other discussion items and distributed the compilation to all the Forum members for their continued consideration and action.

When asked, "What did you like best about the workshop?", we were told...

  the final case studies with specific questions and answers.

  the interaction with the presenter and participants to consider the issues.

  the presenter's personal family business experiences and stories added credibility and


  Paul's recommended solutions.

  Paul's nine steps.

  interactive use of real life stories.

  the issues covered hit the mark.

  showed and pointed out both points of view.

  gave a lot of ideas and things to think about.

Program Calendar
Date/Time Topic/Event Presenter
Jan. 27
7-10 a.m.
Styles and Patterns
of Communication
Catherine Lindsay & Pat Nichols
Mar. 10-18 Creating & Preserving A Family Tradition (Cervinia Italy)*  
Apr. 11
7 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Which Comes First- the Family or the Business John L. Ward
May 8 A Family Heritage Paul Hoffman

*Fee for this workshop is in addition to the membership fee.

Proud sponsors of the Wisconsin Family Business Forum:

First National Bank - Fox Valley has a competitive advantage of developing strong, close customer relationships, especially in the niche of family owned businesses. Thanks to a dedicated staff, FNB has completed its 110th year of providing financial services to the people and businesses of the Fox Valley.

Grant Thornton LLP is an international accounting and management consulting firm with offices throughout the United States and in over 97 countries worldwide. Their mission is to be the leading global organization creating, enhancing, and preserving wealth for entrepreneurial companies and the people who own and run them. Grant Thornton accomplishes this by providing business, tax and financial services that deliver measurable value to their clients.

McCarty, Curry, Wydeven, Peeters & Haak has been serving the legal needs of large and small family businesses in northeast Wisconsin since 1949. The firm's services include all aspects of business and corporate law, real estate, complex estate planning, commercial and personal litigation, as well as general practice.

Retained Earnings Company/MassMutual-The Blue Chip Company has 144 years of service and recognized excellence in providing family owned businesses with the product tools that allow for the confident construction of estate and business succession plans. The firm brings experience, education, empathy and motivation to clients' quest for financial growth and security. Acknowledged as the premier provider of pension and investment products, life and health insurance.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business Administration, Oshkosh provides undergraduate and graduate education with a wide array of outreach services to benefit economic development in northeast Wisconsin. The faculty and staff of the College of Business Administration are professionals dedicated to being quality teachers, accessible to students; furthering knowledge through research; and serving as valuable resources to the University and community. A key strength of the college is providing professional expertise through personal contact among students, faculty, and members of the community.

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Vol. 3 No. 4 New Briefs (c) 2000
Wisconsin Family Business Forum
Editor: Susan Schierstedt (920) 424-2257
800 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, WI 54901