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Atlanta Succession Planning

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Atlanta, Georgia

       850.294.3042 (T)
       407.578.4480 (F)

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T. Jeffrey Faulkner, M.S

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Jeff’s private practice in the counseling industry allowed him to gain specialized experience in working with families in crisis and achieving mutually satisfactory resolution of significant family dynamic issues.

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David Weaver, CEC

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David's career spans over 30 years as a successful business executive, where he specialized in the launch and growth of independent startups and new business units across multiple industries. In these roles, he worked with CEOs and executive management to achieve aggressive growth goals and prepare their organizations for eventual sale.

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Using a Revocable Trust for the Sake of Asset Continuity

One of the most powerful truths I have learned in working with family owned businesses, is that the world of entrepreneurialism moves at a very rapid pace. I have not worked as an employee of a company for 20 years, but my recollection is that being an employee was a more forgiving place, at times with little sense of urgency. Those workers with an “employee mind-set” were more concerned with making sure they got their ½ hour lunch breaks, 15 minute breaks every 4 hours, and punching the clock right on time. The world of entrepreneurs doesn’t work that way. It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There’s a reason entrepreneurs are referred to as “movers and shakers.”  They eat, sleep, and breathe their business.

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Why Use a Revocable Trust

In my travels around the country working with family owned companies, I am always amazed at the significant and very public role these entrepreneurs play in their communities. Because of this we often recommend the use of revocable living trusts as a part of their succession planning environment. I’m also frequently amazed at the pushback on this powerful planning tool that we get from local attorneys. In one recent situation, our client’s attorney told our client that we did not understand this particular state’s laws and that probate in this state is not a big deal.

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Revocable Trust - It's Now or Later

Having heard, on multiple occasions, from local attorneys that probate is not a big deal, and knowing from experience that, indeed, probate is a big, fat, hairy, expensive, time intensive, insensitive, and emotionally challenging deal, I have asked these attorneys to share with me, from their perspective, just one compelling reason to not use a revocable trust.  Here are the two most common responses I have received:

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Changing Culture by Creating It

As I've said in the previous two posts, the Arizona immigration law is highlighting the obsession our country has with our perceived civil rights with little to no acknowledgement of our responsibilities.  Even to the point of extending these civil rights to individuals who are not legal citizens of our country. No matter where you stand, it’s a very interesting dilemma without an easy solution, because our country is the great American melting pot.

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Likability or Accountability - Do You Have the Right People Driving Your Organization?

In my last two posts, Likability or Accountability: Leadership and The Right People- I discussed the idea that there are several businesses I’m currently working with that are performing and several that are not. The difference between the two is that they either have a culture of likability or a culture of accountability.  The immediate differences between the two suggested differences in leadership, people, and focus on results.

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Successor Development: You've Selected Your Successor, Now What?

Now that you have successfully selected your successor, what do you do? If you’re developing a family member successor, the most important thing is to have them go work somewhere else before entering the family business. Learning how to be an employee in a place where your last name means nothing is very valuable.

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Successor Development: 5 Key Indicators for Evaluating a Successor

Once there are available successor candidates, business owners should take a less instinctive approach to selecting a successor from the candidates by evaluating some key traits. We refer to these traits as the 5 Cs: Character, Confidence, Capability, Competence, and Community.

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Successor Development: There Has to Be One Available

Business owners frequently select their successors with an intuitive approach, or based on experience-informed “gut” feel. Most of the time they’re pretty good at it, but when it comes to evaluating a successor for a family business, the family relationship dynamic inevitably clouds a business owners evaluation. There are emotional entanglements that get in the way of their well-grounded intuition. So to help business owners be less instinctive and more intentional and consciously competent in selecting a successor, there are some key indicators to look for in identifying a successor for your business.

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Wipe Out Enablement Attitudes - Rights Versus Responsibilities

No matter where you stand on the immigration law, one thing is painstakingly clear. Our country is obsessed with protecting everyone’s rights with little to no concern for their responsibilities. Somehow we seem to suffer from affluence guilt that leads us to feel it is our responsibility to take care of everyone on the planet, and perhaps more accurately, that everyone on the planet has a right to be cared for by the U.S. 

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How to Break the Power of Addiction

In my last post, I discussed the cycle of addiction, which is a common issue I see in working with families and businesses. As a reminder, the cycle consists of several parts: some negative emotion, triggers, rituals, acting out, and back to the negative emotion.

To start breaking the power of addiction you must identify the various aspects of your addictive behavior as it relates to the cycle above. A good way to approach this is to start with the seemingly trite statement I made in my last post that “the only way to break the power of the addiction is to stop engaging in the behavior.”

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Understanding the Cycle of Addiction

Do you have any bad habits? If your immediate response was no, then you might consider that you have a bad habit of lying. The truth is we all have bad habits and sometimes those habits can turn into addictions. In my work with family businesses I frequently interact with people who are addicted to something. Sometimes it’s a functional addiction and sometimes destructive.

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Successor Development - How Good is Good Enough?

I was recently in a meeting with a son of a business owner, who was the identified 3rd generation successor leader to his family’s business. We were talking about some communication challenges he was having with his dad. His dad is a larger than life kind of guy, one whose shoes are hard to fill.  So, I asked, “What seems to be causing the difficulties?”

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Why You Should Stay Engaged, Even After You Exited the Business

I was recently in a meeting with a father and his three sons working on developing some reasonable expectations between them. Dad was in the process of transferring stock in the family business to his boys. Being that partners are much different than father/son or boss/employee, they needed to clearly define their expectations.  I started out with what I thought was a relatively benign question of the eldest son – “What do you like most about working with your dad?”  His answer led us down a path of discussion that I could not have orchestrated if I were a magician.

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Dream for Success - How to Turn Your Dreams Into Successes

In my last post, I told you that I have a unique advantage of working with the leaders of America. I also have the unique opportunity of working with their successors. One of the hardest things to do in this environment is convey the years of experience and the intuitive business sense of a current leader to the next generation.  So, I try to learn from these leaders to determine what it is that they have that can help the younger generation bridge the gap of inexperience. The first essential for success that I shared in the first post is that they take personal responsibility.

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Personal Responsiblitily - How Successful People Leverage This Characteristic

Conveying the seemingly intuitive business sense that comes from years of experience is a leadership trait that cannot be had by any other method than experience.  Closely related to the gaining of experience is that business leaders have learned to take initiative.  Without initiative they would not have learned some tough lessons along the way that, in essence, is what experience is all about.

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Essentials for Success: Anticipation

In my last post, I told you that I have a unique advantage of working with the leaders of America. I also have the unique opportunity of working with their successors. One of the hardest things to do in this environment is convey the years of experience and the intuitive business sense of a current leader to the next generation.  So, I try to learn from these leaders to determine what it is that they have that can help the younger generation bridge the gap of inexperience. The first essential for success that I shared in the first post is that they take personal responsibility.

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Why Family Governance Should Not be Overlooked

In my first post on this issue I said that the reason for exploring family dynamics is precisely because family issues compel business decisions. I just got off an hour long phone conversation with a client regarding generational attitude differences between her generation and the 3rd generation family member employees. The mental health issue that has brought this to the forefront is that one of the G3 family members just admitted himself, at the urging of other family members, into a drug rehab facility.

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Dig Deep Into Family Dynamics - There May Be A Mental Health Issue At Play

Not too long ago a client asked, after our initial review of the family succession planning environment, where his family stood on the weirdness scale. Well, weirdness is not really the issue, but optimization of human functioning and relationships is of paramount importance. The reason I tell clients that we pry into family dynamics is precisely because family issues compel business decisions. Little did I know 8 years ago when I entered succession planning for family owned businesses as a career how helpful my background as a professional counselor would be. In my next three posts I’ll describe several scenarios and the impact on the business planning environment.

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In-Laws - You Can be a Positive or Negative Force, Your Choice!

The second step to navigating the role of an in-law in the family business environment is to seek to understand the family’s unwritten laws -  if you don’t know them, you will not know whether you are about to break them.  Knowing the laws allows you to discover how to best live within them, and potentially even have a positive influence on those laws over time. However, you must understand as an in-law that no one has asked you to come in and be the rescuer and change all of the dysfunctional dynamics that occur in your spouse’s family.

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Likability or Accountability - Do You Have the Right People Driving Your Organization?

In my last post, "Effective Leadership - Are Your People Loyal to You or Your Vision," I discussed the idea that there are several businesses with which I’m currently working that are performing and several that are not. The difference between the two is that they either have a culture of likability or a culture of accountability. The immediate differences between the two suggested differences in leadership, people, and focus on results.

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1817 Hits