Larry Grypp, President of the Goering Center
For years we have encouraged, even prodded owners of family businesses to have an outside board of advisors, to have non-family members as part of that board, and to recognize the importance of a well-understood succession plan in the event the current CEO is unable to serve.
That may have been a mistake. The error was not in the direction -- all of that still matters -- but to whom it may matter more.
We have recently completed work that assesses the needs of Goering Center member companies. These assessments, collected and analyzed over five years, asked business owners and their senior staff a range of questions designed to unearth the issues, obstacles and aspirations of those businesses so they can enroll in the right programs here at the Center. The survey covers topics ranging from engagement to strategy, and from culture to execution. All the basics of a healthy business.
What came out of that analysis was startling. The top three rated areas -- where nearly 80 percent or more of the respondents agreed or agreed strongly — had to do with whether they understand their role and responsibilities, whether they feel empowered to make decisions in that role, and that they understand where and by whom decisions were made.
Those insights stand in sharp contrast to the lowest rated items in the survey – scoring from 19 to 31 percent agreement: