Articles

All articles are copyrighted ©2013 by Dean R. Fowler, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved. The technical information in these articles is necessarily brief. No final conclusions on these topics should be drawn without further review and consultation.

Additional articles of interest may be found in the Resources section of this Web-site.

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  • Interdisciplinary Advisory Teams The Family Business Practitioner published this article by Dean Fowler on the importance of using family business advisors with strong interdisciplinary fluency and expertise.
  • Designing Legacies (04-18-2012)
    Dean Fowler Associates provides a wide range of services designed to build lasting legacies for families-in-business.
  • Affluenza – Dealing with Family Wealth (09-15-2009) Most families have difficulty discussing money – a taboo subject. While wealth is often an “undiscussable,” having straight forward conversations about wealth and the inherent responsibilities of wealth is the best vaccine that families can inject into their lives together.
  • The Marshmallow Effect (09-15-2009)
    The Marshmallow Effect occurs when young heirs allow themselves to be absorbed by a sweet, comfortable, and ultimately soft option that is extremely easy to get into, but almost impossible to escape from, according to one young family member considering joining the family business.
  • The Deal Sheet (09-15-2009)
    A sample spreadsheet used to negotiate “grants” from parents to their adult children as based on the book by Ken Kaye – “Trust Me: Helping Our Young Adults Financially.”
  • Transition Planning (03-31-2009)
    Good News in a Bad Economy.Make sure that your estate planning encompasses not only the legal avenues to minimize taxation, but equally important, that you have a common vision as a family across generations that makes sense.
  • Family Inc. – A New TV Program (03-31-2009)
    An engaging new television series that profiles successful family-owned companies is set to join the line-up of innovative and entertaining television shows produced by Discover Mediaworks — best known for its popular flagship program, Discover Wisconsin, which is the state’s longest-running television show and airs nationwide via network, cable and satellite.
  • Sibling Rivalry -Emotional or Strategic? (10-27-2008)
    Is the rivalry at your business emotional or strategic, or perhaps a combination of both. Until you know what form the rivalry is taking, you can’t implement the proper solutions.
  • The Prime Minister – Leading Sibling Teams (10-27-2008)
    To be an effective leader of a sibling or cousin team, a family member must create a “vote of confidence” among all shareholders, similar to the role of the Prime Minister.
  • Holistic Estate Planning (05-01-2008) An in depth article on the nature of holistic estate planning as an alternative to the more traditional approach that does not engage the entire family in the process.
  • Roadmap Research Paper (04-15-2008)
    ABSTRACT: Using principal components analysis and Cronbach Alpha analysis, our research determined eleven key factors which emerged from participants’ responses to questions in The Family Business Roadmapl™. Based on the questionnaire responses by 504 participants from 78 different family businesses, eleven primary factors where determined. In particular, the research results indicate that family culture and business practices are interrelated and that management succession dynamics provide an excellent focal point for integrating these two primary factors.
  • The Comprehensive Family Business Roadmap (01-29-2008) Much like an MRI reveals the inner structure and function of the body to an astute physician, the new Family Business Roadmap™ and Family Wealth Roadmap™ from Dean Fowler Associates penetrates the inner workings of a family business. It reveals to the owners not only the degree of success along critical dimensions of business achievement, but also the degree of agreement and harmony among owners, managers, family members and advisors.
  • The Voting Control Dilemma (01-29-2008)
    “What should I do with my voting control? I have developed an excellent estate plan to deal with my non-voting stock and to minimize my estate tax exposure. But now I am wondering if I should transfer or sell the voting stock to only those family members employed in management positions in the business, or if I should I transfer it equally to all of my adult children based on their equal ownership rather than their management roles?”This dilemma confronts the senior generation in family-owned businesses repeatedly, especially when the operating company is their primary asset and the estate plan is structured to transfer 90% of the equity equally to all members of the next generation as well as their grandchildren through generation skipping trusts.
  • Working On the Business (10-15-2007) At a recent meeting of the Forum for Family Business, members discussed the importance of working “ON” rather than “IN” the business.
  • Succession Planning (10-15-2007) Succession planning must include the entire family to design a vision for both the family and the business.
  • Seven Habits Check Sheet (10-08-2007)
    Take this quick check sheet to determine if the successors in your family business are ready for the challenge.
  • The Family Implications of Trusts (06-04-2007)
    The use of trusts for family business transition planning is becoming increasingly popular. Trusts have many positive benefits including the minimization of transfer taxes, protection of assets from creditors, and creating a fiduciary responsibility to manage assets for a beneficiary. And in fact, The Uniform Trust Code (UTC) (amended in 2003) increases these fiduciary responsibilities of trustees. Recent changes in the law now permit greater flexibility in the design of trusts that can encourage a more proactive approach for the beneficiaries. Yet while there are distinct tax planning advantages to the use of trusts, they often undermine successful family development and the growth of responsible adults.
  • CFO Best Practices (04-24-2007)
    A summary of the ideas generated during the Forum discussion at the seminar on the Role of the CFO sponsored by Dean Fowler Associates, Inc. and LauberCFOs.
  • The Board and the Family Council (01-30-2007) This article explores how the Board of Directors interfaces with the Family Council, in order to provide an integration between the goals of the family and the effective management of the business.
  • The Amazing Life (01-30-2007)
    In order for a family business to continue into the next generation, the vision, passion, and dreams of the successors must be clearly articulated.
  • Successful Habits of Successors (11-10-2006)
    An article published in Family Business Magazine by Dean Fowler on the seven habits of highly successful successors.
  • Underperformance of Eldest Sons (10-05-2006)
    Recent research projects by the National Bureau of Economic Research1 compared the performance of family-owned business under the leadership of the eldest son and those lead by a non-family president. The findings of the research indicate that family-owned companies run by outsiders outperformed companies run by the eldest son by 12% on several key indicators.
  • Desiging Family Business Continuity (10-05-2006)
    Families should design plans for transitions of both ownership and management that meet the goals and objectives of the whole family, not just to minimize estate tax exposure.
  • Outside Boards (08-14-2006) The role of outside Board members in family owned companies.
  • Family Business Statistics (08-14-2006)
    Questions to ask yourself in the context of statistical information on family owned companies.
  • Great Family Businesses (06-19-2006)
    Great family business share a commitment to four essential principles: stewardship, strategy, shared values and philanthropy.
  • Fair Pay (06-17-2006) A discussion of compensation for family members in family business.
  • The Comprehensive Family Roadmps (06-01-2006)
    A comprehensive audit of your family business through the perspective of your key stakeholders — family members, non-family managers, and advisors.
  • Forum Issue Formulation (06-01-2006)
    A copy of the Issue Formulation Sheet and Guidelines for Identifying topics for developing a presentation for The Forum for Family Business Meetings.
  • Family Employment (05-08-2006) Sooner or later, every business owner asks: “Should family members join the business?” Whether it’s your spouse, your siblings or your children, hiring family members has both advantages and disadvantages, and it is perhaps the biggest challenge a business owner faces regarding management
  • The Role of the Owner (05-08-2006) At a recent meeting of the Forum for Family Business, a round-table of owners discussed their roles now that their businesses have become successful and are being lead by a team of professional managers, including members of the next generation.”What’s my role now?” one member of the Forum posed to the other owners in the Forum.
  • The Family Council (05-07-2006)
    Families in business are unique. While similar to any public corporation competing in the market place, they are fundamentally different in one important and vital regard…their family. As owners and managers, family members – a passionate group – have the power to shape the future success of their family enterprise.
  • The Family Forum (01-15-2005) JP Morgan Private Banking in a recent survey found that families that have regular formal family meetings have a better chance of multi-generation continuity. This January 2005 issue of our newsletter outlines the four key benefits of establishing regular family meetings.
  • The Bermuda Triangle (02-04-2003)
    Dynamics in family business often fail when “triangles” are established through three way communication patterns. This issue of Crossroads outlines methods to improve communication within your family business.