01 Nov California…my new favorite place to do business
The apocalyptic firestorm that descended upon Napa Valley a few weeks ago forced the Annual Meeting for the PMPA to be moved to downtown San Francisco. Thankfully, the resort where the conference was originally booked, the Meritage Resort & Spa, was not directly impacted by the fires. And yet, the surrounding air quality problems prompted the move to the Hotel Nikko in Union Square.
Aside from the horrible tragedy in Napa, this was a very significant trip for me. For one thing, it was my 6th trip to California this year – easily smashing any previous record of mine. It was also my 4th speaking gig in the Golden State this year. As I say in the header, California is fast becoming my favorite place to do business!
Based in Brecksville, Ohio – a suburb of Cleveland – the PMPA (or Precision Manufacturing Products Association) is a trade industry group in which 75% of its membership is family-based. Many of the PMPA families – I found out – are grappling with the exact same topic as my talk that day…how to pass on their business assets to the next generation without creating problems in the family. The key to it, as I explained, lies in the creation of a system of self-governance for the family firm. I began the presentation by going through the well-worn failure rates for the family enterprise, which are greater than the divorce rate. From there, we quickly moved into the topic at hand – how to create Governance for the Family Firm. We talked in depth about the following areas:
• The importance of a Family Wealth Constitution
• How to create a Family Wealth Constitution
• The advantage of having an outside board of advisors
• What is a Family Council?
• How do we establish a Family Council?
• The importance of Shared Vision
I met so many great people from the upper Midwest this weekend. As much as we all enjoyed being in San Francisco, nobody was actually from there. Most hailed from places like Ohio, Michigan or Minnesota. One in particular was the Ahola Company, which proudly refers to itself as “America’s Oldest Family Enterprise Payroll Company.” Ahola is now a 3rd generation family-owned business and has obviously done something right. From my perspective, one of the best things they’ve done is support groups like the PMPA and committing themselves to what I call “life-long learning.”
The other thing that made the trip special for me was the chance to co-present with my new friend and colleague, Dr. Stacy Feiner. Stacy is an accomplished business psychologist and coach and after I saw her presentation…wow, it shows! Sharing the same stage with a terrific presenter like Dr. Feiner was an honor for me. By the way, Dr. Feiner’s new book, Talent Mindset, can be found here on Amazon.
Overall, this was just a great trip as I enjoyed the opportunity to work with a new colleague. I sure hope that Dr. Feiner enjoys my book, Texas Patriarch – A Legacy Lost as much as I am going to enjoy hers.