Ignoring the Elephant in the Living Room

Published on: 10:05AM Aug 06, 2008
Overused, yes.  Clichéd, yes.  Appropriate?  Absolutely yes.

"The elephant in the living room" refers to a great big messy situation - a condition so big it's obvious to everyone, yet so potentially messy that no one wants to mention it.  The emotional landmines associated with owning and managing a family business  - be it a farm, agribusiness or factory - are like the proverbial elephant in the living room.

We know categorically that most businesses fail in the transition from one generation to the next due to factors including, but not limited to, inadequate estate planning, insufficient capitalization or failure to prepare the next generation. But years of study and professional observation teach a more immediate lesson. 
Many family businesses do not pass to a successive generation due, in large part to a complete lack of constructive communication.  >>