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Table of Contents for "Keep the Family Baggage Out of the Family Business:  Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins That Destroy Family Businesses"


What's Causing This Mess?

The Family System, the Business System, and the Accompanying Baggage

Part I begins by giving readers a general overview of what family businesses are and outlines some of the problems that families encounter when they work together. Chapter 2 presents a key argument of the book – that the attributes of a healthy and happy family are fundamentally opposed to those of an effective and successful business, explaining why businesses and families require different behaviors and illustrating the problems that are created when families try to impose family attributes onto their business. It also introduces the concept of "family baggage" and presents the main theme of the book – that any dysfunctional patterns in the family will be recreated in their business with disastrous results. Chapter 3 explains why conflicts in family businesses are so intense, and ends with a questionnaire that enables readers to assess the health of any family business.

Chapter 1: Why You Need to Read This Book

Chapter 2: Systems and Baggage

Chapter 3: When Worlds Collide: The Family System Meets the Business System


We Have Seen the Enemy, and He Is Us:

The Seven Deadly Sins That Destroy Family Businesses

Part II presents a series of seven syndromes – the "Seven Deadly Sins" – that occur when the family's baggage is allowed to run rampant through their business. These syndromes are not presented in any other book – they are the unique contribution that this book makes to the knowledge of family businesses. Each chapter presents a separate syndrome and its variations. A summary table is presented at the end of each chapter as a quick reference tool.

Chapter 4: "It's the Same Old Song"

Chapter 5: "We're One Big, Happy Family"

Chapter 6: "They May Have Become Adults, but They'll Always Be My Children"

Chapter 7: "You're Not Loyal to This Family If You Insist on Being Selfish"

Chapter 8: Father Knows Best?

Chapter 9: "Maybe It Will Go Away If We Ignore It"

Chapter 10: "Tell Me About Your Childhood"


Succession: A Battleground unto Itself

Part III illustrates the emotional issues that confront family businesses as they undergo succession and presents solutions to help overcome the problems created by these issues. In addition, it is integrated with the key themes of this book – family systems, business systems and family baggage. This approach differs from all other family business books – books that focus exclusively on tax and accounting aspects of succession.

Chapter 11: Certain Problems Are Inherent to Succession

Chapter 12: The Baggage Returns in Time for Succession

Chapter 13: Evolutionary Versus Revolutionary Succession

Chapter 14: Successful Succession


It Comes with the Territory: Other Problems Inherent in Family Businesses

Part IV explores problems that arise just because the business is a family business. It begins with problems caused by non-family members (i.e., managers and employees), followed by chapters focusing on problems caused by family members exerting unwanted influence over the business and other types of baggage-related obstacles. The final chapter highlights problems that are unique to businesses owned and operated by newly arrived immigrants.

Chapter 15: They've Stayed Too Long at the Fair: Long-Tenured Managers and Employees

Chapter 16: Interlopers, Consorts, and Other Undesirable Meddlers

Chapter 17: Baggage du Jour

Chapter 18: The American Dream Versus the Family Nightmare


All Is Not Lost: Recommendations and Solutions

This book concludes with a series of chapters that help strengthen family businesses, giving readers practical recommendations that can be implemented. Chapter 19 highlights the most critical drawback that family businesses encounter when they try to obtain help, and provides a new approach that avoids this drawback. Chapter 20 presents a new framework for evaluating peoples' skills, followed by a chapter that provides guidance on how these peoples' skills can be developed. Chapter 22 tells family businesses how to select the best consultants to help them overcome their problems, followed by a chapter outlining other resources available to family businesses. Chapter 24 discusses a series of legal documents that are often needed by family businesses, and the final chapter encapsulates key pieces of advice into a format that summarizes the main themes of the book.

Chapter 19: Create a Council of Advisors

Chapter 20: Create a Strong Team to Run the Company

Chapter 21: Develop a Strong Team

Chapter 22: The Right Consultant Is Critical to Your Success

Chapter 23: Additional Sources of Expertise

Chapter 24: Put It in Writing

Chapter 25: Final Thoughts

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