Institute For Family Business

      Kent Lutz- Advisors To Families In Business
Assessment Survey

                        Family Business Assessment Survey


                              Institute for Family Business


Succession, Management, and Tax Planning


     What are your thoughts on the ultimate ownership of the business-that is, how will     

      It be allocated among the next generation and who will own what?



  1.  Who will become the  next management leadership team of the business-both family and non-family and what will be their roles and responsibilities?




  1. What needs to be done to groom and develop the next leadership management team(both family and non-family) to assure the profitable future of the business?




  1. What is the most pressing management issue or issues facing the business right now? What needs to be done immediately to address this issue(s)?




  1. Does the senior generation have adequate resources to financially support itself outside the business? If not, what needs to be done to address this issue?



  1. Does the next generation have adequate financial resources coming directly from the business to support their financial needs? If not what alternatives are there to address this matter and should it really be a concern of the business itself?





  1. What annual expectations does the next generation have regarding incentive compensation or otherwise promised compensation coming from the business?




  1. Does the senior generation estate plan address methods of transferring control and ownership of the business to the next generation? If so, what are they, if not, what are some thoughts of the senior generation/next generation?





  1. What are your current strategies for saving taxes-both short term and long term?





  1. What expectations does the senior generation have of the next generation family members regarding job performance, compensation, ownership, communications, business strategy, and leadership requirements? What expectations does the next generation have of the senior generation regarding business strategy, succession planning, and communications?






  1. When did you last value your business? For what purpose? How will the ultimate





11. Who may own stock in the business? Are there any rules regarding ownership,

such as you must be active in the business before you can have any ownership.




12. Do you have any different classes of stock? If so, what are they and what are the restrictions, if any?


Business Planning



  1. What do you see as the very best opportunity to grow the business over the next 3-5 years?





  1. What obstacles might prevent you from growing your business?



  1. What resources will be needed to succeed in growing your business?




  1. Who will be the key people(both family and non family) in growing your business and what will their specific roles be?





  1. What great threats does your competition offer and how will you deal with them?



  1. What technology do you currently have that does or can enhance your business efficiency? Do you utilize this technology? If so how? If not, why not?




  1. What is your sales and marketing plan for the next year and 3-5 years out? What is needed to make sure you are on target with your sales and marketing plan?




  1. What innovative ways have you developed to sell and market your products and services? What new ways do you need to approach sales and marketing?




  1. Are there any other ways you can grow the business over the next 3-5 years.



  1. Where are some very specific areas that you can reduce expenses that will not impact morale of current workforce or cause substantial turnover?




  1. What is your number one employee problem and how do you plan to address it?





  1. What are the key management positions in the company that are critical  to the continued success of the business?





  1. How can you be sure to retain those key management people in order to make sure the business runs smoothly?



  1. Do you feel that you could leave the business for a period of six months without the business falling in around you? If not why not and what should be done to address this fact?



  1. Are there clear job descriptions for all key positions and how are these key positions evaluated on their performance?



  1. How do you encourage teamwork among the management team? Are there regular management meetings and sales meetings? If so, how often, and what is achieved? If not, why not, and when should such meetings begin and lead by whom?





  1. Do you have an annual budget that you develop and track on a monthly basis? If not, who should develop and monitor such budget.




  1. Do you develop annual strategies for moving the business forward and longer term strategies looking at the bigger vision? Who is part of this process?





  1. Do you have a mission and vision statement for the business? If so, what do they say and do they reflect the current state of the business?





  1. What training procedures do you have for your employees? Who manages the training process?





  1. How are you able to attract and retain great non family managers?




  1. Do you have a Chief Financial Officer on board? Is that a critical role for the company at this point? Why or why not?



Family Dynamics



  1. What are some of the shared common values, trust, and respect between family members?





  1. What method of communications do you have between family? If none, what would you like to see develop in this regard?





  1. If conflict arises how do you normally deal with it?





  1. What is the basis for most conflict within the family?





  1. What specific conflict issues exist between family members that could threaten the success of the business?





  1. Do you actively listen to one another or just have a one way street of listening-your own?



  1. What are the family values that you believe are important to really impacting the business?





  1. Are family members allowed to express their own interest and talents or are they mostly dictated to?



  1. How is personal development encouraged of family members, to make them a better member of the team?



  1. How do you deal with the issue of split loyalty of family members who have a passion to support the family business but pursue outside interests as well that may or may not interfere with their performance on the job?




  1. Do you have clear boundaries between family business roles and the family? If not how can this be improved?





  1. How do you keep your ownership role and management role distinct?





  1. How do you approach the issue of Fairness between family members both in the business and/or those that may not be in the business? Is fair always equal and if not how do you deal with it?





  1. Do you have a Buy/Sell agreement in place? If so what does it say? If not, why not?





  1. Do you have a common family vision for the business over the next 5-10 years.                          

If so, briefly describe. If not what would you like it to be?


  1. How important to the family and the business is it to be philanthropic in the

Community?  Do you have a private family foundation? Would you ever

consider having a private family foundation as a means of organizing and

administering your community philanthropy?



Compensation Standards and Development



  1. How are compensation standards developed in the company?



  1. How are family members evaluated for their performance? How about non family members?





  1. Do you use performance and market practices as your basis for compensation?






  1. Do you distinguish between compensation received as an employee versus an owner. If so how do you do that? If not, why not?




  1.  How does the next generation build self worth and confidence to become the future leaders of the business?



  1. How do you encourage adult development of your family members rather than assuming the parent/child role? Do you have any suggestions on what could be done to improve in this area? What opportunities are afforded non family members to develop their professional skills?





  1. Do you use any clear rules and policies regarding advancement and promotion of both family members and non family members?





  1. Do you have any measurement tools to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your management team? Have you ever used any type of assessment tools to evaluate leadership capabilities? If so, which ones? If not, is this an area you would like to explore?





  1. Do you have any rules for family members entering the business? If so, what are they.



  1. What happens if a family member does not meet expectations? How do you deal with that?




  1. What procedures do you follow to hire key management positions for the Company?







The Following Questions Or Statements Focus On Conflict Issues- Please Indicate, From Your Perspective, Number 1-7, How True Each Question Or Statement Is -The Scale Is From 1(Strongly Disagree) To 7(Strongly Agree)

1-Strongly Disagree; 2-Disagree; 3-Somewhat Disagree; 4-Neither Agree Or Disagree; 5-Somewhat Agree; 6-Agree; 7-Strongly Agree


When Conflict  Occurs In Your Organization, Those In Conflict Tend To……


  1. Disagree without becoming angry-
  2. Openly share relevant information, rather than secretively withhold it-
  3. Go directly to the person with whom they are in conflict to resolve it-
  4. Get together on their own to resolve the conflict cooperatively-
  5. Avoid others with whom they are upset-
  6. Keep score and try to get even-
  7. Know how to resolve conflicts cooperatively-
  8. Avoid dealing with conflict directly by complaining to others-
  9. Take personal responsibility for resolving conflicts to the mutual satisfaction of all parties-
  10. Work together to find an agreeable solution-
  11. Withhold information that may be needed by others-
  12. Get someone else to take care of solving the conflict for them-
  13. Approach conflict as a  competition to be won-
  14. Engage in gossip and feed the rumor mill-


In Conflict Situations In Your Organization……..


  1. Employees often use threats to get their way-
  2. Reprimands tend to occur publicly(in front of others)-
  3. Powerful people often in conflicts by dominating others-
  4. Managers tend to dictate solutions when they are in conflict with employees they supervise-
  5. Hostile arguments between people happen frequently-
  6. People gang up to pressure those with whom they disagree-
  7. Managers often use threats to get employees to do what the managers want to do-


In Your Organization……..


  1. Managers make the decision when there is a conflict between employees-
  2. People don’t seem to notice when conflicts occur-
  3. There is no formal process for effectively resolving conflicts-
  4. People are apathetic-they don’t seem to care about anything-
  5. People pretend everything is ok even though everyone knows there are unresolved problems
  6. People pretend conflicts don’t exist-
  7. People tend to recognize conflicts early and resolve them before they escalate into major problems


W. Kent Lutz

Institute for Family Business  (513) 314-7561
Assessment Survey Copyright Protected 2008. No use permitted without permission from The Lutz Institute, LLC  and the Institute for Family Business.
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