It's not about paying less tax By: John FastFarm Succession - The web site for farmers in transition
...By: John Fast
...That was the message at the conference from John Fast, Executive Director and founder of the Centre for Family Business at the University of Waterloo (the first of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in North America).
Click here to view presentationClick here for a video recording of this presentation Click here for the CD John Fast,Centre for Family Business
That complexity can lead to a lot of conflict but Fast
said if family members first define their overall objectives, the process will be clearer and easier.For families in which religion is important, he's
gone as far as to start meetings with a prayer dedicated to harmony, peace and love (or other values the family may have)."That way," said Fast
, "if conflict arises, you can go back to the core values so that everybody can get back on track.It's important to have the family create a set of values," from which business discussions can be based.
The "Fast" system for succession planningFast
has helped hundreds of families over the years using his
technique of identifying values first, but he
also uses a systematic approach that helps families "ease into" the whole process.
It begins with interviewing all family members separately to assess individual needs and preferences.Then, he
brings the family together and tries to make the gathering humourous and fun."Get the real issues on the table as early as possible" he
But families are not always open.Fast cautioned that advisors will run into cases where there has been abuse or mental illness in the family and in such cases it may be necessary to call in a psychologist, counsellor or other appropriate professional.
"I always have a list of various professionals I can call upon if need be."
In the majority of cases, the most difficult challenge, said Fast
, is what he
called "founderitis (founder-eye-tis): "This is a new virus I have detected in which the founder of the business cannot let go.It's usually because of fear that someone else might run the business better than they do."But the children taking over the farm are not without their fears as well.
As much as the owner wants to retain an identity, the children need to have their own sense of independence and identity.
put it this way: "Many of the adult children, aged 18 to 35, feel trapped.Their life task is to become independent but often, just as they get their own home and build their own families, the family farm pulls them back in."His
point?Understand the human dynamics of the family first before offering solutions.And his
advice: Encourage clients to be as open as possible.
said many families want a quick resolution but in fact, most succession planning takes two to five years.
Developed and hosted by:Galbraith Communications