Our intervention model is rooted in organizational theory and research, and shaped by over 40 years of experience with the very practical dilemmas of hundreds of families around the world.
We have a core technology that we adapt to every consultation, focused on meeting the immediate needs expressed by the clients, but also looking ahead to the demands of the near and distant future.
A typical relationship begins with an initial assessment (the LGA Continuity Audit), which leads into a phase of intensive planning and organizational change. We then follow-up to monitor progress over the long-term and discuss new concerns and needs as they arise.
During our engagements, our focus is always on the continuity of the entire system, including the family, ownership and the business. Together with our clients, we address the unique challenges and dilemmas that arise within each of these fundamental areas of a complex family enterprise.
Common services we provide
Choosing the next leadership of the family enterprise has never been more important, or more difficult. Family businesses today face the daunting challenge of changing leaders at a time of rapid technological change and increased competitive pressures from globalization. Our aim at LGA is to help succession transitions succeed for the long term because they respond to the deepest aspirations for continuity -- both for their enterprises and for their families.
Governance is the primary focus of our work. While a strong Board of Directors may be necessary for managing a complex family business, that is only one aspect of governance design. A well-functioning governance system includes all of the structures, policies, and processes that build trust among the key stakeholders — the family, the shareholders, the Board and the senior management — and provides effective decision-making for the benefit of the enterprise and its owners.
Family-controlled companies, whether privately held or publicly traded, have always struggled with board design and process. There are few resources specifically targeted at the particular dilemmas of directors in family businesses: appropriate representation of concentrated ownership, role clarification of family and independent directors, oversight of senior family and non-family executives, the group process of family/independent boards, and succession planning.
The transfer of ownership interests is usually the most meaningful and challenging task in family enterprise continuity. Many enterprising families invest significant time and resources creating shareholder agreements, estate plans, and tax strategies to protect wealth and preserve family harmony in the future. However, legal structures alone are unable to ensure successful continuity without additional planning.
The success of any family enterprise most often depends on the quality of its leaders. In particular, the success of any generational transition is linked to the ability of leaders in both the senior and junior generations to work together to lead the transition effectively. Our Leadership Development services are designed to strengthen this critical component of family enterprises, and our work engages both family and non-family leaders.
Family Office Development
Many of our client families have decided to formalize a Family Office to serve the financial and professional needs of family members. We focus on helping families with the decisions on structure, staffing, governing boards, leadership and trustee succession, models of participation across generations and family branches, funding, professional staffing, guiding values, risk assessment, and the menu of family services provided.
Our research has shown that effective philanthropy can strengthen family relationships as it accomplishes its goals of serving public and community interests. For philanthropy to be a positive experience, however, it must be approached with the same discipline and thoughtfulness that propels a business. Our research, consulting experience, and publications on philanthropy are our platform of understanding of how families structure and operate their foundations.
LGA offers a variety of workshops, seminars, and presentations for family businesses, universities, and professional groups. Programs range from a keynote address to a half-day or multi-day workshop or a full course. Each program is tailored to the particular needs of the sponsoring group or institution. All of our programs combine an overview of state-of-the-art thinking and current research with audience participation and can be adapted for virtually any venue or meeting size.
LGA maintains its own active research program -- not just because it informs our work with our own clients, but because we believe that remaining leaders in our profession requires contributing to the expansion of the knowledge base in our field. Our projects are funded by foundations, public agencies, companies, and – in many cases – by the firm itself. We are committed to the broadest possible dissemination of our findings and are currently managing several active projects.