N&Q: A family business turnaround; family offices response to Trump election


A good illustration of the trials and tribulations of a family business

This interview with a third generation family business head is a nice story about the pressures of running a family business and how to deal with them. Among its various points, the interview illustrates the problem many family business owners face – the tendency for them to take on responsibilities across the entire business and not delegate.

“I had managed the business like my dad, where I had my finger in everything.  I was leading sales, managing procurement, managing operations,” says Michael Kiolbassa, president of Kiolbassa Provision, in the Forbes interview. Michael eventually saw the light and sort outside advice on how to better manage his role within the business.

“I met a coach from Boulder, Colorado, and he walked me through an exercise where I was supposed to name a subconscious commitment I had. I thought it was psychobabble at first. But I realised it fit me perfectly. I had an unconscious commitment to have my finger in every part of our business. I told my operations manager, I don’t want to have anything to do with operations anymore. His response was, it’s about time. I offloaded everything,” says Michael in the interview. So sometimes it pays to seek advice from outside of the business to get to grips with better managing it…


Family offices respond to Trump’s election victory

Of course, it’s too early to know what policies Donald Trump will be purse – but here are a couple of interesting responses back from family office heads on their views of what his election means:

“I am not as surprised as many of the commentators. Yet again the pollsters have underestimated the support of a non-establishment viewpoint…

“…Trump’s victory represents a failure of the political establishment, and one borne of their own making. It is hard to imagine – for example – Lyndon B.Johnson in his time having sat back and allowed this groundswell of discontent to build up. He would surely instead have seen this as an opportunity to build up a caucus of support by bringing the disaffected on board. He would have been identifying, and addressing grievances through a series of targeted programmes.” – a European chief operating officer at a single-family office

“It’s too early to say what it means for business. But if Trump wants to drop/renegotiate every existing trade deal, that will be bad for everyone. Hopefully, somebody will give him advice against doing so. As for life as we know it – if he is challenged by Putin in the Baltics, and does not uphold NATO’s article 5, then Europe must defend itself alone…” – the principal of a European single-family office

“Although it’s too early to say, I don’t think it’s going to affect the business environment too much. He’ll soften his more extreme views once in office and the business world will continue to tick along like it has in the past…” – the head of a US single-family office