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Helping Family Businesses Bridge the Generations Ohio State University Extension
Teaching Team • Bernie Erven-State Specialist • Jeff McCutcheon-Extension Agent, Ag • Mark Mechling-Extension Agent, Ag & NR • Dave Miller-District Farm Mgt. Specialist • Pam Montgomery-Extension Agent, FCS • Howard Siegrist-Extension Agent, Ag & NR • Chris Zoller-Extension Agent, Ag & NR
Program Development • County ag needs assessments identified the importance of assisting family farms and businesses • Built upon previous program that targeted emerging or junior managers • Focused on the transfer of management
Program Format • Six different segments were taught • Q and A/ Discussion period followed each segment facilitated by Bernie Erven • Each session built upon previous session • Topics were designed to build on conceptual, technical and interpersonal skills required of manager
Program Content • 1) What do managers do? • 2) How do you get the next generation ready for their responsibilities? • 3) How do we create opportunity? • 4) How do we share responsibility? • 5) How can we be honest about ourselves and our business? • 6) How do we communicate with family members who are part of the business?
1) What do managers do? • Five Functions of Management • Planning • Organizing • Staffing • Directing • Controlling
2) How do you get the next generation ready for their responsibilities? • Developing management skills of younger generation • Discussed techniques used to transfer of management to the next generation
3) How do we create opportunity? • How will your business stay competitive? • Structural changes within agriculture • Who creates these new opportunities?
4) How do we share responsibility? • Authority, responsibility and accountability • Art of delegation • Job descriptions for each business employee including family members • Transitioning the business
5) How can we be honest about ourselves and our business? • Is there a viable business to support multiple families?? • Can we get along? • Are both generations committed, have the maturity to make it work and have an appreciation for everyone’s roles?
6) How do we communicate with family members including those who are employees? • Importance of communications • How do we communicate? • Techniques for improving communications between family members
Program Results • Two day-long programs were conducted in 2003 • Audience was primarily farm and small business families • About 80 participants in total • Participants gave high marks through end-of-meeting survey
Program Results-Continued • Some individual follow-up with families after program by agent • Five issues of a newsletter dealing with the transfer of management were sent to participants
Post-Workshop Evaluation • Participants initiated the following: • Business goal planning • Improvement of family communications among family members • Strategic planning • Questioning of current family business practices