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My 3 Sons

This is a thriving plumbing, HVAC and mechanical company.  The family in the business consisted of an aging mom and her three sons (plus one of the son’s wives).  I was called in by the family/company CPA to help them work out a sale from the mother to the 3 brothers.  When I got involved, the mother had written a letter 1 year earlier asking them to make a proposal to buy her out so that she could retire.  Nothing had transpired during the year verbally or in writing to her request.  The CPA did not have hope that something would be worked out.
There were a number of issues to resolve.  One was the lack of communication among all of them and particularly the 3 brothers.  Each one had responsibility for a part of the business and was working against one another instead of with one another.


  • Get the business sold or transferred to the 3 brothers
  • Get the 3 brothers working together and teach them how to resolve their differences by developing effective communication skills
  • Develop a functioning leadership team and shared vision that all could accept
  • Decide who was going to serve as CEO, since the mother had effectively filled that role and also refereed their battles


  • The business was sold to the 3 brothers after 8 months of working with them
  • They learned how to give constructive feedback to each other without getting angry or taking it personally
  • They created a shared vision for the company as a whole, for each division and for themselves individually
  • They collectively decided and agreed on which one should serve as CEO

The business has prospered since them and they are all working together

All Our Children

This is a well-managed company in business for over 30 years with over 250 employees in the Midwest.  The patriarch decided that he wanted to have all 3 of his children own the business.  Two of them are active in the business.  This family wanted to have someone lead them through the transition of ownership from generation to the next and to coordinate all of the estate and financial planning for each family member.

  • Develop an effective advisory team for all of the different legal and estate projects and manage the team – attorneys, CPA, psychologist, etc.
  • Review current estate planning documents, revise based on new objectives and put in place wills and trusts for each of their children to coordinate with the parents planning
  • Create an effective Sibling Partnership and new shareholder agreement for them
  • Family Values Statement
  • Family Mission Statement
  • Dispute resolution among family members
  • Employment Policy for family members


  • Created 3 structures for them to work in –
    • Parents – we would meet with them to have them articulate their next journey and to help them better communicate with all other family members
    • Sibling Partnership – where the 3 siblings and their spouses come together to develop an autonomous team working together absent the parents
    • Family Council – where the entire family comes together to discuss and resolve issues as well as develop a vision for the family’s future
  • Discovered that the inactive sibling was unhappy in the business that he was in and helped him close the business and create a new life that matched his interest and capabilities.  He is now successful in that new business.

Brought in a psychologist to work with the family and members individually where needed.  The family is getting along much better and the individual members are flourishing.

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ne was the lack of communication among all of them and particularly the 3 brothers.











he patriarch decided that he wanted to have all 3 of his children own the business.


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