Jared Siegel chats with Mark Wickman, founder of Family Business Council and author of "The Family Business Teeter Totter," in this week’s episode of Delap's podcast, Success That Lasts. Mark has been a business owner for over 25 years. His role as a family business counselor, as well as his experience as a financial advisor, allows him to assist families with problems they have in their businesses. He and Jared discuss reasons why family businesses fail, and how to keep them alive.

Tune in here, at delapcpa.com/podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts:

Here are a few highlights from their informative conversation:

  • Only 3% of family businesses make it to the fourth generation, Jared shares.
  • Mark says that the typical reactions to conflict are fight, flight, or freeze, which is an internal withdrawal or another form of flight.
  • There is a difference between vulnerability and transparency, according to Mark. Transparency is sharing information about yourself, whereas vulnerability is disclosing your most personal information, potentially providing someone with something they can use against you to bring you down.
  • There are three lies about our identity, Mark quotes. The first lie is “I am what I have,” the second is “I am what I do,” and the third is “I am what others say or think of me.” If these lies are the basis for our identity, we will never discover our true identity.
  • Sharing your feelings when there is conflict is practicing healthy communication. Keeping resentment to yourself creates bitterness which eventually will upset family dynamics.
  • The two sources of conflict are misunderstanding and selfishness. The antidote to misunderstanding is clarity or clear communication, and the antidote to selfishness is confession.
  • “Always” and “never” are not fair fighting words, Jared says.
  • Family businesses are the backbone of our communities.
  • Problems scream, but blessings whisper.


The Family Business Teeter Totter: Balancing Those Two Wor(l)ds