Family Firm Resources provides guidance and perspective to owners of closely-held companies as they deal with issues of succession, leadership development, conflict management, organizational culture, and corporate governance. Our work is always focused on improving both the effectiveness and the profitability of your company.

Robert Caldwell
Robert Caldwell

Family Firm Resources, LLC is celebrating its 25th year of working with families who own operating businesses or perhaps share a pool of assets. Since 2001 Robert has been the Babcock Family Business Fellow at Wake Forest University.

Robert and his father Bob worked together in their successful textile business for 15 years. From that experience Robert began to understand the difficulties and rewards of working with family members as they become business partners.

As the textile industry moved from the U.S. and Bob died, Robert focused his work on aiding other business families as they deal with the complexity, conflict and satisfaction of their business and personal relationships.

Robert has spoken and written on the unique interactions of family systems and business dynamics for many years. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University in business and political science and earned an M.A. degree from Vermont College of Norwich University in Organizational Development/Psychology.

He is a certified mediator, an executive coach, a former regional director of First Union National Bank, a director of the First Gaston Foundation, and holder of the highest district and council awards of the Boy Scouts of America. He is an avid musician, father of 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Clients Have Included:

Family and non-family business partners as well as multi-generational family businesses ranging in size from less than $1 million to more than $100 million in annual revenue.

We have also coached business executives as well as non-profit executives and their direct reports in building more harmonious and effective leadership teams and working relationships.

In short, when people work together there are bound to be differences and conflicts that need resolution in order to perform at the highest levels possible. This is where we work!

Some of the questions we help you answer include:

  • Succession—Who is best qualified by interest and aptitude to take over the reins of leadership from one generation to the next? What buy-in and procedural process is needed to ensure that the succession achieves its desire outcomes?
  • Leadership Development—What do new family business leaders need to better prepare themselves for leadership roles and responsibilities? How will they be coached, mentored and assisted during the pivotal months and years of succession?
  • Conflict Management—How are overt and covert conflicts handled in the family business? What is not being addressed that can damage the enterprise? What old grudges and current animosities need resolution in order to move the business forward successfully?
  • Organizational Culture—How well do people work together? Have unproductive behaviors begun to clutter the effectiveness of the company? Do employees feel they are working at a good place with good people? Do people work with the highest good of the company in mind?
  • Corporate Governance—How will the family and corporate affairs be handled both now and in the future? What structure of family management and involvement has the highest likelihood of achieving the goals and aspirations of the current and future generations?

How We Do It:

We use direct interviews to discover and clarify the themes and issues of the situation. We also use facilitated meetings, mediation, and executive coaching as tools to help our clients establish a firm foundation for current and future growth and stability. When necessary we have access to a network of psychological and organizational professionals to deal with especially challenging situations.

Through our interview process with owners, key employees and family members we gain insights into what is going on, where changes need to occur and how to best bring them about. We then help implement the agreed upon changes to reduce and enhance organizational and interpersonal behaviors.

How We Charge:

Normally, after our initial assessment and discussions with the owners, we propose a reasonable project price based on the estimated number of consulting days. We then divide that total over the proposed course of our work together so there are no spikes or surprises in the payment amounts. Most clients find our fees are deductible as business expenses.

If you’d like to discuss your situation, we can arrange a confidential call with no obligation.

Notes From The Field

Notes from the Field: 20 years of coaching family business is a collection of articles written for newspapers, newsletters and presentations during Robert’s time in the world of family business. Whether you own, are heir to, or work for a family-owned or closely-held business, these articles offer insight into and potential remedies for the inevitable conflicts that occur when family wealth and family emotion coexist. Click here to purchase your copy today.

What People Are Saying About Us

“Robert’s wisdom and experience in working with so many business leaders and environments has lent tremendous value to our focus on our company’s future. Robert has been a trusted advisor for me on critical issues that, as the sole business owner, I could only share with a select few.”

Lauren Batten, President
Vandever Batten

“Robert is a very good listener; he’s helped us peel back the layers of the onion on the issues we were facing. The decisions we were able to make through the process of working with Family Firm Resources helped us enhance our bottom line substantially for years to come. I might add that the communication tools Robert presented, especially the core values and the sibling code, help us every day.”

Ken Stober, President
Mueller Die Cut Solutions

“I can’t say enough about how Robert Caldwell has helped my company and me personally. He has a keen insight into what makes a privately held business successful and how to handle transitions in leadership and strategy in a most sensitive manner. His years of experience in the field are obvious.”

Bob Bradford, CEO
Innovative Driver Services

From Entitlement to Contribution; An Article

One of the most paralyzing scenarios I’ve experienced in family businesses is the deadly sense of entitlement. It often comes with children of privilege who step into a family enterprise without adequate training and temperament. The world does not owe you a living. It’s crucial for new members to come willing and ready to accept responsibility and willing to learn this fundamental fact. The article talks about 3 steps for addressing this issue for the good of the individuals and the business.

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Succession Planning is Not Enough: The Dangers of Ignoring the Soft Stuff

Every business owner doing succession planning should know these two sobering statistics: First the good news; 97% of professionally drafted succession documents pass wealth to the next generation successfully. Second, however, about 70% of these same family businesses will fail within the next generation.

Why the disconnect? 

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