• FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES ARE SELDOM MANAGED in a manner compliant with best business standards or practices. Controlling owners are often uncomfortable wearing multiple hats; family members may have expectations, envy, ego, insecurities or entitlement issues; communication is often stifled by emotional entanglements; and/or all of the above. So creating business efficiencies and effectiveness in structure & operations is always a challenge. Our experience suggests four crucial areas where formalized process & procedure are typically lacking: (1) Job titles unsupported by clear responsibility, accountability & authority; (2) Compensation levels unsupported by marketplace metrics or administered by a realistic & independent performance evaluation system (to ensure perception of fairness); (3) Absence of next-stage management or leadership skills development; (4) Communication structure which clarifies the company’s operating principles and relationships, including who gets employed (spouses, kids, cousins) and ownership control criteria (like prenuptials, wills, Trusts). When companies mix family and business without structure for separating and clarifying these crucial and often incompatible areas, disaster can ensue. DCG has decades of expertise in optimizing and protecting Family-owned businesses.
  • NEW CALIFORNIA DROUGHT RULES ARE ONLY A BAND-AID. Restrictions on cemeteries & golf courses, incentives to replace lawns with plants or synthetic turf, and sanctions for not reducing showers or flushes can’t hurt, but it will take decades to implement any real change in water usage. Communities have until 2020 to “complete plans” and until 2014 to “manage water sustainably.” Urban usage only consumes around 20% and has “held relatively steady over the past two decades despite massive population growth, thanks to smart pricing and low-flow toilets.” But the deeper problem is that agriculture sucks up 40% for crops and diverts another 40% for “environmental uses.” New rules are supposed to “regulate groundwater extraction” but have no mechanism for measuring groundwater consumption. Long-range, desalination plants which convert sea water to fresh water are a real solution, but Green regulations make building such facilities incredibly slow, and programs for safety & renewable energy make them incredibly costly. It’s going to get lots worse before any meaningful improvement.   [THE ECONOMIST – Apr 11, 15]
  • MILLENNIAL KIDS ARE NOT BUYING INTO THE STOCK MARKET GAMBLE THESE DAYS. Now in their 20s and early 30s, hesitancy is based on realistic factors including: (1) Some 70% of college graduates now leave school with an average student loan above $33,000; over one in six graduate & professional school students have loans exceeding $100K. So focus on immediate living costs along with paying down debt doesn’t leave much excess for most; (2) Beyond legitimate concern with Wall Street’s reputation for greed and absence of transparency and “living through the dotcom bubble and 2008 financial crisis, they’re wary of the capital markets…and more willing to bet on sports than stocks”; (3) Even for those fortunate enough to have good jobs, median salaries have consistently dropped over the last decade “leaving an overall bad taste in their mouths when it comes to Wall Street in general”; and (4) They are “more entrepreneurially focused than prior generations. The success of millennial-launched start-ups has inspired more interest for investing in personal talents, intelligence or creativity…than in paying for portfolio management – especially when cheap, passive products such as exchange-traded funds are available.” [INVESTMENT NEWS.COM – Apr 13, 15]
  • LATEST MILLENIAL COMMUNICATION: Nerdjacking – filling a conversation with unnecessary detail to an otherwise uninterested layperson; Askhole – someone who continuously asks stupid, pointless or obnoxious questions; Nonversation – a completely worthless small-talk conversation; Cellfish – a person who talks on their phone oblivious to its rudeness or inconsideration for others; Youniverse – someone’s personal world, with knowledge & interest only in him or herself.
  • “GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP IS THE CHEAPEST AND EASIEST OBESITY MEDICINE THERE IS… since sleep upsets hormone balance, which increases ghrelin (triggering hunger) and decreases leptin (feeling ‘full’).” Next best is a weight-loss program which improves oxygen efficiency and energy levels to minimize health risks (including links to cancer), but which research has shown can also improve memory. [LEVINE BREAKING NEWS – Apr 12, 15]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright… until you hear them speak.”

Lost in the 50’s?  This will bring back some great memories:  http://safeshare.tv/w/FEDEwZHZXu 

       “Lord, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.