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Family Business Advice from NASCAR

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 29, 2006

We recently interviewed Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, on our radio program Family Business Doctor. He shared some of the reasons he thinks his family business has stood the test of time and prospered:

Preparation. Preparation is obviously important to the success of the NASCAR race teams each weekend. France observed that it is important for family businesses to have crystal-clear goals and expectations for family members working in the business, supported by clear management roles. It is important to prepare family members over a long period of time to build the tools necessary for them to be effective leaders and managers.

Accountability. France said that family businesses create "opportunities for family members, but family members have to produce in order to take advantage of those opportunities." The NASCAR family believes in accountability, which can be measured rather than gauged subjectively.

Principles vs. personality. Following in the footsteps of legends is never easy. Recognizing that he might not possess the flamboyant personality or magnetic management style of his predecessors, France decided to focus his leadership on the key values of the business family vs. his own individual management style. Living and managing by a set of core tenets allows France to lead with principles instead of personality.

Wayne Rivers
Family Business Institute
Raleigh, N.C.

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