Family business enterprises are often unique reservoirs of bubbling talent and drive as well as dangerous rip tides, often bucking unexpected head winds.  Family business enterprises and the families who own them have many advisors to assist them with their wealth transitions, their legal structures, their complex array of assets.  However, more and more families who own enterprises are seeing a need to work with family advisors who help them focus on their most precious resource:  their family members. 

We focus on identifying and strengthening our client’s family’s value base and assist them in designing an intentional strategy for their family.  Let’s face it, a family’s resilience is arguably the most important family facet – they have to last, so they can thrive. 

Each of us at SDL possesses a thorough understanding of critical family enterprise issues. Each of us has a long history of utilizing assessments and instruments in our practice to enhance our effectiveness to our clients.  We have strong interpersonal skills – listening, confronting, challenging, straightforwardness and rapport – allowing us to build a strong affiliation with clients. Our deep experience as family business advisors and coaches uniquely positions us to make a significant impact on the challenges our clients are navigating.


Core Competencies

Executive Coaching

Strategic Advising

Organizational Design and Development

Multi-dimensional Individual and Group Assessment

Information Architecture and Design

Business Intelligence

Talent Management

Family/Owner Relations

Governance Relations

Legacy Strategy

Legacy Readiness Assessment

Legacy Readiness Preparation

Case Studies in Brief

These are representative engagements in which we worked closely with our clients to apply a focused, directed approach to addressing their business challenges. In each engagement, we applied our expert business knowledge, unique methodology and approach to align key decision makers in their understanding of the business solution, so that there would be consistency in execution. We identified metrics that made sense to each client, and incorporated those in the design of our work.

SDL was instrumental in a family-owned manufacturing company’s reinvention to meet their challenges of growth and global expansion.


To identify cultural and learning barriers to increased productivity in a manufacturing environment

To assess leadership capabilities in leading their manufacturing plant in reinventing itself

To increase client satisfaction by providing a long-term leadership development and plant accountability plan

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Success Factors

  • This family-owned business is completing its second generation and has identified business process reinvention as its major thrust for the future
  • The VP of Manufacturing recognized the value of SDL’s assessment and coaching team to guide them through this reinvention process

Key Metrics and Results

  • The company has been able to significantly reduce its scrap and other plant inefficiencies by implementing their reinvention plan
  • The company has implemented a core training curriculum which identifies and trains potential manufacturing floor leaders
  • The executive team continues to trust SDL as its key family business advisors and an integral part of their business strategy

SDL created a framework for a corporate university which would form the baseline for career development and succession planning in their company.


Design a corporate university for this turnkey land development company

Leverage the corporate university as a tool to communicate corporate culture

Develop an internal capacity by certifying a cadre of internal trainers to customize their corporate university curriculum

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Success Factors

  • This firm committed to creating a training operation to position themselves as the premiere land developer within their region
  • The CEO trusted SDL to design a curriculum and structure based upon real-time learning needs and assessment data which would ensure the validity of their training program

Key Metrics and Results

  • This company continues to utilize the corporate university framework to grow its internal offerings
  • The internal training program continues to graduate certified instructors for their curriculum
  • The corporate university has become its own P&L center providing instruction and seminars to smaller development companies and their subcontractors

SDL designed and implemented an organizational strategy for a major integration firm.


To assess the leadership and project effectiveness of a major division within this organization that had been experiencing significant growing pains

To recommend changes to the organizational structure and leadership

To increase client satisfaction by providing a transitional plan to mitigate the risk

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Success Factors

  • The Chief Operating Officer acknowledged the effectiveness of SDL’s strategic methodology for leadership assessment and development
  • The newly hired Program Manager understood the need to align his executive team quickly and decisively

Key Metrics and Results

  • The company was able to qualitatively determine which of the existing leadership were optimally productive and which of them needed to transition away from this business division
  • This executive team trusts SDL to continue its support of the corporate leadership team in reaching their alignment goals

SDL designed a leadership development plan to support Credit Union leadership.


To determine the leadership requirements for a cadre of managers in a rapidly growing financial institution

To develop a plan to strengthen existing supervisory skills and increase leadership potential

Increase effectiveness of cross-functional communication to support organizational growth

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Success Factors

  • The Executive Management Team understood the critical role of employee engagement in their growth strategy and that there needed to be a renewed sense of responsibility and interdependency in their employees
  • The Credit union acknowledged the effectiveness of SDL’s strategic methodology for leadership assessment and development

Key Metrics and Results

  • SDL was able to support the Credit Union with increased leadership capacity at the mid-management level
  • The company trusted the growth plan designed by SDL to support the development of the key managers as they manage their explosive growth
  • Employee engagement became the centerpiece of their internal professional development programs

SDL partnered with a 4th generation family-owned major international manufacturer in designing and executing a Succession Strategy.


To assess the talent of the owner’s children to determine their suitability for succession

To support the successors in their leadership development

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Success Factors

  • This firm brought the focused commitment to its business which had contributed to a growth from a local small business enterprise to a global business with revenues exceeding several billion dollars in just three generations
  • This firm recognized the value of SDL’s comprehensive methodology to determine the baseline talent of the sibling team
  • This company utilized SDL’s methodology as a tool to craft leadership developmental plans for each sibling and to support those plans with executive coaching

Key Results and Metrics

  • SDL successfully facilitated a succession plan acceptable to all parties within 14 months
  • The sibling team continues to work closely with SDL to hone their executive development within their leadership council