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Meghan West grew up immersed both in the family business, CNC Software, and in the tight-knit, loving family that ran it.
But the family’s closeness did not guarantee a smooth generational leadership transition when Meghan took over from her father, Mark Summers, in 2015. Mark had run the company since its founding in 1983, and his brother, Brian Summers, had been involved for most of that time. Mismanaged expectations and a lack of clear communication about the transition led to tensions in the family.
“I wish I had been better at recognizing when other people weren’t really expressing what they were thinking,” Mark said. “I probably could have asked a few key questions to draw out more information.”
With no one asking those questions, tensions grew among the family members who were leading the company – and those tensions did not stay contained in the family. Meghan decided they needed help from a neutral party.
“It was starting to bleed over into the operations,” Meghan said. “It seemed like we needed to address the issues so we would be able to be the most effective company.”
Meghan turned to her network to ask for recommendations for a family business consultant. Her connections from YPO suggested The Family Business Consulting Group.
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“If you have an important decision or change coming up, think about the benefit of getting an outsider in there. The trick is to know and understand when you need help, because I didn’t always know that until afterward.”
Mark Summers, CNC Software