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How to keep senior family members involved.

This story appears in the September 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How can the leaders of a family business reinvent the business or change it significantly without being disrespectful to the senior generation looking on . . . often in horror, dismay or anger? With great care--especially if the "family" part of the family business is to be preserved.

"One of the most difficult and gut-wrenching meetings I was ever part of was the one where my cousins and I sat down with my dad, uncle and aunt and laid out our plans to rebuild the company," says CFO Rick Ghio, one of five family members who make up the executive team of Anthony's Fish Grotto in San Diego. The decision to make major changes came after a great deal of research as to why the five restaurants were losing customers and experiencing declining sales. "We told them we believed in our hearts that Anthony's wouldn't survive if we continued along the path they had laid out for us.

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