Event Information

Dilemmas, Dualities and Paradoxes: The Power of Unsolvable Problems | Amy Schuman, BA, MBA


Amy Schuman, BA, MBA


Dilemmas, Dualities and Paradoxes  Wednesday 5pm

Paradoxes are a special kind of problem that can't be solved, they can only be managed. Our everyday life is filled with paradoxes - for example, tension between asking and telling, facts and feelings, loyalty and freedom. In our families, we struggle with the tension between roots and wings, support and challenge, candor and diplomacy. In our work and communities, we wrestle with the tension between money and heart, harvest and invest, long-term and short term.

As we delve into these dilemmas more deeply, we begin to understand that paradoxes are comprised of elements that appear to be in opposition, but in fact are mutually supportive and complementary. We begin to move away from an "either/or" approach that compels us to choose between two desirable options. We begin to move towards a "both/and" approach that allows us to pursue both options. As we further understand the paradoxes of our lives, and the dualities they contain, we can relax and enjoy the creativity and power inherent in this dynamic.

In, fact, so many creative disciplines tap into the power of paradox. Yoga, chiquong and other body centered disciplines require both strength and softness, both support and challenge, both yin and yang. Painting, writing, music, dance and other artistic disciplines tap into the paradoxes of tradition and change, fluid and fixed, intense and relaxed to evoke beauty, harmony, and new ways of seeing the world's beauty.

In this workshop, we will explore the paradoxes of our worlds more deeply. We'll laugh together and commiserate on the often daunting challenges that arise in our lives, over and over again. Using a Polarity Map© (invented by Dr. Barry Johnson, www.polaritypartnerships.com) we will delve into the component parts of these stubborn paradoxes. We will find ways to honor all dimensions of the paradoxes in our lives, and feel more joy and less frustration.

Family Business Continuity: Creating Healthy Families AND Healthy Businesses  Thursday 5pm

Family businesses offer the possibility of  tremendous benefits both economically and interpersonally. They offer the opportunity for superior financial performance along with the pleasures of working with those we love the most in the world. However, the survival rate of family businesses is quite low (only 30% successfully weather each generational transition.) The news is often filled with horror stories of family members tearing each other up or cutting each other off as a result of business conflict.  Many of us have some personal knowledge or experience of the pain and suffering that poorly managed family businesses can cause.

However, there is good news. Many of the most well-respected businesses in our communities are privately owned. They can be the most philanthropic, adaptive, innovative and family friendly places to work. The many "Best Workplaces" lists are filled with family businesses, and some of the most admired enterprises in North America are family controlled, including The New York Times Company, SC Johnson and Sons, The Ford Motor Company, Kohler and Corning Glass.  There is much to learn from the successful family enterprises in our midst.

In this workshop, we will explore the potential for excellence - and misery - in family owned businesses. We'll trace the sources of top performance as well as soap-opera-like conflict. We'll delve into the paradoxes unique to family businesses - most  notably, the paradox of 'family-first/business-first'.

There are many lessons to be learned from the intimate, intense, innovative and individualistic dynamics in family businesses. Come prepared to share your own experiences and to find new perspectives from the sharing of others.

Amy Schuman, a principal consultant of the Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. works with family businesses on leadership development, communication skills and team building. Her experience is centered on helping family members collaboratively create systems, structures and relationships to help them function as effective stewards of their enterprise.  Amy creates leadership and career development approaches tailored for sibling teams, young adults, teens and younger children in the next generation. She helps create conditions for successful generational transfers.

Amy was the founding facilitator of the Next Generation Leadership Institute, an intensive, two-year program for next generation family business leaders that is part of the Loyola University Chicago Family Business Center. In that capacity, from 1996 – 2006, Amy coached over 30 men and women to assume leadership positions in their family businesses.  Amy also founded and facilitated Loyola’s first Peer Advisory Group for women at Loyola and also taught group process and facilitation skills in Loyola's Family Business Communication Institute.

Amy is the co-author, with John L. Ward and Stacy Stutz, of "Family Business as Paradox".  She is the co-author, with John L. Ward, of "Family Education for Business Owning Families" and a co-author of "A Woman’s Place…The Crucial Roles of Women in Family Business".  Amy also wrote "Nurturing the Talent to Nurture the Legacy: Career Development in the Family Business."

Amy has presented at many university family business centers, The University of British Columbia Family Enterprise Advisors Program, YPO and WPO events, the Family Firm Institute Conference and the Family Business Network meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. In July 1993 Amy participated with President Clinton on a panel describing “The Future of the American Workplace.” For over 10 years, Amy was director, Organization Development for Fel-Pro, Inc., a well-known family-owned and operated global auto parts manufacturer.

Amy has a B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin College and earned her MBA at The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is experienced in a variety of 360, communications and personal development tools, as well as Performance-Based Mediation Skills. Amy lives in Evanston, Illinois with her husband, a Clinical Psychologist, and has three adult children.

Start Date: December 21, 2013
End Date: December 27, 2013


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