So begins a recent special report on family businesses published by The Economist.
A successful family business must be poised to prosper for many generations to come. A quick list of necessary items needed to create a successful family business include: alignment on important matters, a shared vision for the company, a detailed action plan, a family constitution, a shareholder agreement, a responsible owner and an official employment policy.
Trust in family business is a critical issue. Strong relationships which are based on trust and communication build equality and respect - not power and control. Trust can be built, measured, tested and repaired. It is a way of reducing uncertainty in interpersonal and organizational settings and is necessary for cohesive and productive professional relationships.
Disputes can cause major disruptions within a family business and even spell an end to the business if not handled effectively. This is exactly why learning how to facilitate dispute resolution in family business is vital. The development of a shareholder agreement can prove to be invaluable in resolving differences and protecting a family business from making destructive decisions.
Strategic business decision making is related to consensus decision making in family business. Families that use a strategic business decision making process are committed to discussing issues until there is full agreement to move forward and implement a decision. If a family is committed to working together for the long term, it is best to embrace this model.
An Elegant Agreement is a family business agreement that is grounded in integrity. This type of agreement is analogous with the quote, "Take the high road through life. The view is better and it’s less crowded.” The Elegant Agreement is a win-win for everyone involved in a family business and helps preserve family relationships.
When family business conflict affects a family, the result can be catastrophic. In order to prevent family business conflict from destroying family relationships, it can be beneficial to engage a family business consultant to help the family work through the difficult process of coming to an agreeable resolution to disagreements.
Family business leadership and values-based leadership is the next window of development in the family business arena. It's important to make sure everyone involved in the family business understands the business mission and values. When a company takes the time to define its core values, a positive shift in the company culture can occur.
Family business structure and the concept of adapting and evolving applies to family-owned business. When creating solutions for a family business, the first step is to analyze the functions that need to take place to make the business work. Family business structure and efficiency can ultimately lead to higher profitability.