Part One: Family Business Employment Policy: Philosophy

The process of building this policy required a great deal of discussion among the Wilson family. They needed to articulate who they were and what they stood for, and then they had to craft a statement that would work for them.

By |2020-06-25T08:08:29-06:00May 1st, 2018|Categories: Articles, Family Relationships, Family Values, General, Managing Family Business|

Family Business Employment Policy: “The Rules of Engagement“

Every game, including the “Game of Life,“ has rules of engagement. Family businesses are best served when they clearly define the terms and conditions of employment for family members and for non-family.

When you are born into your family, you are accepted unconditionally. The love of your family is unconditional. At least, that is the way it should be.

Employment in a business is different from membership in a family. Regardless of the ownership structure, all businesses require competent employees in every position. Acceptance in the business must be conditional, based on competence and the ability to produce and perform at a consistently high level. If a person is less than competent, they simply will not meet that standard.

This blog is the first in a series on Family Business Employment policy.

What follows is the first blog in the series. My focus is the theory behind each section of the employment policy. This policy is drawn from an actual policy designed for a real company. The universal principles are excellent and applicable to all family businesses. This policy was developed in the mid 1980s and the principles underlying it are the “gold standard“ of all family employment policies. Any family business policy worth its salt will have the components of this policy. The policy can be read in full at:

The policy begins with a statement of purpose, establishing the fundamental reason for the policy:

To remove the ambiguity about the matter.

“The purpose of this policy is to define the procedures, process and criteria that will govern how the Wilson family lineal descendants and/or their spouses enter and exit the family company’s employ. (Note the clarity of including spouses as employees. Some families do not permit this.)

This employment policy is intended to remove the ambiguity […]

By |2020-06-25T08:09:09-06:00April 1st, 2018|Categories: Articles, General, Managing Family Business|

Leading the Way: Europe’s First Executive MBA for Family Business

Leading the Way: Europe’s First Executive MBA for Family Business LeadersHave you heard about Europe’s first Executive MBA for family business leaders? Not only it is the first-of-its-kind degree program in Europe, but it is also the only Family Business MBA that has been accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the prestigious executive MBA accreditation group.

EDHEC Business School now offers the Family Business Global Executive MBA Program.

The students come from different cultural backgrounds, covering all continents, as diverse as Australia, Tanzania, Egypt, Finland, Venezuela, France, Oman, or Reunion Island. They are all family business members with active experience in their businesses and will become the future leaders.

Students join the program to deepen their knowledge and support their family business as future leaders on key challenges including management, family dynamics, leadership, and governance.

How does it work?

The program is held for 15 months with 10 weeks of physical contact hours spread across the EDHEC business school campus and partnering locations, including Paris, Lille, Nice, London, Singapore, Boston and Palo Alto. This allows a truly enriching experience with world-class professors and speakers balancing the local and international dimensions of the class locations.

Classes are held in diverse formats ranging from classical lectures to workshops, experiential learning, family business visits, expert testimonies and coaching sessions.

Whom does it serve?

The Family Business Global Executive MBA (EMBA) is intended for family business future leaders who want to embark on a transformational learning journey to build their legitimacy in the family business, contribute to maintaining family cohesion and responsible ownership practices and business sustainability.

Both members of the family controlling the business and outsiders working in key positions in the family business are eligible for the program.

How can I learn more?

For more information, you can click through to

David Bork Writes Forward for MAPS for Men Book, a Must-Have Resource for any Family Business

David Bork Writes Forward for MAPS for Men BookDavid Bork is proud to have contributed the forward for the book, MAPS for Men: A Guide for Fathers and Sons and Family Businesses.

New York Times best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio show host Dave Ramsey calls this important book “a must-have resource for any and every family business.”

In his forward for MAPS for Men, David Bork, founder and CEO of Family Business Matters, writes: “These concepts help fathers and sons reframe their relationship into something that is more meaningful and helpful in meeting their goals, rather than repeating generational patterns.“

David recommends this book to fathers and sons seeking to better understand their personal and professional relationship.

Full text of MAPS for Men Forward by David Bork

In the interest of full disclosure, Edgell Franklin Pyles has been a good friend for more than twenty-five years, and we share a large community of interests. In the early 90s, we explored together the works of Robert Moore, James Millman, Robert Bly, and others. I met both Robert Moore and Robert Bly at a retreat in Aspen, Colorado, organized and sponsored by Edgell.

This was called the men’s movement, and we were excited about it because it sought to further define what it meant to be a man at the end of the twentieth century. It was grounded in Jungian psychology, and while well researched and articulated, it could be theoretical and esoteric. Our explorations of this work produced a practical approach and we have been on parallel, but different, paths.

We were interested in understanding the dynamics that take place between fathers and sons at both the personal and professional level. Our first step was to comprehend and appreciate the relationship we had with our […]

Top Ten Family Business Facts | Fact #2: The Cluster Model Helps Capture the Evolution of Your Family Business Over Time

cluster-modelTraditionally, family businesses are described as constituent of three overlapping circles:

1) the family,

2) the business, and

3) the ownership (Gersick, Davis, McCollom Hampton, & Lansberg, 1997; Tagiuri & Davis, 1996).

Recently, Michael-Tsabari, Labaki, & Zachary (2014) suggested the Cluster Model to update the two and three-circle models by providing a more detailed picture of the circles’ evolution over time.

While the original bivalent two-circle model appropriately describes a family that owns a firm (Tagiuri & Davis, 1996), Michael-Tsabari et al. (2014)’s study addresses the inaccuracies of the circle models when it comes to describing a family that owns more than one firm and suggests a more detailed perspective allowing to include in the analysis the different firms that the family owns to different extents.

Lesson #2: Putting on the lenses of the Cluster Model might help you better capture the evolution of your family business over time both in terms of the descendants driving this evolution and its outcomes.

Wondering what the Cluster Model means for you and your family business? Do you need some guidance on seeing your family business through this lens? Contact a Family Business Matters consultant today. Through conferences, continuing education programs, family business retreats, speaking engagements and private family business consulting services, Family Business Matters has assisted more than 450 family-owned businesses around the world chart their way through family business issues of all shapes and sizes.

This post is the second in a series by Rania Labaki highlighting the Top Ten Family Business Facts. To view the previous post in this series, follow this link. To review the full Top Ten Family Business Facts and to access a list of original resources, please visit our Family Business Facts page.

Rania Labaki — Author Bio

Rania Labaki

Special Report on Family Business in The Economist: What You Need to Know

family-business_office-picFar from declining, family firms will remain an important feature of global capitalism for the foreseeable future, argues Adrian Wooldridge.“

So begins a recent special report on family businesses published by The Economist.

The introduction to this report recalls the “starring role“ family companies have played in the development of capitalism, citing the inherent advantage of the “two most important ingredients of growth, trust and loyalty,“ and instrumental families we all recognize: the Rothschilds, Fords, and Versaces to name a few.

Recognizing that this kind of historic and economic impact of major family companies has been well documented, the report makes the case that the influence and impact of family companies is still one of the most important forces for economic growth around the world today. The Economist seems to agree with a concept David Landes first laid out in his book, Dynasties, asserting: “You could write a respectable history of capitalism through the lens of family histories. You could write an equally respectable survey of the state of modern capitalism by telling the story of a dozen family firms.“

Further, the Economist writes:

“This special report will argue that family companies are likely to remain a significant feature of global capitalism for the foreseeable future, thanks to a combination of two factors. Family companies in general are getting better at managing themselves: they are learning how to minimise their weaknesses while capitalising on their strengths. At the same time the centre of the modern economy is shifting to parts of the world—most notably Asia—where family companies remain dominant.“

Why is this significant for the families and businesses we serve here at Family Business Matters?

We want to help your family business continue to grow and succeed in the modern economy. We want […]

Top Ten Family Business Facts | Fact #1: Economies Around the World Depend on Family Businesses

Economies around the world depend on family businessesDid you know that the success and growth of your family business matters to many people? In fact, your country’s economy may depend on it.

Statistics show that family businesses are predominant throughout the world (López de Silanes, La Porta, & Shleifer, 1999) and contribute the most to the growth of worldwide economies. For more details, read Family Firm Institute’s Global Data Points article.

A recent study by Memili et al. (2015) examines the impact of the prevalence of Family Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) on economic growth at the state level in the USA. It suggests that the proportion of Family Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) will have an inverted U-shaped relationship with economic growth. Stated differently, there is an optimum level of Family Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in a local economy. Up to that point, which is about 42.8 % of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) population, an increasing proportion of family firms have a positive influence on economic growth. However, beyond that point, more and more family firms in the economy appear to reduce economic growth.

Lesson #1: A balanced combination of family and non-family Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) is more conducive for maximizing economic growth than either type of business. Therefore, your family business plays an active part in promoting your country’s economy.

To review the full Top Ten Family Business Facts by Rania Labaki and to access a list of original resources, please visit our Family Business Facts page.

Does Your Family Business Need Guidance?

Through conferences, continuing education programs, family business retreats, speaking engagements and private family business consulting services, Family Business Matters has assisted more than 450 family-owned businesses around the world chart their way through family business issues of […]

What it Takes For a Family Business to Be Successful

business-successA 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.

The Importance of Trust in Family Business

trust_fallTrust 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.

Dispute Resolution in Family Business

Dispute ResolutionDisputes 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.