There are two types of family business nepotism - the bad kind and the good kind. The good kind allows business owners to take advantage of relationships with respected employees and colleagues to help find and hire employees with a similar work ethic and values. This kind of nepotism can actually help a business.
There are advantages to nepotism and there are disadvantages. The good kind of nepotism takes advantage of relationships with respected employees and colleagues to help find and hire employees with similar traits. Good nepotism has worked successfully for many family businesses and can foster an environment where employees feel that the employer really cares about them.
During the Family Firm Institute's (FFI)25th Annual Conference in Boston, MA, David Bork was invited by Professor Claudio Muller to speak to his class in Santiago, Chile. With 100 people in attendance, Bork presented on several of the fundamental principles of Family business, including family business education, as well as topics covered in his book The Little Red Book of Family Business.
A family business constitution expresses the will of the family for future generations and gives family members a sense of security about how matters will be handled including a method or process for the resolution of differences. The purpose of a family business constitution is to ensure each family member receives predictable and fair treatment.
There is little that can be done to avoid all family business conflicts. A family business constitution sets up the playing field for orderly succession. It also establishes mechanisms to help resolve conflicts before they have damaging effects on the business and on family relationships. Family constitutions are instruments of governance.
Learning how to write and implement a family constitution is important. Family businesses need rules that define expectations, and a family constitution can be written to address common family business conflicts. As families grow and family business issues become more complicated, a written family constitution becomes one of the most important gifts that founders can give to successive generations.
When considering family business growth, an important task of the family business is to ensure the family business assets are compounded over the generations. This means that it is the responsibility of a business successor to work towards leaving future successors with more than was there at the beginning. It's important to have clarity with this task.
Family business continuity involves the development of an agreement on how decisions will be made or terms for employment of family members. The family's Rules of Engagement define expectations and help a family business avoid running into trouble. Many successful family businesses have pre-set ground rules that define expectations.
Managing a family business means that difficult decisions must sometimes be made. If a family business is to survive a rough economic patch, it may be necessary to reduce the number of people the business employs. One way to determine who will stay and who will go is to evaluate each employee's level of flexibility and creative problem solving skills.
It's important that the family members running a business have similar family business values. The real security of family business is knowledge that the family has the same core values, and that in good times as well as challenging times, every member of the family is committed to working together in the best interest of the business.