It’s been a year of introspection for me, and I’ve spent some time looking back on a half-century career of working with families in business. This thought-work was how I knew to structure my recently released online course, Re-Imagining Relationships for Families In Business. Having to first distill, then organize those principles that I know for sure get results when working with legacy business families took me quite a long way down memory road. I see that, when those involved realized the overall impact of family businesses in global terms, then our consulting and support profession really gained depth and structure.
Nowhere were such changes more dramatically evident than at the recent FFI annual conference in London. The photo you see was taken there, and I have dubbed it “The Stalwarts.” Left to right, it’s Dirk Junge, James Olan Hutcheson, and me. We have all been involved with FFI since its inception, and we were doing the family business consulting work before there were official societies to support it. I’m seeing fewer and fewer of the more senior players in the Fam Biz orbit at these get-togethers, but Dirk, James, and I are still showing up.
In London I was pleased to see a large group of Spanish-speaking participants, and an equally large group of attendees from the Middle East. FFI is now a truly international association of like-minded professionals. I give Judy Green credit for making this happen. I would gauge the majority median age range at the global conference to be 35 – 50, and I think they could have benefited if more of the original seminal thinkers in our profession were there to mingle and to answer questions. That’s a reason I keep attending.
I’ve always believed that change is good and in fact, our ability to change is pivotal to my own work with families. Over the many years I have seen, time and again, that the absolute bedrock of any successful family business is the network of familial relationships. You won’t succeed with just lip service to “family”. As outlined in my course, you start with Alignment, then you deal with Boundaries, then you go deep into Communications, then you address Competency. It’s a combination of science and emotion that can lead to productive family member collaborations. At the end of the day, don’t we all want to be happy to see each other? That’s how I felt at FFI.
David Bork is an internationally-acclaimed family business consultant, author and speaker with five decades of experience providing guidance to over 500 family business enterprises. As a pioneer in the industry, David brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the many challenges of running a successful family business and has assisted families in charting their way through every imaginable family business issue. He is the author of The Little Red Book of Family Business and just published the online course: Re-Imagining Relationships for Families in Business. For more information about David Bork, visit FamilyBusinessMatters.Consulting.