I am so happy to see the world starting to right itself after all these long months of societal upset and loss and sadness. As the pace of life picks up, I say that for the businesses I consult—let’s skip any family drama and just get back to work. I recently discussed some key tools to prevent in-house conflicts with Andrea Obston.
I have worked 50+ years consulting in family business matters, and I recognize the clues when family members begin the process of working on “the issues.” “The issues” vary, of course, but there can turning points when a family business needs an outside opinion, maybe some suggestions, to resolve painful or contentious situations. For those family leaders who would like to do some groundwork, I’ve created an online course called Re-Imagining Relationships For Families In Business. This is a distillation of what I have seen and worked with over the length of my career. I know for sure that the relationships within the family business dynamic (or any business dynamic, for that matter) are the key to sustaining the legacy of success.
These Four Pillars Support A Successful Platform
The lessons around each of the 4 Pillars include exercises and supplemental resources to help family leaders, or the upcoming family leaders, understand and incorporate the key takeaways from each concept. Pillar 1 is all about Alignment. Right off the bat there is an exercise in values clarification because a leader must begin with what he (or she) knows about himself/herself. Then his job is to learn where the rest of the family is with their values. Once all have agreed on a values statement for the business, then they can move on to Pillar 2, which is about Boundaries. Anyone who grew up with siblings already knows that personal space is an issue that begins with the very young. (Mom! Make (brother or sister) get out of my room! Or move over in the car. Or stop playing with my toys, etc.)
Boundaries should be addressed right away when sorting out how to best get the family business moving together towards success. Oldest child may feel she should be able to step […]
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 […]
Top Ten Family Business Facts | Fact #2: The Cluster Model Helps Capture the Evolution of Your Family Business Over Time
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
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.
Writing a letter that expresses business advice from the leader of a family business to the successors of the business is an excellent method for examining what is truly important. This exercise allows the family business leader to reflect on the values of the family, review past challenges and provide invaluable family business advice that will provide beneficial guidance.
Successful family business relationships are key to holding a family business together. Some of the qualities families in business must have to be successful include: shared values, shared power, traditions, willingness to learn and grow, activities to maintain relationships, genuine caring, mutual respect, ability to support each other, privacy and boundaries.
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.
The power of the Golden Share is immense. All family businesses should be using International Best Practices for Family Business. A family-owned business is, first and foremost, a business. If a family wants its business to be successful, if must be run the way any successful business is run. Keeping the focus on the business is what makes things possible.
It can be easy to create a family business mess - even when International Best Practices for Family Business are followed. Being aware of business mistakes to avoid is optimal for delineating clear responsibility for positions and accountability for outcomes. It's important to anticipate possible outcomes of family business decisions before a family business mess is created.