A First Step To Resolving Issues In The Family Business

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 […]

Takeaways From Strategic Management Society’s Meeting In Paris

family business, consulting

It’s an irresistible combination: the SMS Annual Meeting (September 22-25), and it’s in Paris, so here I am. The meeting brought together some 1200 people, about 90% of whom have PhDs in some aspect of planning, and everyone with an interest in sustaining successful family businesses.

From the program: “Family businesses are a prevalent form of organization in most of the world’s economies . . . The aim . . . is to identify and reflect on critical questions regarding latest developments in the field of strategy . . . and specifically related to trends such as digitalization, demographic change, and political tendencies of protectionism.” The Sunday session panel chairs were Fabian and George Tovstiga, both of the prestigious EDHEC Business School (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord.) The panelists were Ludovic Cailluet, EDHEC, Nadine Kammerland, WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Carlo Salvato, Bocco ni University (and also Vice President of FFI.)

What I want to say is that in my experience, much of the research is focused on what conditions do or do not exist in family businesses. I believe there should be more focus on what actions might be taken by family business consultants to improve overall operations. That’s always been my motivator in working with the over 500 families during my 50- year career. “I hear you. I see your issues. Now let’s do something to change them.”

Many of my peers are also interested in seeing new research be more in the arena of practical applications rather than just esoteric concepts and constructs. Our panel later that week in Paris was more centered on the gap between researchers and practitioners, and we discussed the need for greater dialogue between the groups.

It’s always exhilarating to spend time with […]

It’s My Life’s Work—And It’s Time To Share It

family business, consulting New online course now available

In early 2018, in the deep winter of the Rocky Mountains, I sat down to write about what I’ve done for a living for the last 50 years. Yes, 50 years. For the last 5 decades I have worked to help families in business grow, prosper, stay together, keep the love, and pass the torch when the time comes. When I started, there were not many people who could be called in to help a family that was both in business together and in crisis. Now there are college courses in family business management being taught in major universities and there are family business consulting firms all over the world.

I have traveled extensively in this profession, and I treasure the friends I have made and the colleagues I continue to work with in all the various countries. Over the last few years, I observed how the world has changed and how people can now learn about whatever topics they find interesting and/or necessary by just booting up their computers. I acknowledged it was time for me to take what I have learned over my years in family business consulting and make it available in an online course.

On Thursday, September 13, I made a presentation to the Tulane University Family Business Center, and I announced that my new online course is now available. Re-Imagining Relationships For Families In Business takes the learner through what I know to be the Concepts, Methods, and Techniques That Can Work Miracles.

Successful families make a commitment to build and maintain healthy and functional family relationships that further the goals of the family business. Such a platform for success is anchored on these 4 Pillars: Alignment, Boundaries, Communications, and Competency. […]

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.

Eloquent Advice For Families in Business – A Letter From a Mother to Her Sons

Letter WritingWriting 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.

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.

This Is A Custom Widget

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.