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. 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.”
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. 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. I acknowledge it is time for me to take what I have learned over my years in family business consulting and make it available in an online course. 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. My online course includes not only what I have learned first-hand from all my years of work, but it also includes supporting research to help understand why things may happen the way they do, and how to make lasting changes to prevent future obstacles.
Top Ten Family Business Facts | Fact #2: The Cluster Model Helps Capture the Evolution of Your Family Business Over Time
Traditionally, 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.
Trust 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.
One way to build relationships is for family members to learn together by attending conferences, workshops or classes. When multiple family members attend family business education classes together, they learn new skills and ideas and they can discuss those ideas with the rest of the family and determine how those ideas may be of use in their own situation.
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.
Strategic business decision making is related to consensus decision making in family business. Families that use a strategic business decision making process are committed to discussing issues until there is full agreement to move forward and implement a decision. If a family is committed to working together for the long term, it is best to embrace this model.
Family business values was one of the topics presented by David Bork at the Family Firm Institute’s 26th Annual Conference in Brussels, Belgium. Included in the presentation was a discussion about how the values and fundamental beliefs of family business counselors provide the foundation for their work with family business clients.
An Elegant Agreement is a family business agreement that is grounded in integrity. This type of agreement is analogous with the quote, "Take the high road through life. The view is better and it’s less crowded.” The Elegant Agreement is a win-win for everyone involved in a family business and helps preserve family relationships.