Takaways 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 others who are equally enthusiastic about a cause, and I had news to share about the recent release of my new online course, “Re-Imagining Relationships For Families In Business”. I reconnected with many old friends and colleagues, and my associate, Rania Labaki, and Christine Blondell of INSEAD, also on the panel in Paris, will join me in London in October for the annual meeting of FFI.

I’ll continue to talk about strategic planning in term of the four key topics that I have distilled to be critical after decades of practice: Alignment, Boundaries, Communications, and Competency. I’ll keep you posted as my journeys continue.

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.

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