My relationship with the word family is very special. I have always stressed on the importance of family bonds and its power in transforming businesses into sustainable institutions of love and compassion. However, I never had the idea of starting a family business.
The word family awakens many emotions in me. I believe family to be the backbone of an individual.
Then think about businesses driven by families. Though there are challenges, the benefits are manifold. The sustainability of a family business lies in the values on which it is built. In crucial times, strong values bind businesses together.
Often the founder is considered as the guiding light and visionary of a family business. However giving employees a clear understanding of the strength of values is one of the prime importance for the founder.
Even before my children were born, I had made a deep connection with my artisans. I wanted to make a meaningful impact in the world and knew I could do this by working with the talented artisans and helping them nurture their art. They eventually became a part of my extended family.
Raj Sisodia in his book The Healing organization said that, “The purpose of business is to alleviate suffering and elevate joy.” I feel especially when it comes to family business, the emotions are a lot intense and pure. For instance, one of the key factors that helped me to build my family business has been innocence.
With uncertainty looming in the future market, upskilling has become a necessary part in family businesses with agility, innovation and continuous learning playing a significant role in the growth of the businesses in general.
Leaders of family businesses also require a good understanding of the family business history, principles and values, while also being competent in financial management and aware of legal obligations and guidelines.
For fostering a family business the founders should train the future leaders exclusively on the values and mission. Some of the key areas to concentrate are as follows.
Articulate on the importance of Values and Purpose
Leaders should make the next generation have a clear understanding of the business. It will assist in identifying the skills they require and the behaviours and values they need to instill in the future leadership.
Focus on Development
Give the next generation a chance to know the work. Expose them to ground realities and train them with the frontlines. Give them challenging tasks and see how they tackle them.
There is no better way than this to learn and understand the nuances of the business. Make them work under managers, or somewhere else. Don’t directly involve them in business after studies. Remember with great power comes great responsibility.
Importance of Unlearning
One never stops learning but to succeed in the long run unlearning is very important. Preparing the leaders of the future to become champions of change requires a new mindset towards education, one which still acknowledges the merits of academic learning but reflects the growing importance of unlearning and relearning.
Document the Core
When a new generation joins away from the frontline and business process make sure that as leaders, our first gen entrepreneurs should document our core and vision for the next gen.
No Emotional Bias
Sometimes in family business, often the decision making turns into an emotional war game. Make sure that the business decisions and family decisions are separate.
Separate Management, Family and Business
If it is all mixed together, it hampers the growth. Make sure that you make a family constitution, a family board, and clear description with who has the final say on what.
Transparency in Communication
There must be open and honest communication. Make sure everyone’s opinions are considered and analysed before taking a final decision. Transparency is the key to succeed in family communication.
Irrespective of all this, family businesses use their values to mould the future leaders with a special focus on community involvement, diversity, creativity, humility and teamwork.
Values play a significant role in creating a bridge of understanding between the future leaders and management.