John, CEO of the firm, tells Robert that they are letting him go because he was coming up short on the competencies needed for his job.
John turns away and then back to face Robert. He says: “Son, I heard you lost your job. How can I help?”
Familiness in a family business is that unique set of resources which arise from the interactions among the family system as a whole, the individual family members and within the business itself. It describes a behavior that supports the family as a whole, the individual members and the business. Where it exists, it constitutes a competitive advantage.
In this story the strength of the family commitment is evident. John recognized and Robert understood that what was good for the business was good for the family, and equally what was good for the family was good for the business.
Familiness embodies the family culture, the reputation of the company, confidence and communication among family members, entrepreneurial spirit, management of non-family employees, and trust. It is what we compliment as the hallmark of a model family business enterprise.