Last week I attended the Crain’s New York Family Business Summit where I heard fathers, daughters, sons and siblings discuss the joys and challenges of working side by side. I listened to stories of how families managed to grow their businesses with each successive generation, and learned how family businesses are seen from the unique perspective of non-family CEOs. http://www.crainsnewyork.com/events-calendar/details/4/3417544
Here are my top seven takeaways
1. In a family business good communication is learned early within the family environment.
2. A family business can be like a tree with many branches growing in a variety of directions, but all branches have the same root.
3. When instilling motivation in a 400-person organization, know that some people will ‘get it’ and others won’t. Focus on the ones who do. Money helps too.
4. Multi-generational family enterprises who own their real estate can better control their destiny.
5. Ten years ahead is not too early to start planning for the transfer of leadership from a non-family CEO to a family member.
6. Coming on board early and learning the business from the bottom up proves invaluable for someone who subsequently takes on the role of CEO.
7. Family firms should seek a president who has an all-encompassing perspective on the business, as well as presidential and leadership qualities. If these qualities are not found within the family, go outside to hire the next-generation leadership. A subsequent leader might be a family member.