In my previous newsletter and blog post I referenced one of the most important books on my family enterprise bookshelf: Maps for Men, A Guide for Fathers and Sons and Family Businesses, authored by Edsel and Thomas Pyles—father and son.
The Pyles’ argue that for a family business to be successful fathers and sons must consistently confront sensitive situations and implement crucial decisions—both financial and emotional—in a forthright manner. They believe there is no room for passivity or neglect.
Early in the book the authors acknowledge their deliberate exclusion of mothers and daughters from their discussions—a point of contention which has been raised when I have spoken to others about their book. They write that they have a “deep appreciation for the heroine’s journey, the role of the mother in the family and the leadership provided by women in the business world.” They also recognize their concepts with regard to men may parallel a woman’s journey. However, their work is directed toward helping men understand their relational and generational issues.
The authors define their purpose for the book—set up a framework to help fathers and sons understand and solve their personal and professional issues, improve their communication and decision-making skills and achieve a leadership advantage in growing and managing a family company. Their premise—the way fathers and sons live their lives will be decisive for how the business turns out.