01/29/16

Assessing Emotional Intelligence – The Results Are In

For the past two weeks I have been writing about emotional intelligence and its role in family business. From the many responses I have received, it is clear that this topic has struck a chord with readers.

This week I want to briefly show the value of applying emotional intelligence assessment within a family business. The case is presented by author Ernesto Poza in the 4th Edition of “Family Business,” published by South Western Cengage Learning. I use this text in my Family Business Management class in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York.

Poza writes about a family with challenging dynamics. They wished to create an environment of engaged conversation while ensuring all stakeholders were sufficiently respected. Following an assessment of the family’s facility for emotional intelligence they developed a Family Rules of Conduct. The rules they agreed to were:

  1. Focus on the future, not the past.
  2. Be a good listener.
  3. Put yourself in the other’s shoes.
  4. Stay focused on principles, not personalities.
  5. Make “I” not “You” statements.
  6. Say “Got it” whenever speech-making blocks progress.
  7. Disagreements are okay, as long as we are committed to arriving at an improved final decision.

What do these rules tell you about the family’s overall level of emotional intelligence?

Do you think the application of emotional-intelligence assessment tools was useful in this case?

01/17/16

You Are So Emotional!

Yes, I am emotional. l am your sister, brother, son, daughter, mother, father, another family member. We not only work together, we grew up in the same family. We share common experiences and emotional history–ingrained touch points that can trigger easily. Because of this familiarity, emotions can spill over into a family business much more often than would be acceptable in a non-family business.

In themselves emotions are not bad; they are valuable. Their energy drives the human psyche; they serve as social signals. When funneled properly emotional energy can be used to achieve significant positive outcomes. Unbridled, emotions can cause untold devastation.

Denying one’s emotions or discrediting those of others is destructive. It is important to cultivate an emotional intelligence to recognize our own and other people’s emotions; to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately. We are then better equipped to manage our thinking and behavior to maintain harmony in our families and success in our family enterprises, especially during times of increased stress.

Emotional intelligence is so vital to the success of family businesses that as part of my Family Business Management class at Baruch College, City University of New York, I have students assess their own level of emotional intelligence, and – since we can increase our capacity for emotional intelligence – develop a plan for doing so for themselves.

11/14/15

Developmental Stages of Multi-Generational Family Businesses

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing Lena Jungell, a fourth-generation member of The Fazer Group, speak at the Fall 2015, Global Family Business Event hosted by the Baruch College, Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship.

In her talk, Ms. Jungell presented elements essential for the growth and sustainability of a multi-generational family business. In my last two newsletters I touched on three of these: Vision, Values and Mission.

Ms. Jungell presented a fourth critical element–outlining the developmental stages of her family and its business across generations:

  • First generation: Built the business
  • Second Generation: Lived with and worked in the business
  • Third Generation: Worked in the business and established business-governance structures
  • Fourth Generation: Developed family-governance structures
  • Fifth Generation: Learned the business- and family-governance structures
  • Sixth Generation: Is already participating in the business while the fifth generation governs.

This pattern is fairly typical of family-business succession. I believe it is representative of a business that successfully evolves into a multi-generational enterprise without an initial intention to do so. Recognizing the pattern can facilitate the growth of any business family interested in multi-generational success.

11/7/15

Values, Vision, Mission: The Bedrock of Family Businesses – A Real-Life illustration

Last week I wrote about having attended the Fall 2015, Global Family Business Event hosted by the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College, where I heard a talk by Lena Jungell, a fourth-generation member of The Fazer Group.

An international, family-owned-and-run firm based in Finland, The Fazer Group proudly produces top-of-the-line bakery, confectionery and biscuit products as well as food and café services

Lena spoke about one of the essential components of family-business success and longevity, “The Development of an Owners’ Vision” Today I will write about two other equally important components–values and mission.

Microsoft Word - Document2To clarify what I mean by these three terms: Your vision is something you can see as a result of your efforts. Your mission identifies the action of achieving the vision. Values are those qualities, behaviors and points of view that a family holds to and deems important for the guidance of its members and its business.

In working to fulfill its mission —To Create Taste Sensations–guided by its vision–responsible business growth with a strong focus on long-term development–the Fazer Group stands firm on the bedrock of its values: Passion for the Customer; Quality Excellence, and Team Spirit. http://www.fazergroup.com/about-us/we-create-taste-sensations/

These values are the basis of all of their corporate strategy processes, ethical principles, responsible environmental standards, management systems and more. http://www.fazergroup.com/responsibility/our-responsibility/

This solid footing along with open articulation of their values is, no doubt, integral to the Fazer Group’s success as a thriving and growing sixth-generation family business looking into a prosperous future. As such, The Fazer Groups is a real-life illustration that demonstrates the long-term possibilities inherent in family businesses.

Next week I’ll write about the evolution of the Fazer-Group from its first generation into its sixth, and explore its business- and family-governance structures.

10/31/15

An Owners’ Vision

On October 22, I attended the Fall 2015, Global Family Business Event hosted by the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College, City University of New York. The keynote speaker was Lena Jungell, a fourth-generation member of “The Frazer Group.”She shared with us the story of her family’s business.http://www.fazer.com/our-brands/karl-fazer/finlands-most-valued-brand/.

Her talk, “The Development of an Owners’ Vision” presented a valuable model of the potential possible in family businesses. The Frazer Group has grown into an international company, now supported by and supporting six generations. One significant take-away from the talk was a picture of the strength the family derives from their collective values and the clarity of the firm’s vision—“to create taste sensations”. It’s simple, easily understood, and looks outward toward their customers and community.

Ms. Jungell added that the family-business’ vision has evolved over time through ongoing input from the owners, family members, society, and their environment. This reminds me of the statement made by Sam Johnson, former CEO of The Sam Johnson Company; that every generation has the responsibility to determine a vision for the firm under their leadership.

Next week I will write about family’s values as foundation of the owners’ vision.