04/14/16

More Than ‘Do No Harm’

I saw my internist recently, and we started to talk about a book written by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, entitled “Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery.” In it the author gives a viscerally disturbing account of what can go wrong in surgery and with the brain itself. He speaks about risk, he speaks about his growing experience and skill and he speaks about caring.

During this conversation my mind jumped, by association, to a principle of family business called stewardship.[1]

As a steward of my family business my leadership role is to receive the business from my predecessors, grow the business, the family wealth, the family itself, and then pass this multifaceted inheritance on to the next generation in better shape than it was in when I received it. More than do no harm, stewardship of a family business aims at building health and vigor and creating an ever greater family legacy.

The challenges of stewardship change as the business develops. The responsibilities of sole proprietorship differ from those carried by the head of a business with family members working in management or as employees. It changes when the founder’s children are born, and changes too when brothers, sisters and cousins become part of the picture.

At The Family Business Leader™ we help you meet the varied challenges of family-business stewardship and bequeath a healthy and vigorous inheritance to your family’s next generation… and the next.

[1] According to The Family Business Leader™: “Stewardship is defined as “a perspective that founding family members view the firm as an extension of themselves and therefore view the continuing health of the enterprise as connected with their own personal well-being.” http://www.familybusinesswiki.org/Stewardship

03/18/16

Giving Your Best

“My grandfather said to me, ‘Give the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.’[1]

Upon reading this, a particular family-business story came to mind: A friend of mine, the youngest sibling in a second-generation family business was frustrated by his father’s strong-minded control and by his older siblings’ apparent apathy. He saw that rather than giving their best, his siblings were showing up for work daily but purposefully only “treading water” until they were able to take control of the business.

My friend had left the business once and was about to again because he was unable to give his best within the confines of the family situation.

This complex situation might well benefit from counseling. But my purpose in writing this blog entry is solely to draw awareness to the lost potential for multi-generational family legacies when family members are not raised in a culture of giving their best in whatever role life asks of them.

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[1] Simmons, Annette, The Story Factor, Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling, p. 9, Annette Simmons. Basic Books. 2001.