The Three Faces of Innovation in Family Business

The presence of entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a culture of Innovation within your family firm is possibly the strongest predictor of long-term success.

It’s important to understand that innovation is not confined to the development of new products and services, although this is indispensable. The vital part that innovation plays in business processes and organizational procedures is often overlooked.

Process innovation, sensitive to new technologies, consumer practices–a plethora of changing marketplace conditions –enables your business to make responsive changes in the ways that products or services are produced and delivered. Organizational innovation involves changes in management, workflow, and operations. These are often sensitive to generational outlook and leadership styles, as well as advances in office and plant technology.


The Networked Age–What Can LinkedIn Leaders Learn from Family Businesses?

I recently heard Jeremy Stover, LinkedIn’s head of leadership management and executive development, speak as part of a panel discussing the state of executive coaching. I asked him about the success of leadership coaching within LinkedIn, and he directed me to an article he wrote in December of 2105 entitled “Social Leadership in the Networked Age.”

In it Stover wrote that when LinkedIn leaders were asked about business challenges and opportunities they see, a theme became clear: “the phenomenal pace and relentless rate of change.” In his view a new type of leadership development is required at both the organizational and the individual levels to address these challenges.

“The Networked Age is here…” Stover declares. And it calls for leadership skills that go beyond those of emotional intelligence, authenticity, executive presence. clarity of vision and communication. While these will always be essential, they stop short of what is needed now–leaders who have a network perspective and understand the dynamic web of connections that impact their work, their leadership, and the leadership culture of their organization.

I agree with him, and I chose the title of this blog post because I believe successful family enterprises have recognized and made use of complex and long-standing networks connecting family- and non-family stakeholders across many generations.