08/4/16

A Father’s Legacy

Several years ago my daughter gave me for Father’s Day a journal entitled A Father’s LegacyYour Life Story in Your Own Words.

Each page has a question with space to write on themes from a lifetime of experiences—childhood, family life, education, career, love and marriage, parenting. It asks for recollections of time spent with school friends, of summer holidays, the sports I played, my favorite memory of my mother, what I remember about my first date (being nervous, and asking my mother if I could use her car the day after passing my driver’s exam—she said yes), of my greatest joy in being a father—to name a few.

I have been adding to the journal, a little at a time, with increasing appreciation of the thought behind the gift. It is more than a way of passing stories along. It is a way of memorializing the values that built the stories—values that build families.

I know these memories will be cherished, as I cherish the memories of my parents. The success of a family business is in the family. The joy is in the family. Without that, what is there?

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.