How does the rest of the family face up to the challenge?

Family-run businesses present their own unique operating models.

Under the ideal version, the members have an understanding of each other and their mission along with a loyalty that’s unrivaled. The business is part of their identity. Each member of the family understands his or her abilities and place in the enterprise. Often, they learned the operation from childhood on, starting at entry level. For their employees, however, that can come at the price of exclusion and upward mobility.

Sometimes the organization is headed by a patriarch or matriarch with the authority to make and enforce difficult decisions. In this model resentments and perceived sleights can mount over the years before erupting. Or the family head may no longer fit the kind of executive the company needs at a particular stage of its growth; a founder, for instance, may have technical expertise but not the people skills for marketing or adapting to a changing market.

What have you seen or experienced?

 

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