Roy Gilbert

Create a Culture of Generosity and Communication in Your Family Business

Create a Culture of Generosity and Communication in Your Family Business

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What, exactly, is a “family business”? Definitions range from being so vague that they’re practically meaningless (e.g. “any business that considers itself a family business”), to criteria that’s so detailed, it specifies the number of generations and percentage of control that one family, defined granularly, exerts on a business organization. We believe that a family business is a business that is either majority-owned or controlled by one family, related by blood or marriage, irrespective of the last names of the family members. Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and they are here to stay globally, gaining power and influence daily.

Family businesses are frequently thought to be primarily mom-and-pop, small businesses. But most people fail to realize that large corporations such as Walmart , Fidelity , Tata , Cargill , Koch Industries , and Ford , to name a few, are all family businesses.

The phrase “family business” is made up of two very different words: “family,” which calls to mind warm, fuzzy feelings around love, joy, and support, and “business,” which is measured in money, profits, impact, and assets. We put the two words together, and often, use business measurements to put rules in place for the family. This is a recipe for failure. Splits and disputes occur often, even in families with well-laid-out constitutions and rules, not to mention a lot of money.

Part of the disconnect lies in the fact that family businesses generally start off with an entrepreneur who turns a dream into a business. At […]

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