Family business: Is it your livelihood? Your legacy? Both? Regardless of your level of involvement, you want the enterprise to succeed and endure.
Successful businesses often struggle to remain viable against uncertain economic times, technological advances, shifting consumer preferences, and volatile markets—even without the complexity of dealing with family members. And some family businesses manage to flourish through multiple generations despite these challenges. What makes them different? More important, how can you learn from the experiences of what we call champion family businesses?
These successful family businesses take a long view, investing in the company’s development for future success. The champion family concept is linked to the family champion, a family owner who acts as a catalyst to help other family members become more effective. In order to facilitate significant development and change throughout the family, family champions engage and inspire the family to work collectively to sustain their legacy. Ultimately, family champions create champion families.
This book offers clear examples, practical tips and specific advice to start working on championship elements in your family. Each chapter ends with questions for you to consider, based on the material you’ve just read, to stimulate your thinking about championship ideas and issues related to your situation. The wisdom from these winning families and their stories can guide you around common obstacles and provide inspiration to your business family, regardless of its size or complexity.
Who can benefit from this book?
- Multigenerational business families across many sectors and geographies, grappling with increasingly complex systems and growing families. Especially valuable if you are going through transition, when you might be unsure about succession or leadership and how to best manage your family-ownership group. In such cases, your potential family champions can act in positive and effective ways.
- Champion families who want to continue to perpetuate their achievements and promote continuity. The work in these families is never done—in line with the concept of continuous learning—and the most successful families are always looking for ways to incorporate beneficial, applicable information to promote their longevity.
- Individuals within family business, from any of the three circles: family, owner, business employee. This includes older-generation members who want to put the best people and processes in place for the business longer term. It also includes rising-generation members who see transition-related and other challenges and want to make a difference, whether as budding family champions or just as owners seeking positive impact.
- Professionals who work with or govern family business and want to understand more fully the dynamics and patterns that influence their performance and the family’s well-being.
“This book opens new ground in the story of the success of multi-generational family business. Its focus is on the nature of innovative and resilience energy in the family, and how it often flows not from top to bottom, or from the old to the new. It is often the spirit and dedication of the newer ‘rising’ generations that fuels productive change and renewal. Through case studies that highlight the authors’ research, this book shows how families invest in innovation by investing in the human resources of each new generation.”
—Dennis Jaffe, Ph.D., Family Advisor, Wise Counsel Research
“While plenty of wonderful family business books have been written, Josh and Greg build on the work of those who have come before them to competently and articulately introduce us to possibly the most critical and catalyzing stakeholder in any successful family enterprise: The Family Champion.”
—Steve Lytle, Trustee, Director, Investor and Family Business Owner
“Every successful family business will better see the critical roles of the Family Champion behind their success. Reading this book will help assure the conditions for Family Champions to exercise their precious leadership for the long-term continuity of their family’s enterprise. The lessons of successful families will resonate with you and encourage you. The book’s stories and graphics will stick with you.”
—John L. Ward, Ph.D., Clinical Professor Emeritus at Kellogg Center for Family Enterprises and Co-founder of The Family Business Consulting Group
“Joshua and Greg have unearthed a gem — the most effective family leaders don’t always have business cards or even formal authority. Their work has encouraged and challenged me to identify and celebrate the ‘nontraditional’ leaders and influencers in my own family.”
—Chris Herschend, Vice Chair, Herschend Enterprises
“I hope that those who read this book will recognize the importance of the family champion role, and how they seek to unify and help the multigenerational family business. I’ll recommend this book especially to executives in family business, as the work of the family champion is focused on positively and directly improving trust amongst all three spheres of family business by actively promoting clarity of mission, values, communication, professional boundaries and healthy development of governance processes. As the family develops into a champion family, business leaders breathe a sigh of relief and outside directors and non-family employees see and feel a more certain sense of stability and commitment by the family.”
—Heidi Vermeer-Quist, Psy.D., Psychologist (Clinical & Family Business Consulting)
G3, Former Ownership Council Chair, and Former Board Member of Vermeer Corporation