Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook: How to Build and Sustain a Successful, Enduring Enterprise

Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook: How to Build and Sustain a Successful, Enduring Enterprise

Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook: How to Build and Sustain a Successful, Enduring Enterprise

Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook: How to Build and Sustain a Successful, Enduring Enterprise


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Navigate the complex decisions and critical relationships necessary to create and sustain a healthy family business—and business family.

Though "family business" may sound like it refers only to mom-and-pop shops, businesses owned by families are among the most significant and numerous in the world. But surprisingly few resources exist to help navigate the unique challenges you face when you share the executive suite, financial statements, and holidays. How do you make the right decisions, critical to the long-term survival of any business, with the added challenge of having to do so within the context of a family?

The HBR Family Business Handbook brings you sophisticated guidance and practical advice from family business experts Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer. Drawing on their decades-long experience working closely with a wide range of family businesses of all sizes around the world, the authors present proven methods and approaches for communicating effectively, managing conflict, building the right governance structures, and more.

In the HBR Family Business Handbook you'll find:

  • A new perspective on what makes family businesses succeed and fail
  • A framework to help you make good decisions together
  • Step-by-step guidance on managing change within your business family
  • Key questions about wealth, unique to family businesses, that you can't afford to ignore
  • Assessments to help you determine where you are—and where you want to go
  • Stories of real companies, from Marchesi Antinori to Radio Flyer
  • Chapter summaries you can use to reinforce what you've learned

Keep this comprehensive guide with you to help you build, grow, and position your family business to thrive across generations.

HBR Handbooks provide ambitious professionals with the frameworks, advice, and tools they need to excel in their careers. With step-by-step guidance, time-honed best practices, and real-life stories, each comprehensive volume helps you to stand out from the pack—whatever your role.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633699045
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 01/26/2021
Series: HBR Handbooks
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 319,596
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Josh Baron is a cofounder and Partner at BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors. He works with the leaders of family businesses to define their purpose as owners and establish the structures, strategies, and skills they need to accomplish their goals. A sought-after speaker who also teaches at Columbia Business School, Baron is a frequent contributor to HBR.org.

Rob Lachenauer is a cofounder, Partner, and CEO of BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors. Lachenauer, who works around the world helping business families thrive, is also a frequent contributor to HBR.org. He is the coauthor, with George Stalk, of Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win?

Connect with Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer at banyan.global or on LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter @BanyanFBA.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Understanding Your Family Business 1

What you will learn in the HBR Family Business Handbook 3

Part 1 Cracking the Code of Your Family Business

1 Decode Your Family Business 9

The impact of individuals 10

Make-or-break relationships 13

System dynamics 16

Summing up 21

2 The Power of Family Ownership 23

The hidden pyramid 24

The power to destroy 26

The power to sustain 30

The five rights of family owners 32

Summing up 35

Part 2 The Five Rights of Family Owners

3 Design: Choose the Type of Family Ownership You Want 39

What type of family ownership do you want? 41

Understanding the current and future implications of your ownership type 49

Changing your type of family ownership 51

Summing up 53

4 Decide: Structure Governance to Make Great Decisions Together 55

The Four-Room model 57

Structures: form your Four Rooms 59

Processes: integrate across rooms 69

Overhaul your governance 74

Summing up 76

5 Value: Create an Owner Strategy to Define Your Success 77

The right to define value: growth, liquidity, and control 79

Defining purpose in a business family 81

Setting owner goals 84

Creating owner guardrails 88

Developing your Owner Strategy statement 91

Summing up 95

6 Inform: Use Effective Communication to Build Trusted Relationships 97

Building trust 99

The trade-off between transparency and privacy 100

Drafting your communication plan 106

Summing up 114

7 Transfer: Plan for the Transition to the Next Generation 117

The right to transfer: 2G or not 2G? 118

The essential elements of successful continuity planning 121

How to set continuity planning in motion 139

Summing up 141

Part 3 Challenges You Will Face

8 The Business Family: Four Disruptions You Will Face and What to Do about Them 145

Death in the family 146

New people entering the business family 149

Inequality 154

Behavioral health issues 156

How to stabilize after a disruption 159

Summing up 162

9 Working in a Family Business 165

Deciding to work in your family business 166

Joining the business as an in-law 169

Preparing for life under the microscope 172

Thriving as an outsider in a family business 174

Summing up 178

10 Family Employment Policy 181

Decide how to attract the talent in your family 184

Create entry rules for family employees 185

Plan family employee career paths 187

Design feedback and development for family employees 188

Compensate family employees 192

Prepare an exit path for family employees 194

Draft your family employment policy 195

Summing up 200

11 How to Be Responsible with the Wealth of Your Family Business 201

Protect the golden goose 202

Build a portfolio to last generations 204

Prepare your family to be responsible with its wealth 209

Summing up 215

12 Conflict in the Family Business 217

Finding the Goldilocks zone of conflict 218

Moving from fake harmony to constructive conflict 221

The conflict spiral: from diverging interests to family wars 223

Escaping a family feud 229

Avoiding the conflict spiral 232

Summing up 234

13 The Family Office in a Family Business 237

The functions of a family office 239

How to know if you need a family office 241

Types of family offices 245

Building out your family office 248

Deciding when to close your family office 250

Summing up 251

14 The Dangers of Losing What You've Built 253

Recognizing warning signs that you might be losing control 254

Maintaining your family values 257

Responding to an economic crisis 262

Summing up 266

Conclusion: The Good Journey, Together 269

Notes 273

Further Reading 277

Index 283

Acknowledgments 293

About the Authors 297

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