Consultancy is rather like a ‘diagnosis’ phase that ensures I fully understand each of the ambition within your family, business and ownership systems.
Carrying out a ‘deep dive’ into each of these overlapping systems allows me to gather data and explore your priorities – it’s the cornerstone of future proofing your family business as it allows your aspirations and intentions to be clearly articulated and understood. By honestly and openly asking difficult questions in a safe environment, and encouraging discussion of what might previously have been un-discussable, I can begin to align your intentions as family members and business owners and be your resource for change. Crucially, this also allows us to build trust and understanding on a professional and personal level, setting the benchmark for a positive and collaborative working relationship as we work towards an aligned purpose.
Craig Letton | CEO (2nd generation), Managed Response Marketing (MRM)
Using this insight to more clearly articulate your aspirations and intentions, I can begin to map out the relationship between your business, your family and your existing and planned ownership needs. Together we start laying the foundations for continuity or exit planning, opening up any challenges to closer scrutiny and establishing your vision, mission and values in order to set clear measures for success in line with your strategic plan.
At the heart of educating your next generation is the need to develop and orientate future family leaders and owners. This means enabling them to acquire the essentials skills and understanding to contribute to the long-term, owner-driven success of your business family’s shared assets and trading business interests. I deliver this support through a combination of leadership and ownership training, development and coaching programmes.
Tim Cooper Jones | Non-executive Director (retired), Wm Jackson Food Group
Navigating the complexities of family businesses using the family/business/ownership model
Handling conflict and stressful situations
Evolving spheres of influence
Career planning for the succeeding generations
Talent spotting in the next generation (often in collaboration with HR)
Start driving next generation innovation to benefit business continuity
Coaching and mentoring programmes (find out more)
Examining and applying latest leadership theories
Preparing a family business for the future means orientating its owners for future complex decision-making – a key aspect of both continuity and exit planning. Working with family members, I support them to address and acquire the skills they require based on the age and experience of your next generation:
Business skills – Developing commercial oversight
Governance skills – Modernising and professionalising family and business interactions
Wealth skills – Developing a purposeful mindset towards money, wealth and inheritance
EQ Skills – Developing self awareness, active listening and communication skills
Quite simply, next generation education is a vehicle that offers the highest likelihood of success for onboarding next generation leaders. Engaging in ownership education ensures that the owners involved in leading, supporting or driving the family business are equipped with the professional skills and expertise demanded in any successful business environment, not just their own.
Coaching is about sharing troubles as well as dreams and is as beneficial to the most senior members of a family business as it is to emerging leaders. In fact, the most successful, experienced and senior people in business today use executive coaching to take time out to explore ideas, regain perspective, challenge narrow thinking or simply share challenges and ‘think out loud’ in an impartial and safe environment.
Kirstian Findlay | European Head of HR, Baxters Food Group
As a qualified coach, my approach is simply to begin a conversation triggered by the situation you are in. This is particularly effective in family businesses where the additional complexity of balancing business interests with family and ownership commitments can impact on clear judgment and decision-making. By introducing executive coaching I can:
Provide support to family members (both retiring and succeeding generations) as they progress through the transition process
Provide support to emerging directors and family business leaders (who may not always be family members) as well as business owners, enabling them to define and meet their personal and professional goals
Executive coaching allows you to explore the challenges you face in a safe and neutral environment away from day-to-day pressures. I encourage greater confidence in the existing and emerging leaders of your family business – both family and non-family members – by supporting them to develop the habits, self awareness and resilience they need for personal and professional success, allowing individuals to grow and flourish and stay true to their hearts.
In the family business environment, it’s understandable that family tensions can often intrude into the workplace or the boardroom, impacting on business decision-making and direction. Working with teams, families and individuals, family meeting facilitation better defines and facilitates improved and aligned family values. We will explore the family, business and ownership systems by addressing issues around leadership, ownership, wealth and asset management, and legacy and value ambitions. Some of the benefits this brings to business families are:
Handling conflict and stressful situations
Managing business family relationships
Career planning for the succeeding and retiring generations
Putting improved governance in place
Creating appropriate ownership forums such as family councils, family offices and philanthropic funds
Creating shareholder agreements, family business constitutions and modernisation of articles
Defining wealth needs of family members including the ‘weight’ of wealth on the next generation
Ensuring asset and business requirements can deliver family wealth aspirations
Considering reward and fairness in terms of distribution to family members, within and outwith the business
Defining the values that align the family members who are in business together – your business family DNA
Determining the type of legacy being handed on to the next generation
Exploring philanthropic giving intentions, strategy and planning
Founder (1st generation) | Generation 2 tourism business in Cairngorm National Park
By coming together, inter-generationally, to explore these issues we can enable family cohesion, alignment and (where appropriate) forgiveness and resolution. Family meeting facilitation also encourages the older generation to view the younger generation as responsible adults in a business context and the incoming generation to better empathise with the founder’s exit dilemmas (addressing both sides of the ‘sticky baton’ syndrome!). This allows us to develop clear stepping stones to leadership transition and address other issues more closely with the necessary resources.
Today, family businesses demand the highest levels of service from their team of professional advisors. But that service isn’t just limited to the advisors’ specialist skills in law, finance, human resources or any other field of expertise. More and more, family business owners and leaders expect their professional advisors to be equipped with softer skills too – the emotional intelligence that allows an advisor to evaluate a situation from the business family’s perspective.
Mike Willis | Head of Board Development, Institute of Directors, Scotland
My role as a family business advisor means that I can work as closely with the business family’s professional advisors as with the business family itself. With a robust understanding of the business family’s aspirations and intentions, I am ideally placed to support professional advisors too, allowing them to develop a wider understanding of the challenges of the family, business and ownership systems through coaching, bespoke training and strategic guidance.
The most effective and conscientious professional advisors help to illuminate and resolve the complex needs of the family business and the business family. Through open and honest collaboration, I can help professional advisors to strengthen their relationship with the family business they support, becoming a valuable resource for change.
Acting as an impartial outsider, I help privately-owned boards to determine if they have the correct composition and performance levels to develop best practice and effectiveness. Is the necessary mix of skills, experience, knowledge and diversity in place to deal with the challenges and opportunities facing your family business now and in the future? It’s particularly important to establish effectiveness on the board to ensure that the role of each key player – family or non-family – is clearly defined and will allow the business to flourish. A better understanding of governance reviews assists the impact of change dynamics and working practices. By supporting the evolution of strategies, I can help to modernise and professionalise owner-managed boards.
If you don’t have a strategic plan in place, then you’re not alone. Redefining your mission, vision and values is the bedrock to creating a solid and thematic strategic plan. In my opinion, this is one of the most important exercises you can undertake as it provides a clear reference point against which to set short-term and long-term goals. The inclusive owner-led thinking that goes into the creation of a strategic plan is as valuable as the plan itself.
Business families of wealth tend to be generous philanthropists as part of their inherent values-based approach to their communities. But are your philanthropic giving intentions well-planned and organised? I can offer specialist support, working with you to explore the causes you feel passionate about and supporting you to develop and align your philanthropic intentions, and those of your family members or trustees, with the appropriate governance in place to deliver them effectively. I am also a great believer in using formalised giving in business families as a perfect vehicle to help educate the next generation of business owners in commercial oversight and decision-making. Also, philanthropy can be a place for retiring family owners and directors to continue to use their expertise to deliver social and community impact.