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New Leadership for the Family Enterprise

The Center for Family Enterprises  at the Kellogg School of Management is an international center for research, writing, and teaching focused on the unique nature of the family owned business. Executive education is an important part of the Center’s mission, offering programs addressing the array of issues that lie at the intersection of family and business. Topics such as governance, business succession, and business culture have special meaning to those engaged in the management of family enterprises, especially when the business is growing and multiple generations of family members are involved.

“Family enterprises face every issue that confronts a publicly or privately held business, but every issue must be managed against the backdrop of family ownership,” says Professor John Ward, Co-Director with Professor Lloyd Shefsky of the Center for Family Enterprises at Kellogg.  Click here to view video: Professors Ward and Lansberg discuss the New Leadership for the Family Enterprise program benefits.

Ward says that a change in the size of the family is one of the most important factors driving leadership issues in a family owned business. “As a business grows, it becomes increasingly complex, creating its own demand for a more formal organizational structure,” he wrote in a recent article. “Adapting governance practice to the emerging needs of families and businesses as they grow can be a very complex and challenging job. It is also unavoidable.”

A Program for Family Leaders
New Leadership for the Family Enterprise is specifically designed for those involved in running and managing family owned businesses. “Ideal candidates for this program are new family CEOs or CEO-designates, as well as new family council chairs or board chairs, directors and trustees” says Ward.

Faculty members teaching the program are senior members of the Kellogg School faculty, including Professor Ivan Lansberg, Academic Director of Family Enterprise Executive Programs at Kellogg. Lansberg is an organizational psychologist specializing in family enterprise and family philanthropy. Prior to joining Kellogg, he was a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management and editor of the journal “Family Business Review.”

New Leadership for the Family Enterprise  will explore:
  • Understanding Leadership in Family Enterprises
  • Leading Shareholders and the Board of Directors
  • Understanding Your Personal Leadership Style and Vision
  • Balancing Work and Family
Also joining the program faculty is Professor Michelle Buck, Director of Leadership Initiatives at Kellogg. “Independent of the business, families have a strong sense of identity,” said Buck. “While a clear sense of identity is important in any form of business, it becomes even more important in a family enterprise. It can be rich in establishing an organizational culture that unites and engages people.”

Buck notes that closely aligned with identity are values that are shared by both the family and its business. “Loyalty is a good example,” she says. “In a business context, if the underlying value of the family identity is loyalty, it will very likely apply to the business as well: ‘We stick together during good times and bad.’ It will be the basis of resilience for both the family and the company. Leaders in a family enterprise should look for synergy - the best of who they are as a family and how it can be reflected in how they do business.”

Emphasis on Immediate ROI
A hallmark of the Kellogg School’s executive programs is emphasis on providing information and skills that can be put to work immediately by program participants.

 New Leadership for the Family Enterprise features the support and expertise of a professional coach for each participant. The coaches provide advice, support, and additional resources to participants before they arrive, during the program itself, and after their return to the family business.

A second special feature is titled “Transitioning Back to the Family Enterprise” in which each participant builds an action plan for ways in which the material learned on campus can quickly be put into action back in the workplace.

The experience of New Leadership for the Family Enterprise led one recent participant to say: “Through conversations with the other participants and listening to the faculty lectures, this has been the first time I felt that others understood the complexity of leading a family business.”
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