“The biggest challenge for business families is the synchronous development of both company and family (co-evolution) via skilful management of the associated, seemingly unsolvable contradictions.”
Prof. Dr. Arist v. Schlippe, Universität Witten-Herdecke
Family and business are two systems that each follow a completely different internal logic, but are still reliant on each other. What was a silent consensus in the establishment phase requires a forward-looking harmonisation of interests in subsequent generations.
If this tension is successfully dealt with, the results are real champions who can succeed across generations, dominate market segments and also go global. The strong character of the family can also however bring about the risk of self-endangerment for the company. This can be due to sticking too long to formerly successful strategies, ignoring changing market conditions, not resolving the succession question or by shareholders falling out amongst themselves.
We support families in the management of contradictions and challenges from the systems involved. Our concern as the owner’s sparring partner is the identification of the resulting opportunities and risks, planning alternatives at an early stage, and taking into account the requirements of the affected people and systems. This demand sometimes also means protecting the company from the family and setting up cross-generation rules with a “Family Governance Code”. The purpose of this apparent prioritisation of the company is of course that in the long run, the owner family can only benefit from the company’s success if it is properly secured.