The majority of businesses we work with and advise at Armstrong Watson are predominately family business owned, managed or influenced and as a strategic adviser to many business owners, I needed to gain a greater insight into how they manage and motivate themselves and the loyal team of people who work with and for them.
Six years on and absorbing information from written material, working directly with the academic Professors from Business Schools, filming and interviewing different generations from family firms and scrutinising fresh start-ups and established multi-site operations I keep coming across the same recurring theme. Emotion runs strong whilst rational thought always seems to play second fiddle.
Boardroom decisions, management meetings and kitchen table discussions will only be truly sanctioned after a longer period of cogitation and a period of sleep. Then, and only then will those thoughts be realised and introduced into the operations of a family business.
Alongside a strong emotional presence is the remarkable way that many family businesses go through a point of generational transition, and appear with a real spike of entrepreneurialism. If we looked at the root of entrepreneur we know it comes from the French word ‘entreprendre’ meaning to under-take. Which does perhaps mean that they are not risk takers, the next generation are those that just get on with what feels right to progress and grow their businesses.
I’m hoping my role as a Judge with this years Cumbria Family Business Awards will bring me opportunity to continue hearing about remarkable journeys. The challenges families faced, and the sheer determination establishing their family business roots as well as those who were once pioneers and have gone on to be established businesses engrained into the Cumbrian landscape.
Photo: CN Group
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