Family businesses in the agricultural and rural enterprise sectors
hold the key to delivering the platform for the growth needed to
secure a vibrant economic future for Devon and Somerset.
In recent years there has been a recognition
that “family businesses” have
characteristics which underpin the
development of a “new economy” –
stewardship, long term investment horizons
and governance, potential for sustained
and organic growth and values which
encompass strong and enduring links with
local communities and people. However,
sadly many family businesses fail, especially
on first succession when there is no clarity
about “what is family” and “what is
business”. Emotions and reluctance to
address hard practical issues can influence
or preclude business decision making to
the detriment of the long term survival of
the business itself.
It is now recognised that traditional
business schools, and management
theorists more generally, have not
recognised the “family business” as a
discrete area of study.
Carlock and Ward, in their book “When
Family Businesses are Best”, state that:
“There are three universal
challenges facing business
families in the twenty-first
century; first, addressing
generational leadership and
ownership transitions; second,
engaging the family to ensure
that its commitment becomes
a competitive advantage; and
third, aligning the family’s
investment of its financial and
human capital with the
business’ strategy for value
creation in an intensely
competitive global economy”
An exciting and unique opportunity exists
to be part of a special programme being
developed by the Global Family Business
Center at one of the world’s leading
business schools – IMD in Lausanne in
conjunction with Exeter University, Clinton
Devon Estates and the Government
sponsored Devon and Somerset Rural
Growth Network. This programme will run
for an initial 12month period during
2013/14 and is aimed at tackling head on
the issues identified by Carlock andWard.
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