Thursday, 25 October 2012

Family Business Is Dynamite!

Friday 16 March, 2001
Dynamite is an industrial explosive. It is made up of a mixture of two components: nitro-glycerine and a substance called kieselghur (kee - zl - goor). When mixed together these two components form a 'stable' substance until it is activated. And we all know what happens when dynamite is activated.
Like dynamite, family businesses are also made up of two components: 'family' and 'business'. These two components are not necessarily compatible; if they are combined improperly they can create a potentially explosive mixture. To be effective, families in business must integrate the positive aspects of a family and at the same time ensure that the negative aspects are kept in check.

Love and work – a powerful combination.

When asked to name the most important things in their lives, most people answer: family and work. By mixing the two most important things in their lives, families in business create vital organisations with the potential for explosive power. The critical challenge for the family business is to learn to harness that power to produce positive outcomes.

Properly handled, the explosive power in family business can be put to good use leading to creativity and innovation, teamwork, enhanced productivity and growth. Incorrectly or inadequately handled, the power has the potential to produce explosions with negative consequences leading to distracting and damaging conflict, family feuds and break-ups, and business failure.

Family business objectives.

Most family business owners want to achieve two related and equally important goals: a profitable business and a happy family.

What action to take.

To achieve these goals it is necessary to establish and maintain equilibrium or balance between the demands of the family and the demands of the business. This is a difficult but achievable double objective, as the many success stories of families in business demonstrate. It requires an enhanced awareness of the issues that confront families in business and the determination to address them early and in a positive way. It also requires a pro-active approach to implementing policies and processes that are conducive to achieving that elusive but rewarding balance. It does not just happen by itself; it has to be worked on.

Talking to other families in business; reading books, articles and newsletters on family business related topics; and attending specialist seminars and workshops are processes which can assist in creating an enhanced awareness level and provide the impetus for taking considered and effective action.

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