New initiative helps family business execs hone leadership skills

Ah A new training initiative wants to develop better leaders for family businesses in West Michigan.

of Family Business Alliance Established Leading Forward: The Institute to Develop and Inspire Family Business Leaders to support and mentor leaders in family businesses who have already experienced leadership succession and have been identified as stewards for the next generation.

Family Business Alliance Director Robin Burns

The program is designed to help family leaders “manage the dynamics of a family business” and navigate the unique aspects of running a family business, says Family said Robin Burns, Director of Business Alliances. This can include the pressure to carry on a family legacy, preserve the business for future generations, and balance what’s best for the business and family, Barnes said. increase.

“Being a leader in a family business is a challenging undertaking, and they recognize that they have recently faced market turmoil, including pandemics, workforce and talent issues. In addition to facing the challenges of leading a family-run business,” she said. “They have become custodians of the entity. They are now responsible for more than just the P&L. , can survive.”

The Family Business Alliance partnered with Virginia-based InnerWill Leadership Institute and Chicago’s The Family Business Consulting Group on this initiative. The program is built on focus groups with local family business leaders to help them understand their current challenges, what they want help with, and how gathering with colleagues can help them understand their leadership style. We talked about, Burns said.

Scheduled to begin in August, the five-month program will include five half-day face-to-face workshops and one-hour individual coaching and mentorship sessions. Working with group and individual coaches, participants identify business, family and personal issues they want to address and “develop plans and strategies to understand how to address those issues,” Barnes says. has said.

With over 160 family-owned business members, the Family Business Alliance is accepting applications for the program through March 15th. The first cohort will have 12 to 14 participants, Burns said.

Ted Epperson, president and facilitator of the InnerWill Leadership Institute, said the goal of the program is to align family goals with business goals. The idea is to make sure the cultures within the business and family are in sync, and that the right processes and governance are in place to achieve the long-term goals of both.

“So is family, so is business. So is business, so is family,” Epperson said. “These family relationships and the desire for family health and harmony can lead to poor business choices.”

Betsey Fortlouis, director of development partnerships and advisor at the nonprofit InnerWill Leadership Institute, says the family goals of the individuals who fund the business can conflict with the company’s goals.

“We want participants to explore roles that really lead and enable families and family-run cultures, whatever their business strategy, so they can continue to thrive and thrive.

Program lessons focus on leadership styles, team development, effective boards, innovation, and culture. A key component of any leadership program is ensuring that the family-run business has a consistent focus on developing the next generation of leaders and planning a succession from generation to generation.

Succession is typically on the minds of all family-owned business leaders, but fewer than 1 in 10 “actually have conversations that are difficult to carry out,” says Fortlouis. said.

“They get stuck. We all know, but thinking about it and keeping that conversation in your head is very different from communicating it and talking to the stakeholders who need to help execute it. It depends on

The InnerWill Leadership Institute was started by Luck Companies, based in Manakin Sabot, Virginia. Luck Companies is a large, fourth-generation, family-owned company that is “very focused” on succession, he said, Epperson.

Epperson said the company is continually looking at ways to develop leaders at all levels, identify future leaders, and vet and evaluate them.

“It’s a real challenge and it’s expensive, but it’s an investment and it’s the only way to make sure the organization is sustainable over the long term and that we’re constantly developing our talent.” “Otherwise you have to go out on the street and try and buy. It may or may not fit your culture. Many family businesses has a really strong culture and can reject such outsiders.”

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