Advising / Consulting / Family Business / Family Enterprise / Issues in the Family Enterprise

The Practitioner on Constituencies

The PractitionerNext week The Practitioner Editorial Committee launches the second in its series of special issues based on the conference theme of “Complexities, Constituencies and Constellations.”

Below is an introductory article on “Constituencies” as a prelude to the August issues.

Constituents – who are they anyway?

Dictionary definitions say constituents are:

  • People who voted for you — and…whom you now represent
  • Groups of people with a vested interest – their own, their families, their business, etc.
  • A clientele or body of consumers– the people you work for

People who vote for you or — the people you represent

As we all know, one of the key discussion points in the family enterprise field is “who is the client? Or… which constituents do you represent, if any? Fortunately a lot of people have thought about this over the years.

See below for articles from The Practitioner.

Groups of people with a vested interest

Sounds like a multi-generational family. And… as you probably recall, the inevitable intersection of family and business systems can lead to various dicey outcomes.

But… enter Murray Bowen, the psychologist whose work in family systems has been bedrock in the knowledge development of FFI.

For a recent NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) book analyzing his contributions to psychology and his concept of differentiation, go here The Origins of Family Psychotherapy: Murray Bowen

For a blog on this book by Jenny Brown at the Family Systems Institute in Australia, go here The Origins of Family Psychotherapy – Unique insights into the development of Bowen systems theory

Or…visit the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family at Georgetown University or …the Bowen Archives in Bethesda, MD. You can do either one as part of the annual global conference.

And.. some thoughts from Bowen himself;

  • “The goal is to rise up out of the emotional togetherness that binds us all.”
  • “The overall goal [of counseling] is to help family members become ‘systems experts’ who could know [their] family system so well that the family could readjust itself without the help of an expert.”


For this constituency – the people you work for or want to — consider Tips 39 and 49 from George Lois’ book Damn Good Advice (for people with talent). Actually there 120 tips in this little book from the marketing and advertising guru who “….changed world cultures.” (Business Week)

OK – You don’t want to buy the book? Here are Tips 39 and 49.

  • #39 “Go head-head with a prospective client by hitting the nail on the head. When a prospective client confronts you with a do-or-die question – nail him with the irreverent truth.”
  • #49 “It helps when you have a sharp-eyed client. Great work must be presented to the person who has the power to accept your creations…[always] present to the decision maker.”

Don’t miss the four issues on Constituencies which will start next week with interviews with Drew Mendoza managing principal of The Family Business Consulting Group and Jesus Casado, secretary general of European Family Businesses and joint CEO at Family Business Institute in Spain.

Yours in Practice,

The Practitioner


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