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Thanks to Chris Casey for sharing his thoughts on what success means in family firms and some of the difficulties he encountered as he worked on his dissertation “Defining success in family firms using configurational fit: A quantitative study of family-owned construction firms” from Capella University.


This week’s FFI Practitioner addresses an often overlooked, but critical phase of the consulting process – contracting. Thank you to Judi Cunningham and Wendy Sage-Hayward for sharing this article that highlights the importance of contracting as an ongoing process, rather than a one-time discussion, and describes two levels of contracting that appear within an engagement.

In many parts of the world, October 31 is Halloween, so we couldn’t resist featuring some topics that might seem scary to approach with your clients. In the spirit of Halloween, here are some spooky editions.

When family business owners are evaluating non-family ownership succession options, often their advisers may suggest two primary options; selling the business to a “strategic buyer” or a “financial buyer.” However, this week’s edition presents an alternative option – selling the business to the employees, a “friendly buyer,” through an ESOP. Thank you to this week’s contributor, Dan Bayston, for sharing his analysis of ESOPs and the role they can play in a non-family ownership succession plan.

Thank you to this week’s contributor, Tom Hubler, for reflecting on his more than thirty-five years as a family business consultant and sharing some valuable insights he’s gained during that time. We hope you enjoy reading about Tom’s experience and learning about what he refers to as the “soul” of family businesses.

As an adviser, what can you do when the owner/CEO who hires you is wrong? According to Bruce Walton in this week’s edition, an objective board of directors can serve as a valuable ally to confront a misguided CEO and to get the company moving in the right direction. To illustrate his point, Bruce shares some anecdotes of how a board can help in these tricky situations.

For this week’s edition, we are excited to share an interview between Russ Haworth, host of the Family Business Podcast, and Kim Eddleston and Roland Kidwell about their presentation at the upcoming FFI Global Conference. Their presentation is titled “The Diversity of Deviance: How breaking the rules can hurt (and help) families and family firms,” which will address the different types and outcomes of deviance as well as covering how to use deviance in the family and family firm to improve performance.

One of the primary goals of FFI Practitioner is to provide readers with thought-provoking and practical articles to improve the services they offer to their family enterprise clients and the field in general. To further this mission, this week, we are pleased to feature a selection of articles addressing common topics, across disciplines, that can be used as examples or conversation starters with clients.

In a rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive environment, is the need for an Entrepreneurial Orientation critical to ensuring the long-term survival of family firms? In this week’s edition, which is a précis of “Entrepreneurial Orientation and the Family Firm: Mapping the Field and Tracing a Path for Future Research,” an article appearing in the September issue of FBR, Maya Prabhu explores this question and the important implications of this research on the field.

Do married couples make the most effective leaders of family firms? According to research conducted by this week’s contributor, Isabelle Le Breton-Miller of HEC Montréal, firms owned and run by married couples tend to outperform their competition. We hope you enjoy this edition that examines the potential advantages that married copreneurs can bring to a family enterprise.

When should a family begin to think about forming a family office and what factors should they consider when making this decision? Thank you to Iñigo Susaeta, this week’s contributor for continuing FFI Practitioner’s series of articles written in both English and Spanish by members of the FFI IberoAmerican Virtual Study Group.

We hope you’ve been enjoying the month-long FFI Practitioner series dedicated to the theme of “Reflections,” which concludes this week with a piece by Paul Chung and Chin Chin Koh. In this article, the contributors reflect on the ancient Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and explore its parallels to family enterprise.

The month-long FFI Practitioner series dedicated to the theme of “Reflections” continues this week with a very special interview with Dennis Jaffe, author of the recent working paper titled, “Resilience of 100-Year Family Enterprises: How Opportunistic Innovation, Business Discipline, and a Culture of Stewardship Guide the Journey Across Generations.” In this interview, hosted by Russ Haworth, Dennis reflects on some of the key takeaways from his study of nearly one hundred successful family enterprises.

The month-long FFI Practitioner series of pieces relating to the theme of “Reflections” continues this week with an article by the co-chair of FFI Practitioner editorial committee, Jamie Weiner. In this article, Jamie reflects on his own experience growing up with a father who was a “giant” in his community and explores the importance of creating rites of passage for next gen family business members to create their own identity and find their voice when succeeding a parent who is a “giant.”

This week’s FFI Practitioner continues the month-long series of editions relating to the theme of “Reflections.” Thank you to Ken Moores for this reflective précis, where he examines the research conducted about developing a legacy of an entrepreneurial mindset in “The Development of an Entrepreneurial Legacy: Exploring the Role of Anticipated Futures in Transgenerational Entrepreneurship,” an article that appears in the September 2018 issue of FBR.

Thank you to Patricia Angus of the FFI Practitioner editorial committee for kicking off a month-long series of editions relating to the theme of “Reflections.” In this week’s edition, Patricia reflects on the complexities of defining some key terminology in the field. In upcoming weeks, we’re excited to continue this reflective theme with pieces by Jamie Weiner, Ken Moores, Paul Chung and Chin Chin Koh, and an interview with Dennis Jaffe. We hope you enjoy the series!

This week’s FFI Practitioner continues our series of articles written in both English and Spanish by members of the FFI IberoAmercian Virtual Study Group. Thank you to Ricardo Mejia for sharing this case study about a client who encountered an important governance dilemma – should they focus on developing their corporate governance or family governance first?

How can learning the skills required by an actor make you a more effective adviser with your clients? Listen to this week’s interview with Mark Bagnall, a skilled stage performer and “artist-in-residence” for the 2018 FFI Global Conference to learn more about how you can utilize these skills to become a better adviser. Thank you to Russ Haworth, host of the Family Business Podcast, for interviewing Mark and giving us a sneak peek of what to expect from Mark’s sessions in October.

The decision-making process within a family business can be one of the most complex issues confronting consultants when working with a client. This week, we’re fortunate to share an article from Luis Medina, where he examines these complex processes within the context of Latin American family businesses.

How can advisers utilize the creative process and even mask-making to help family businesses address and resolve conflict? For this week’s edition, we are thrilled to share an interview between Russ Haworth, host of the Family Business Podcast, and Charlotte Dillon and Oliver Hallam about their presentation at the upcoming FFI Global Conference. Their presentation is titled “Unmasking Imagination and Creativity” and will be a mask-making workshop to explore how creativity can mediate family business solutions.