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The Family Business Voice
18 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
BIC: How do you Transform a Legacy Business?
Listen to the episode on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and YouTube. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Gonzalve Bich, CEO and third-generation owner of BIC, speaks with Ramia about the visionary spirit that inspired the company’s evolution and how digitalisation represents a transformative opportunity for BIC and other family firms. Since 2018, Gonzalve Bich has been the CEO of the family business his grandfather, Marcel Bich, founded in 1945. He is guiding BIC through this period of unprecedented change using the same precepts of empowerment and family cohesion that made BIC a global brand in the first place. Episode Takeaways -The ability to transform has been one of BIC’s most important assets. The company places a high degree of trust in its people, which, Gonzalve explains, has been a key component in BIC’s international expansion — allowing BIC to adapt to every market at the local level. Adaptability is an asset that many family businesses possess, and it’s especially important now in this time of disruption. -Change simply for the sake of change is counterproductive, but re-evaluating strategies — even core business categories — is sometimes required to generate new successes. BIC leveraged this philosophy in developing its recent consumer centricity plan, which led to the creation of its BodyMark and EZ Reach product lines. -Delivering lifetime value is a foundational part of the family firm’s longstanding relationship with consumers all over the world. BIC is also fiercely proud of its entrepreneurial spirit and continuously innovates, creating value and finding new opportunities as a means to uphold its legacy. Read the full article here: https://www.tharawat-magazine.com/stories/bic-an-iconic-transformation/
21 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
What does it take to Survive the Family Business?
Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher and YouTube. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Ramia speaks with business leader, entrepreneur and author Priyanka Gupta Zielinski talks about her book “The Ultimate Family Business Survival Guide”, which examines the effective characteristics of Indian family businesses that all enterprises can adopt to navigate unpredictable events, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Priyanka Gupta Zielinski, Executive Director of MPIL Steel Structures Ltd., draws on what she has experienced working in her own family’s business to inform the findings in her book and present a unique manual to help family businesses thrive, even in times of crisis. Episode Takeaways -Many family business success stories begin when multiple generations are able to find common ground. Often, next generations can bring technological advantages to a business structure built with resiliency as a core tenant of its founding generation. -When confronted with business roadblocks, families benefit from looking within themselves and examining their business history and legacy. Leveraging a management style fortified by experience and wisdom can both empower and inspire those tasked with the tough decisions. -There are five tools that family enterprises can use as coping mechanisms during turbulent times, but the “flashlight tool”, which helps businesses visualise and fully understand future shifts brought on by disruptions such as digitization, is particularly relevant during the current times. Read Priyanka’s book here.
24 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Sustainability in Action: What Does it Take to Make it Work?
Listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher and YouTube. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Ramia talks to Professor Pramodita Sharma about her new book “Pioneering Family Firms’ Sustainable Development Strategies”, which charts the journey of 15 business families showing a commitment to sustainable development through their work in a diverse range of industries and geographies. Professor Pramodita Sharma is the Schlesinger-Grossman Chair of Family Business at the Grossman School of Business, University of Vermont. A prolific author and pioneer in her field, Professor Sharma’s work draws on her close ties to the business community as well as her experiences growing up in a family enterprise. Recently, her research has focused on understanding the role of spirituality, philanthropy and sustainability on strategic decision-making in the family business. Episode Takeaways: Sustainability is no longer considered an impediment to profitability; instead, it’s becoming a requirement. Long-term strategic planning has always been important for family businesses, where multigenerational entrepreneurship and succession are typically paramount. Sustainability supports survival and longevity by its very nature, connecting business activities with social and environmental initiatives that generate future prosperity. Examples from the book “Pioneering Family Firms’ Sustainable Development Strategies” illustrate the drivers behind 15 family’s sustainability journeys. In many cases, both consumers and next-gen leaders share the same passion for mitigating the long-term impact of harmful human activities on planet and people, helping to make these sustainable strategies successful. It’s typically easier for first-generation business owners to establish their sustainability strategies right out of the gate than for family businesses to pivot generations down the line. However, the case of a nearly century-old conventional produce packager that successfully shifted to offering 98 per cent organic products over 10 years shows how slow and consistent efforts can transform even the most established businesses. Despite the growing sustainability trend, many family businesses struggle with the first few steps on their path toward an environmentally and socially friendly business model. Business networks can be a valuable resource that brings business families together, allowing them to learn about sustainable development issues and approaches from each other. In addition, innovation focussed sustainability programs, such as the ones offered by the University of Vermont and others, provide a comprehensive education in sustainable marketing, accounting, and finance, accessible anywhere in the world through online learning. More and more, organisations are bringing families together in support of sustainability and helping to build a vibrant, environmentally and socially kind business community. Pioneering Family Firms’ Sustainable Development Strategies, Pramodita and Sanjay Sharma’s latest book, can be purchased here.
25 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Family Offices: What Lies Beneath?
Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn and Youtube. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Rodolfo Paiz and Ramia discuss how a family office can help families with everything from philanthropy to next-generation engagement, and what Rodolfo’s iceberg model reveals about the impact of the pandemic on family offices. Rodolfo Paiz grew up in a successful Guatemalan family business, and translated those experiences into a career in the family office space as a consultant and the CEO of Fidelius Family Office. Episode Takeaways: When it comes to starting a family office, the two most significant barriers are a lack of awareness around family offices in general, and the myth that the primary purpose of family offices is wealth management. Many family business leaders never think of starting a family office because they don’t see how it applies to them, especially when there are so many other matters to contend with. Family offices are a priceless asset to family businesses when it comes to family unity, education and back-office services — aspects that only become more relevant with time as family principles disperse geographically and the culture gap between generations widens. Rodolfo’s iceberg model separates the family office into six constituent parts. Wealth, financial and otherwise, is the only part of the iceberg that’s visible to outsiders, and is kept afloat by the other five layers below, which are family, education, governance, people and business. The pandemic has most affected family offices on the level of business and family, but in many cases, owning families were able to turn this pressure into positive outcomes by spending more time with each other while protecting or pivoting their businesses. The iceberg model; graphic courtesy of Rodolfo Paiz
24 minutes | May 12, 2021
What do Family Businesses Need to Last?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Rob Lachenauer and Josh Baron speak with Ramia about their new book The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook, and why we should challenge common misconceptions about family business. Rob Lachenauer, CEO and Partner at Banyan Global is an entrepreneur and consultant who advises owners of some of the world’s leading family businesses. Josh Baron is a Partner and Co-founder at Banyan Global. As a family business consultant, Josh has worked with a diverse range of family enterprises around the world, helping them manage conflict, achieve their goals, and move their businesses forward. He also teaches family business courses at Columbia Business School Episode Takeaways Many misconceptions exist around the family business — that family businesses are hotbeds of conflict, that family businesses aren’t agile, that the family business model becomes less relevant day-by-day — and these misconceptions, which proliferate in part because they make such good stories, can be harmful. Family businesses must understand that these ‘weak spots’, complicated family dynamics, for instance, when managed well, can give them a competitive advantage that non-family businesses can never access. Family businesses are exceptional survivors. While they may not be able to pull together as much capital as quickly as non-family firms, their history and identity gives them a natural acuity for prospering in harsh environments. The value of family ownership shouldn’t be underestimated. Family ownership influences every aspect of the organisation, especially the more innate factors including culture, which positions a business for success or otherwise. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn and Youtube.
25 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
What is the Impact of Family Businesses on the US Economy?
Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn and Youtube. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Daniel G Van Der Vliet and Torsten M Pieper talk with Ramia about updating Astrachan and Shankar’s seminal 2003 research paper “Family Businesses’ Contribution to the U.S. Economy: A Closer Look,” and what their updated research says about the field of family business education. Daniel G Van Der Vliet is the John and Dyan Smith Executive Director of Family Business at Cornell University. Over the last 25 years, Daniel has worked with family business owners and next-gen successors, helping them connect with each other over the issues that matter most — those with the potential to impact continuity. Torsten M Pieper is an Associate Professor at UNC Charlotte Belk College of Business and the President of the International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA), the largest network association of family business researchers in the world. Torsten’s and his team’s work allows for an unprecedented overview of the state of family businesses in 2021 and a good indication of where they might go next. The research team was surprised to find that there are roughly 10 million more active family businesses now than there were in 2003 — encouraging news in the face of stereotyping that sees the family business model as outdated and losing momentum. Family businesses have, traditionally, been quite hard to study, with private ownership and staggering diversity in size and industry making data harder to come by than it is for large public companies. Getting the facts together is no less important, however. Family business knowledge translates to policies and practices that can help family businesses succeed. There is a huge gap between how people think of and idolise entrepreneurship (and how it’s generally taught) — the extraordinarily successful entrepreneur who builds a million-dollar company from nothing and then sells it for profit — and entrepreneurship in practice — families with a more long-term perspective and modest, compounding gains. A copy of the full research report, sponsored by Family Enterprise USA, and co-authored by Torsten Pieper, Franz Kellermanns, and Joe Astrachan, can be found here.
25 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
How can Family Businesses Stay Safe in the Digital Age?
Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn and Youtube. On this episode of the Family Business Voice, Philip Grindell, CEO of Defuse Global, and Ramia talk about how family businesses can stay safe in the digital age. Philip Grindell’s background as a Scotland Yard Detective with time spent seconded to British Intelligence gives him an in-depth view on just what can happen in unsafe situations. And now, he’s applying those insights to the world of private security, helping family business members, politicians and other high-profile clients stay safe both online and in-person. Safety starts with people. Regardless of the type of threat a family business has to deal with, that threat originates from a person on the other end, and a person in the business must let that threat in — knowingly or unknowingly. As such, businesses should vet their employees thoroughly and check in with them regularly to make sure they are doing everything they can to keep the organisation safe. Check more than just a possible recruit’s experience or skills; check their associations and their potential to heighten risk. Businesses should consider implementing safety governance. Even a few simple regulations can go a long way. Some examples of good safety governance are: changing passwords regularly and not using third-party hardware with unknown providence (thumb-drives from tradeshows, for instance). Start the conversation around safety before circumstance necessitates it. Only by encouraging a culture that recognises threats, whether physical, reputational or psychological, as real and serious can family businesses mitigate those threats when they arise.
22 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
How Can Community Be A Competitive Advantage?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, John J Lamont from Nowchem talks with Ramia about how his family’s bond shaped their succession strategy and how these experiences might translate to the family’s next generation of leaders. – John and his siblings literally grew up in the chemical factory, even living on-premise for a year after their parents relocated the family and started the business — an experience that brought them closer together. – The Lamont family approached succession in the most pragmatic way, starting an open, honest dialogue between everyone involved years before transition was imminent. As a result, John was able to make ambitious plans for the future, confident that family issues wouldn’t stand in the way of Nowchem’s expansion. – Nowchem has played a critical role in their community through the pandemic, staying open six days a week to manufacture cleaning supplies and keep people employed. Listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and TuneIn. Experience the full interactive article here: https://www.tharawat-magazine.com/stories/nowchem-the-bond-that-shapes-family-and-business/
26 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
What Behaviours Build Resiliency into the Family Business Dynamic?
In this episode of the Family Business Voice, Albert Myles speaks with Ramia about family dynamics, behaviours that build resiliency in the face of adversity and what to do when we are confronted with negativity. Albert Myles is a former professional basketball player who is now a philanthropist, mentor and a leading expert in the family dynamic, mental health and healthspan issues affecting enterprising families around the world. In his work as a family advisor and health coach to a diverse range of clients from couples who manage SMEs to CEOs and professional athletes, he’s seen both the pressure that prominence can exert on families as well as some effective strategies to help turn that pressure into a force for good. – Preserving wealth is only one small part of ensuring family business continuity. Family business leaders should invest as much time into preserving family dynamics and healthy family relationships as they do into looking after their more tangible assets. – Similarly, if next-gens are drawn away from the operational side of the business, they should be allowed to explore. They can still contribute to the health of the family’s wider interests in what will likely be a more fruitful way than if they are pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. – Establishing a safe place for open, honest dialogue is the first step in making sure that the health of a family’s dynamic is as secure as the health of the family’s business. Listen to the episode on Spotify, Itunes, Google, TuneIn and Stitcher.
19 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
What is Transformational Leadership?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Rania Labaki speaks with Ramia about how family businesses can support transformational leadership through governance, an exceptional skill in the face of disruption and adversity. Rania Labaki is the Director of the EDHEC Family Business Centre and Associate Professor of Management at EDHEC Business School. She also sits on several boards, including those of the predominant academic journals devoted to family business, offering her expertise both in an advisory and editorial capacity. In her work with family businesses all over the world, she’s seen transformational leadership in action, and has cultivated a deep understanding of the structures that make that transformational leadership possible in the first place. – Transformational leaders are agents of positive change in their family businesses. They set a course based on their values and motivate others to follow along in their stead, creating a ripple effect that stands to benefit the entire organisation. – Leadership is in no means static. Transformational leaders are perceptive, and act accordingly to the environment they are in, letting their context inspire or amplify the change they create. – Transformational leaders often initiate the process of building governance into the family business. Once that framework has been established, it paves the way for other transformational leaders, especially next-gens, to find their place and create the greatest impact. Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and TuneIn.
18 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
How Can the Next Generation Disrupt the Processed Meats Industry?
As a sixth-generation leader in his family’s meat processing business, Compaxo, Michael van der Post walks a virtual tightrope. He must honour five generations of his family’s business legacy while at the same time ensuring Compaxo’s sustainability with forward-facing strategy. Headquartered in Gouda in the Netherlands, Compaxo can trace its roots back to 1896 when Johannes van der Post opened a pork butcher’s shop. Since then, Compaxo has grown into one of Europe’s most successful pork processing operations. Today, Michael van der Post is one of 13 shareholders tasked with guiding this century-old operation through the era of digital disruption. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Michael van der Post and Ramia discuss balancing tradition with the need to adapt to a rapidly changing industry. – With a total of 13 family owners in the business, maintaining harmony can sometimes be challenging. For Compaxo, it comes down to trust and clearly defined roles within the family. This way, there is room for everyone’s ambition, and individuals can advance as far as they like within the business. – Michael and his generation of leaders often look to the experience of their predecessors. Once every couple of months, the older generation comes together to offer formal advice and guidance where needed. – However, it’s important to maintain a balance between the traditions of Compaxo’s past and the need to innovate. The processed meats industry is changing rapidly, and new ideas, like vegetarian options, for example, must be part of the equation to ensure Compaxo’s continuity. Listen to this episode on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or TuneIn.
17 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
How Can Technology Increase Competitiveness in the Family Business?
Chris Bosley’s passion for entrepreneurship led him back to the family business, Amorini, an industry leader in kitchen and joinery components. Now, he works alongside his brother, Mitch, father Steven and uncle Paul Atkins, diversifying Amorini’s product offering and developing a proprietary software platform called the Amorini Edge. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Chris and Ramia talk about Amorini’s family business dynamic, it’s new technological underpinnings and its continued commitment to the people that make it all possible. – Working outside Amorini with various start-ups provided Chris with a unique entrepreneurial environment, but he always felt somewhat removed because it was someone else’s money at risk. By joining the family business, he became directly invested in its success and ensuring the longevity of its legacy. – Helping others grow remains one of the fundamental principles of Amorini, and a value that Steven Bosley instilled in his sons from an early age. – The brothers know their strengths and are encouraged to excel in their respective areas. Having clearly defined roles has allowed Steven, and others, to watch the next-gen grow. Listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, Stitcher and TuneIn.
24 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Where do Purpose and Succession Overlap?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Ramia speaks to Russ Haworth, Family Business Advisor and Host of the show The Family Business Podcast, about where purpose and succession overlap. Haworth believes that healthy transitions lie at the heart of continuity, and as such, is passionate about helping next-generation family members find their place in the business. As Co-director of 'The Land of Giants', a research project that focuses on next-gen journeys, Haworth knows all too well the generational gap that threatens to derail even the most well thought out transitions. However, he's also seen how purpose, defined in open, honest intergenerational dialogue can do just as much to get the transition process back on track, even if it means next-gens opting out of the active role envisioned for them by their parents. With baby boomers reconsidering their place at the family business in light of the pandemic, managing transitions effectively so that all stakeholders involved benefit has never been more important. - The meaning that family business leaders give to the values they hold through their actions is the purpose of the business. - Translating that purpose from one generation to the next is difficult because even if they hold the same values, they will invariably see how those values apply to the everchanging world around them in fundamentally different ways. - Getting over those differences requires a high level of emotional intelligence, which families can work on by levelling with each other regularly and approaching their collaboration with empathy and openness. Listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, Stitcher and TuneIn.
17 minutes | Oct 15, 2020
How Can Identity Translate to Competitive Advantage?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Dr Axel Göhler speaks to Ramia about BESTMALZ’ expansion, his unique perspective on the world of German family beer and the modern concept of craft. - Since 2014, CEO Dr Axel Göhler, the grandson of founder Max Göhler, has spearheaded the company’s international expansion. Now, BESTMALZ distributes quality malts to more than 85 countries, including the US, China and Brazil. -The traditional German family malt producer is at the forefront of a recent surge in global demand for a modern bespoke beer experience, which, according to Dr Göhler, revolves around identity. - German brewers by law must adhere to purity guidelines set out in the 16th Century, but Dr Göhler's approach shows that there is still plenty of room to innovate, especially when it comes to logistics, customer care and IT support. Read the full article here. Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google, Stitcher and Tunein.
21 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
What Can We Learn From Cooperation?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Tadesse Meskela speaks with Ramia about his experiences with cooperation, its positive impact on Oromo communities and how the Oromo coffee farmer's journey serves as an excellent model for others around the world to create prosperity in life and business. For generations, 40 million Oromo have depended on coffee for their income – and, thanks to the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, they now see an appropriate share of the profits from a global market that depends on their labour and expertise. With extensive research, international NGO funding and hard-earned governmental support, Meskela completely revamped the Ethiopian coffee industry to a new standard that allows farmers to reap the benefits of their hard work. Throughout history, people have come together to solve their problems, and for places such as Ethiopia, where the primary economy is based on agriculture, cooperative formation directly translates to prosperity. Read the full interactive article here. Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google, Stitcher and Tunein.
19 minutes | Sep 10, 2020
How can Storytelling Strengthen the Family Business?
Storytelling is essential to the intergenerational transfer of knowledge, values and culture. In the context of the family business, these narratives, according to Guillermo Salazar, usually revolve around the founder and adhere to a particular structure - a ‘monomyth’ - that we are all familiar with: think the story of the Buddha, or Jesus. Moreover, subsequent generations of family business leaders look to this story -- the Hero's Journey - to continue to build the identity of the business - a critical piece in the multigenerational sustainability puzzle. On this episode of The Family Business Voice, we spoke to Guillermo Salazar, the Director of Exaudi Family Business Consulting, about the power of storytelling. Read the full article on the Hero's Journey here. Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google, Stitcher and Tunein.
23 minutes | Aug 21, 2020
How Can Aquaponics Change Our Food Systems?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Kaben Smallwood speaks with Ramia about the revolution in sustainable food production, how his Native American heritage influences his entrepreneurship and what the pandemic might mean for the future of aquaponics. Aquaponics is an ancient agrarian practice that has been in use for thousands of years, but applying aquaponic principles to modern agriculture is revolutionary. When Kaben Smallwood first learned about aquaponic systems, they resonated with his vision of sustainability – a cultural tenet passed down to him through the generations of his tribe, the Choctaw Nation. Symbiotic Aquaponic’s mission is to re-introduce aquaponic technology and bring it into the modern age to show people that they can feed themselves and their communities. Listen on Spotify, Apple, Google, Stitcher and TuneIn. Experience the full interactive article here.
20 minutes | Aug 14, 2020
What Does Indigenous Collaboration Look Like?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Viviana Jaramillo speaks to Ramia about Sol de Minca's collaboration with neighbouring communities, operating a business with Sierra Nevada indigenous values in mind and what indigenous leaders there are saying about the pandemic. As soon as Sol de Minca's owners knew they wanted to start a business on indigenous land, they contacted the local indigenous community to ask for guidance. A spiritual leader came onto the property and conducted a ritual so that they could grow food and build structures with nature on their side. They've learned that profit and sustainability aren't mutually exclusive and that the latter should always come before the former. Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google, Stitcher and TuneIn. Read the full interactive article here.
20 minutes | Jul 30, 2020
How Can You Market an Ancient Craft in a Modern World?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Samuel Bautista Lazo speaks with Ramia about indigenous production methods, the enduring quality they engender and the new channels he's found to market his peoples' product to the world. - In the remote mountain village of Xiguie'a (Teotitlán del Valle), Mexico, Benizaa (Zapotec) families combine a consummately modern approach to marketing with ancient artisanship and singular local wisdom. The 14,000-year-old craft of Benizaa textile has gained traction with a global audience on the digital marketplace through Dixza Rugs and Organic Farm. - Dixza is a business owned and operated by the Bautista Lazo family, master weavers for countless generations. Their rugs are hand-died and woven from “criollo” native wool, which honours both the timeless method of their ancestors, as well as the enduring quality they produced. - Samuel Bautista Lazo is the latest in a long line of Bautista Lazos to run the business. Unlike his ancestors, however, he studied in England where his research focused on eco-efficiency, industrial ecology, eco-design and industrial waste management. It was other more mundane experiences while in London, however, that led to a sea change in the way his family business would operate. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and TuneIn. Also, read the full article here.
24 minutes | Jul 24, 2020
What can the Wisdom of the Past Teach us about the Future?
On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Michael Connolly Munda-gutta Kulliwari spoke to Ramia about the important lessons we can learn from aboriginal art and culture. - The world is out of balance. The cycle of life was established long before humans, but we disrupted it and altered or destroyed elements that keep the planet healthy. - To achieve this balance once again, the next generation must find fixing and maintaining their land more rewarding than supporting a world of economic disparity overseen by billionaires. For the world to heal and grow again, living in harmony must trump living in wealth. - It's never too late to learn from the past. The world wasn’t always run like a machine – there was a time when the sun and the seasons guided our actions. In many ways, that message is what Aboriginal stories convey. That message of harmony is exactly what the world needs to hear right now.
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