A 3-day program that trains family members to be the shareholders their company needs
The Preparing Owners of a Family Business program helps family business owners learn the essential skills and understandings needed to contribute to the long-term, owner-driven success of the family business.
Participants learn how to:
- Be effective, active owners of their family company
- Confidently make important ownership decisions
- Be instrumental in building unity in the ownership group around the owners’ vision
Many family owners are unprepared to serve in their ownership role. Most family owners receive shares in the company as part of their inheritance, without adequate orientation. The responsibilities of owners are often nebulous, leaving family owners to wonder: What is expected of me as an owner? What decisions do I make? How do I prepare to make them? How is my opinion represented on the board? How do I influence the business as an owner?
Owners rarely receive proper ownership training, yet they have significant decision-making power in a business.
With proper training, family members can become the capable owners that their company needs.
The program is a basic-to-intermediate level course for teams of:
- New owners
- Inexperienced owners
- Non-working (inactive) owners
- Soon-to-be successor owners
- Other owners who aspire to elevate the competency of the ownership group, grow in their ownership role, or who want to plan for eventual ownership succession
Teams of three or more individuals from the same family are encouraged. The program is particularly valuable for teams of next generation siblings and cousins, who benefit from working together as owners. If feasible, we recommend that a senior family member (owner, board member or family executive) attend with the next generation group, in order to deepen the learning by applying the program’s lessons to their own family business.
HOW OWNERS DRIVE SUCCESS FOR A FAMILY BUSINESS
- The meaning of ownership and its many dimensions
- The benefits, responsibilities and rights of owners
- Decisions owners make that affect family enterprise success, and how to prepare to make them
- The attitudes and understandings that make a strong ownership group
- Optimum allocation of decision-making among the owners, board, and management
BUILDING WEALTH & FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE OF THE COMPANY
- Multigenerational wealth strategy from an owner’s perspective
- Owners’ Dashboard: quick guide to key indicators that owners need to track in order to oversee business and financial performance
- Understanding tradeoffs between company growth, dividends, liquidity, and ownership control
MAINTAINING A UNITED OWNERSHIP GROUP
- Setting shared ownership goals and an ownership vision
- How to address typical tensions among shareholders
- Building unity among the owners, even if it means restructuring
INDIVIDUAL ACTION PLAN
- Each participant develops an individual action plan for him/herself during the program to grow in their ownership role
DIVERSE LEARNING METHODS
- Rich discussions, classroom sessions, Harvard case studies, small and large group exercises, and individual action plans
How the owners view and treat the family business has much to do with whether the business will survive and be perpetuated.
The need for strong owners is indisputable. When it functions well, an ownership group provides the business with the stability, vision and capital that allows family companies to outperform their non-family competitors. Families provide an especially solid ownership foundation which gives their companies an undeniable financial advantage.
Untrained owners put companies at risk. When a family ownership group under-functions and is unaligned, it destabilizes and weakens the business. The costs can be high, from stripping resources out of the company to confusing management to sowing disorder in the organization.
Business leaders wouldn’t hire an executive to manage their business without proper preparation, yet most families put their companies in the hands of untrained owners.
With nearly forty years of highly specialized expertise in family enterprises, the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise provides a deep and practical educational experience for shareholders.
Andrew Hier is a Senior Advisor and Partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise where he advises business families globally on issues related to shareholder relationships, ownership strategies, succession and next generation issues, and governance of the family, owners and business. He is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where he teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world, including at the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School. An attorney, he is co-author of the forthcoming book, Understanding the Power of Ownership. He is active in the Family Firm Institute, the premiere association of advisors serving families, where he co-chaired the 2014 Global Conference.
For over thirty years, Dr. John A. Davis has served as an academic, advisor, writer and speaker in the family enterprise field. He is a global authority on family enterprise, family wealth, leadership and succession. He is Founder and Chairman of the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, and Chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School, where he has been on the faculty since 1997. He is the author of Enduring Advantage: Collected Essays on Family Enterprise, Next Generation Success and Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, a preeminent work in the family enterprise field.
Eduardo Gentil is a Senior Advisor and Partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise where he advises business families on issues related to succession, boards of directors, family and ownership governance, financial planning, and ownership strategies. Since 2000, he has led the Brazil practice of Cambridge Advisors, and has worked globally with multigenerational families. He is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where he teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world, including at the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School.
Maria Sinanis is a Senior Advisor and Partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise where she advises business families globally on the assessment of the family business system; design and implementation of governance for the family, owners and business; next generation preparation for future roles; and resolution of family relationship challenges. She is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where she teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world, including at the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School. She is co-author of the book, Next Generation Success, with John A. Davis and Courtney Collette (2014).