5 Chapters
Medium 9781626561687

Chapter 1 Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurial Leaders

Cohen, Allan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Long-term business survival depends on effective entrepreneurial leadership—not only from the founders, but equally importantly, from each subsequent generation that runs the enterprise. In this, the first of our “what it is and why it is important” chapters, we describe the essential characteristics of successful entrepreneurial leaders and the unique challenges and opportunities in building these attributes in family firms. Clarity on these points will help us to discuss in chapter 2 how next-generation members can take initiatives to grow their entrepreneurial leadership skills and how other members of their family can support such endeavors to nurture and grow entrepreneurs in every generation.

At the core of entrepreneurial leadership is the constant willingness to seek unfilled needs and at least to consider whether it’s possible to provide a usable solution. Identifying critical elements of such leaders is harder than it sounds. It is a lot like playing golf; from a distance it looks easy, but a new player’s progress is thwarted by many hazards, only a few of which are actually visible. Just as golf is not a modified version of baseball, cricket, or soccer but a unique sport in itself, entrepreneurial leaders are also not simply entrepreneurs or leaders but a unique combination of both.

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Chapter 5 Secrets of Entrepreneurial Organizations

Cohen, Allan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It is always challenging to create organizations whose structures and practices produce the kind of people and behavior that help them grow and renew. Building a family business that can last past the founding generation by utilizing practices that sustain entrepreneurial thinking and action has its own extra challenges—and some potential advantages.

Family businesses that remain private, for example, are able to think and act more for the long term than just the short term. Because they are not driven by the requirement to predict, report, and precisely deliver quarterly earnings, they can dedicate the inherently lengthy time needed to challenge, nurture, and develop their people.1 A powerful vision for the business, along with the long tenures of family business leaders2 to reinforce it, can also help create a culture that fosters growth and innovation.

In this chapter we will discuss what is known about design conditions that encourage entrepreneurial initiative from all areas and levels of the organization, thereby raising the odds of generating new products, processes, practices, and structures—and even new businesses. Then we will apply the knowledge to family firms. Organizations best accomplish their goals when their design fits with their strategic objectives.3 Organizational structure and mechanisms are like paved pathways that encourage people to walk along them, guiding desired behavior that will accomplish organizational—and where built in—family objectives. Without organizational design, coordinated behavior would be accidental and random.

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Chapter 7 Action Planning, A Question of Balance & Timing

Cohen, Allan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Enterprising families nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in every generation. The potency and challenge, charm and terror of their context is that both families and businesses are infinitely intricate systems. When mixed together, they provide a multilayered tapestry of possibilities. As the examples in this book show, there are multiple options for action. The question is what to do, when? When should the target for change be at the organizational, familial, or personal level? The least complex first step is to focus on the personal level and prepare a learning and entrepreneurial leadership skill development plan for yourself. It generally helps to discuss and refine the plan with family members who can facilitate it. A focus on continuous development makes it easier to understand different perspectives and ideas. It also helps to temper the perceptions of being “privileged” or “spoiled” that are often attributed to family members from successful enterprises. In addition, it enhances the feelings of excitement and humility that are an inevitable part of the learning mode. Perhaps best of all, openness to learning is contagious and encourages other family members to undertake new developmental activities too.

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Chapter 6 Developing Entrepreneurial Organizations

Cohen, Allan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Redesigning a successful enterprise to accomplish new strategic objectives is hard. A recent McKinsey study found that 60 percent of a large group of global executives had tried organizational redesigns within the past two years but less than 25 percent of their efforts had succeeded.1 Enterprising families with a long-term orientation, determined to foster all levels of innovation—incremental, progressive, and breakthrough—while maintaining the core business find ways to accomplish this challenging task. It takes more than selecting some of the organizational characteristics that promote innovation and announcing them. Effective redesign and implementation requires careful planning linked to the long-term innovation objectives, understanding the current state of the organization to be sure that changes take current conditions into account, recognizing that not just roles and reporting relationships have to change but also actual practices and policies, seeing that the right people—family as well as nonfamily members—are put in place, and working hard at communicating clearly at all levels and managing the transition and its attendant risks while moving from the current state of the organization to the desired new one.2

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Chapter 3 Secrets of Successful Enterprising Families

Cohen, Allan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In 1745 Johann Diederich Neuhaus (JDN) built his first wooden shaft winch for the locks and the horse-drawn barges on the Ruhr river in Witten, Germany. Could he have known that in the vicinity of his family home he had laid the foundation of a company that would become a world leader in effortless movement of heavy loads? Seven generations after its foundation, JDN, led by Wilfried Neuhaus-Galladé, is one of the forty-four Henokien1 companies. (To become a member of the Henokien association, a company must have been in existence for over 200 years and be actively controlled and managed by the founders’ descendants.) Over the years, the winch forge has been transformed into a globally operating specialist for pneumatic and hydraulic hoists. While adapting to the changing market needs, each generation of this enterprising family has added a unique layer of entrepreneurial contributions to build on the work of previous generations. Today, JDN produces over 8,000 hoists a year for seventy industries across ninety countries. Meeting complex safety standards, its products work effectively in conditions ranging from icy to extreme heat.

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