LGA offers a variety of workshops, seminars, and presentations for family businesses, universities, and professional groups.
Programs range from a keynote address to a half-day or multi-day workshop or a full course. Each program is tailored to the particular needs of the sponsoring group or institution.
We strongly believe that it is important for family businesses to learn from each other as well as from the “experts.” All of our programs combine an overview of state-of-the-art thinking and current research with audience participation.
LGA ON EDUCATION
Through discussion groups and “hands-on” exercises, we try to stimulate people to share ideas and learn by drawing on their own skills and life experiences. We also offer an array of experiential learning programs and retreats to enhance team building and family leadership collaboration.
LGA has identified eight Core Curricula from current research and consulting programs. Members of the firm are prepared to teach programs on any of these topics in a variety of formats:
GERSICK ON GOVERNANCE
Like individuals, business families go through predictable stages as their members age and grow to maturity. At each stage, the family is confronted with a new set of challenges and issues that must be resolved. This seminar covers the central themes in any developing family: marriage, parenting, sibling rivalries, relationships between cousins, communication, family style. The framework will be the stage model for business families described in “Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business:” Young Business Families Young adults in a family business may be married and have small children. They face the twin challenges of establishing a business and building their family unit. Entering the Business Families At this stage, the children are grown and making choices about education and career. Their parents are coping with the changes that come at mid-life, which forces them to look back at their own earlier career decisions and forward to their future direction. Working Together Families The stage at which two generations of adults are building a business together, while managing the dynamics within the network of their multiple families. Passing the Baton Families The main challenge at this stage is anticipating and managing the transfer of authority and responsibility from one generation to another. In most cases the program or seminar will include:
- An overview of contemporary ideas about family development;
- A genogram exercise in which participants create a family tree in order to understand their history and relationships;
- Discussion of the special issues facing families at each stage of development;
- Smaller “breakout” sessions in which members of the same generation from different families discuss common issues; and,
- Best practices for getting different age groups to work together effectively through understanding each others developmental needs.
More and more business families are creating foundations to channel their charitable giving and give further opportunities for family members to work together. Their reasons are many: The foundation may be seen, in part, as a wealth management/tax strategy. But it also may be created to fulfill obligations to the community; to help others deal effectively with health or welfare problems that have affected family members; to honor religious beliefs, or to demonstrate core family values to the younger generation. The seminar covers both philosophical and pragmatic topics. It explores the meaning of philanthropy and its impact on families. It also covers, as time permits, the range of organizational structures families choose to carry out their philanthropic work. Among the topics the program or seminar may include:
- An overview of contemporary ideas about philanthropy
- An exercise for exploring “Values About Inheritance and Philanthropy”
- A discussion of special issues such as relationships with the community, selecting trustees, and continuity planning in family foundations
- Generational breakouts to discuss techniques for involving adolescents and young adults in philanthropy
- Discussion of best practices in governance of foundations
How do business-owning families determine the future of their firm? Experience suggests the underlying processes are more emotional than rational. Some entrepreneurs decide to cash out, while others want to pass their business on to heirs and leave a family legacy. Some families have a strong tradition of anointing a single successor as the leader; others feel strongly that if multiple members of the junior generation show promise as leaders, they should share power and work together as a team. Understanding the “Dreams” that animate a family’s vision of the future is crucial to making strategic decisions about the direction the business should move in and the structure of ownership and leadership at the top. This seminar examines the “archetypal forms” of family business Dreams. It encourages participants to explore and share their own individual and family dreams. The session will cover:
- An overview of the role of Dreams in forming a strategic vision for the enterprise;
- An exercise to help participants discover and articulate their own individual Dreams;
- A discussion of how a Shared Dream is woven out of the individual Dreams of family members;
- An exercise, often using family breakouts, for weaving the Shared (Collective) Dream (?); and,
- A discussion of the critical process of testing Dreams against the constraints of reality.
Family businesses at any stage of their development can benefit from establishing clear, well-functioning governance structures. But complex family enterprises – such as sibling partnerships and cousin consortiums – almost always require governance structures in order to succeed. This program focuses on three different types of governance structures:
- The strategically oriented Board of Directors for the business;
- The Shareholders Assembly, in which owners can discuss ownership issues such as major borrowing by the company, liquidity and dividends; and,
- The Family Council, a forum for family members to discuss family issues that have a bearing on the business.
The seminar or program can include:
- An overview of governance structures and the proper role of each
- A Family Council design exercise
- A Shareholders’ Assembly design exercise
- A Board of Directors design exercise
- A discussion of how governance structures can work together for the benefit of business and family
This seminar examines the development of successors as a continuous process which begins ideally when children are young and just learning about the business and continues even after the young adult has taken charge of the business. Drawing on the extensive literature on adult development, we describe the best practices family leaders can follow in responding to the developmental needs of young successors at every stage of their careers. The framework used is the stage model of family development described in “Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business.” The topic is complex and best explored in a seminar format with several family members in attendance over 2 to 3 days. However, a descriptive version can be offered in a forum setting. If time permits, a program on this topic can include:
- An overview of the developmental model and the continuity tasks at each stage;
- Exploration of the role and relationship of mentors at each stage;
- Breakout sessions by family (when multiple families are attending) or age groups (who have similar developmental needs) to discuss decision-making about succession; and,
- Discussion of best practices and essential tasks for continuity planning.
A seminar providing a hands-on, step-by-step guidance in evaluating and developing successor-candidates and designing a system for choosing the leader(s). The key steps in selecting successors include:
- Identifying the leadership needs of the business
- Devising a leadership profile based on the company’s strategic needs
- Systematically gathering performance data on successor candidates
- Assessing each candidate’s capabilities
- Making the choice of leader
- Establishing a timetable for the transition
- Announcing the choice to the world
- Dealing with unanticipated consequences of the choice
A typical program will include:
- An overview of the eight tasks in selecting successors;
- An introduction to assessment tools and designs for evaluating successor “readiness”;
- Use of case examples to stimulate discussion of challenges and solutions;
- Breakout sessions to allow participating families to apply the concepts discussed to their own situations; and,
- An exploration of the consequences of successor decisions on the business and the family.
One of the most exciting advances in psychology in the past three decades has been a rediscovery of “normal adulthood” as a fascinating area of study. This work illuminates how men and women continue to change and grow as they move through the eras of their lives: young adulthood (20-40) with its initial choices about family and career; midlife (40-60) full of critical reassessments and the gradual rise to authority and control; and late adulthood (60-80), the new frontier for many adults, an unexplored territory of opportunity and reflection. The seminar introduces new perspectives on development throughout adulthood, with special emphasis on how the challenges at each stage of life may affect career patterns and relationships in the family business. The program or seminar usually includes:
- An overview of adult development, using the model developed by Daniel Levinson of Yale in his “Seasons of Life” books;
- A “life-charting” exercise for all participants;
- Discussion of special issues confronted by participants in family businesses at each stage of the life cycle;
- Exploration of how family dynamics may change as family members reach different developmental stages; and,
- In some circumstances, breakout groups bring together people of different ages to discuss issues raised by each’s developmental stage.
“Why does he act that way?” “What was she thinking?” “I don’t get how they operate?” “Why don’t they understand me?” If you work on a team, these are common, everyday questions. In a family business, you may be asking yourself these questions continually about your work team and your family. Members of a team and a family often think and act very differently. At times, we can just laugh at these differences, but at other times they become the seeds of conflict and tension. This half-day workshop is designed to help participants understand personality and work style differences among members of their family business “team.” We use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to see how individuals relate to others, process information, make decisions, and organize themselves. Each of the participants fills out this short personality inventory as part of the workshop. The participants assess their own styles and then the group discusses how differences in style may either undermine the work of the team or make it more effective. The program includes:
- An overview of personality preferences and conflicts in teams;
- An introduction to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator;
- An exercise using the MBTI with feedback for each participant; and,
- A discussion of practical methods for putting differences to work on your family business team.