8 courses of 15 hours each.
Program will be taught fully in English.
This introductory module sets the stage for the Minor in Family Business Program. In these first two days, we discuss the distinct characteristics – strengths as well as potential weaknesses – not only of family enterprises, but also of the families that own them. We explore the basics of family dynamics, covering important topics such as birth order and sibling dynamics, effective communication and conflict resolution, and the role of cohesion in building a lasting, aligned, and effective enterprising family. We begin discussing the role of family governance, a topic that will be deepened in the Governance module (Module 3, led by Prof. Dr. Pedro Vazquez).
Dates: February 23 and 24
This module explores the emotional dimensions at the intersection of the family, the ownership and the business systems.
The participants will be invited to take upon the challenge of reflecting on three main questions by learning about the latest research and best practices and applying them to their own situation: Why our family business emotions matter? How emotions shape our behavior and decision-making? How to manage and govern emotions towards family harmony, responsible ownership and business continuity?
Dates: March 16 and 17
This module explores the basics of corporate governance: those structures and processes for securing and successfully performing the most influential organizational decision-making. It discusses effective governance practices and contextualizes governance in the specific case of family firms. The module includes the several dimensions that have to be governed in the family firm: the family, the ownership, the Board of Directors, and the management.
Dates: April 20 and 21
The challenge of transitioning ownership and leadership in a family business is both a strategic and emotional challenge. What should ownership look like in the next generation? What does the family business need from its next leader? How do we select that leader? This module will explore how families successfully answer these questions and how they build a system of communication and governance that allows for an effective transition between the generations. In addition, this module will explore how to engage the next generation in the family business as they grow and develop, help them build their credibility and knowledge, and help them be productive contributors to the family business. The challenge for the next generation is to find a place in the family business, the family business governance, and/or the family business ownership that reflects is authentic to who they are.
Dates: May 25 and 26
This module explores the capabilities and characteristics of centenary business families, and the lessons that can be learned from these multigenerational family dynasties, both on the business and the family side. On the first day, we discuss how these families develop values and visions that energize the family across generations and branches; how their alignment allows them to overcome obstacles, how they leverage their unique assets resources for the benefit of the business and the family, and how they manage to repeatedly reinvent themselves over time.
On the second day, we shift our focus to hidden champions, relatively unknown and sometimes small companies that managed to become leaders in their niche through smart utilization of limited resources. We will analyze what elements of their strategy make them world champions, regardless of their size. We discuss the combination of ambitious goals with a strong focus, high investment in innovation and the goal to become global from the very beginning. For this part, we also draw from the teachings of John Boyd and in particular, the concept of the OODA Loop.
Dates: June 8 and 9
This module explores the role of money in the business and the family. We talk about how to set reasonable financial objectives that align the needs and objectives of both the business and the owners and discuss how to prepare the next generation for ownership and wealth. We also explore the topic of ownership competence, which revolves around making sure that family members – both those within and outside the company – have the skills and knowledge necessary to make good decisions for the family business system, and to effectively perform their role(s) in the business and the family.
Dates: July 20 and 21
This module will tackle current challenges of family businesses and provide thoughts and solutions in order to overcome them and turn them into challenges.
The first part of the module will deal with current challenges on family firm innovation. While family firms were traditionally very successful with innovation, they’re threatened by the more and more ‘radical’ innovations and disruptive technological shifts experienced in the VUCA environment of the 21st century. For instance, many family businesses turned out as laggards regarding digital transformations. As a consequence, family firms are required to rethink their innovation approach. In this first part of the module we will discuss, amongst others:
- Innovation in family firms: advantages and disadvantages (‘SCENIC’ framework)
- Role of tradition for innovation
- ‘family innovator’s dilemma’ regarding radical innovation
- Digital transformation in family businesses – process, enablers, impediments
- Motives for family business – startup collaborations
- Role of intermediaries for family business – startup collaborations
- Constellations of family business – startup collaborations; risks, challenges, best practices
The second part of this module will deal with family offices. In the past, a classical situation was that one business family owned one family business. But this has changed. For instance due to constant dividends (or due to partial selling of shares), many business families have accrued sufficient wealth to invest into other assets. Other business families feel the need to diversify in order to reduce their risk. Hence, since the 2000s, the number of family offices has increased worldwide. While many service providers and media have distributed many myths about family offices, a profound knowledge is scarce. This is unfortunate, as knowing about family offices and related opportunities is key for business families that want to remain financially successful over the next decades. In this part of the module we will discuss the following topics:
- Different classes/types of family offices and reasons when to found/join them
- Building up a family office
- Investment portfolios of family offices
- Succession and governance challenges in family offices
- Family offices as private equity investors: (dis)advantages and best (worst) practices
Dates: August 24 and 25
This module integrates and synthesizes the material and the knowledge gained during the seven previous modules as applied to your personal life and business. it is a practical application of the concepts and learning to your own personal experience and a sharing with your fellow students. Students will present their personal and family objectives and development plan.
Dates: September 28 and 29