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Lessons in Managing Family Businesses

Lessons in Managing Family Businesses

The book provides insights on how to overcome stiff challenges in managing family businesses.

Indian Family Business Mantras is a very comprehensive and well researched book written by family business expert, and a partner at Deloitte UK, Peter Leach along with Tatwamasi Dixit, a globally acclaimed Vedic scholar and one of India's leading family business consultants.

Lucidly written and well presented, the book focuses on family owned businesses and provides guidance in the arena of family dynamics, growth, change and transitions.

The book summarises and provides mantras on how to overcome stiff challenges and achieve success in managing family businesses. It speaks about three types of issues present in the family business, namely 1. Personality issues, 2. Structural issues and 3. Business issues. The authors address these three issues very comprehensively by dealing with family business culture, talent, succession planning and governance aspects relating to business.

It is interesting to read the views of the authors on long range thinking and succession planning of the family businesses. "Succession provides a classic example. Rather than waiting till the reading of the will to resolve questions like 'who gets the shares?' or 'who is best suited to take on managerial leadership?', in a family business it is possible to address such issues ahead of time."

The authors classify the business challenges that particularly affect family firms into three categories, namely 1. Modernising outdated skills, 2. Managing transitions and 3. Raising capital. The book puts forward brilliant solutions for dealing with these issues.

Leach and Dixit highlight how the misunderstandings, quarrels and lack of transparency among family members at home result in reduced productivity and undercurrents of resentment at work, which ultimately result in significant impact on the business. The book points out that the disputes between siblings and cousins can lead to demolition of family businesses. It also points out that Indian family businesses lack gender diversity and are generally dominated by men, although the situation is slowly and progressively changing.

The book suggests that the families have to work towards creating harmony at home - a condition for success in their business. The mantra proposed by the book is "Pray together", "Stay together" and "Eat together".

The authors very coherently present their arguments with real life examples coupled with stories from Indian epics and carefully chosen concepts of the western management philosophy that provides guidance to Indian managers.

The authors point out that some of the family businesses have transnational operations and the next-generation family members have often studied overseas. Their outlook towards the family business is thus very different from the traditional members of the family, which result in differences.

The book highlights the concepts and principles designed to help the families to create organised accountability among the family and in the business. The book suggests a governance structure overview for a multi-generational family business including family councils.

The authors have very succinctly analysed some of the top Indian business families including the Murugappa Group, Ambuja Group, Haldiram Group, GMR Group, Godrej, Biocon, Ranbaxy and Termax Group among others.

The author is Head - Group Human Capital, Max India Ltd.

Published on: Jan 09, 2016, 3:54 PM IST
Posted by: Gurpreet Kaur, Jan 09, 2016, 3:54 PM IST