In today’s global business landscape, many companies can trace their roots back to family ownership or a group of close-knit founders. If you’re working in such an environment as a marketing manager, director, or strategist, you may have encountered moments of bewilderment caused by the sudden and unusual decisions made by the founders or CEOs, particularly when they are part of the founding team or closely related to the family.

Let’s delve into some common scenarios that can leave professionals scratching their heads:

Scenario 1: The Approved Plan That Vanished

Picture this: You’ve meticulously crafted a comprehensive marketing plan to drive business expansion. After a series of discussions and approval from the company’s top management, your plan is ready to be implemented. However, a short while later, you discover that the budget for your meticulously crafted program has been drastically slashed, and worse yet, your entire development plan has been shelved.

Scenario 2: The Mystery Newcomer

On occasion, a new face suddenly emerges in the management team, and their qualifications for the role appear questionable at best. This unexpected addition to the team leaves you perplexed, as you wonder how such a decision was made by the board.

Before we delve further, let’s ponder what might be the driving factors behind these puzzling occurrences.

If you’ve had the privilege (or sometimes the challenge) of working in family-owned businesses, you’re probably already familiar with the answer. The crux of the matter lies in the fact that numerous financial decisions concerning family enterprises are inextricably tied to the personal desires and aspirations of family members.

Consider a scenario where a company’s founder has two adult children. The family’s daughter decides to pursue her education at a prestigious American university, the 25-year-old son yearns for a luxury car, and the matriarch of the family longs for an upgrade to a larger house in an upscale neighborhood, complete with custom furnishings. As a result, the company’s founder makes the choice to curtail advertising and product development expenses for the year to redirect funds towards enriching their personal lives. This decision, although significant, is often made without consultation, leading to a disruption in the company’s growth trajectory, and frequently without a valid explanation.

Another factor that often lurks beneath the surface is the intricate web of relationships and politics that can exert a substantial influence on internal company affairs. These dynamics, which are frequently shielded from the view of employees, can significantly impact strategic decisions.

Imagine, for instance, a coffee production company that secures permits to cut down forested areas to expand its coffee farms. However, the granting of these permits comes with a priceā€”an individual or organization involved in granting these privileges also gains a coveted seat on the company’s board of directors. This seemingly unrelated and opaque connection between business operations and political maneuvering can have far-reaching implications for the company’s direction and decision-making.

In conclusion, the unspoken strategic issues that arise in family-owned or closely-held companies often stem from the intersection of personal aspirations and business decisions. It’s a delicate dance that requires navigating not only the complexities of family dynamics but also the intricacies of political relationships within the company. Understanding these underlying factors can help professionals working in such environments anticipate and adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of family businesses.

By Reza

Leave a Reply