Entrepreneurs in Every Generation

How Successful Family Businesses Develop Their Next Leaders

Allan Cohen (Author) | Pramodita Sharma (Author)

Publication date: 06/06/2016

Entrepreneurs in Every Generation

Companies that are owned and run by families need to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills just like any other company, but family firms face obstacles that “hire and fire” companies don’t. Family dynamics rarely perfectly mirror the best practices in the latest Harvard Business Review.

So what factors in the family and work environments enable the creation of leaders who share the entrepreneurial fire of the founders? Are there specific education, training, and experiential pathways that tip the odds of entrepreneurial success across generations? How do some firms manage to bypass or work through the family conflicts, disparate visions of the future, sibling rivalries, generational struggles, or external disasters that seem to mark the demise of so many family businesses?

Allan Cohen and Pramodita Sharma, scholars with deep professional and personal roots in family business, draw on extensive global research to reveal the secrets of enterprising families, using examples of both firms that flourished and failed. They describe the practices that characterize entrepreneurial individuals, families, and organizations and offer detailed advice on how to develop and implement those practices. Each chapter ends with a work sheet that helps readers to create an action plan for building entrepreneurs in every generation.

Worldwide, most businesses are family businesses, from behemoths like Walmart to your favorite little restaurant. This book offers profoundly practical advice that will ensure that they thrive into the next century.

Read more and meet author below



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Overview

Companies that are owned and run by families need to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills just like any other company, but family firms face obstacles that “hire and fire” companies don’t. Family dynamics rarely perfectly mirror the best practices in the latest Harvard Business Review.

So what factors in the family and work environments enable the creation of leaders who share the entrepreneurial fire of the founders? Are there specific education, training, and experiential pathways that tip the odds of entrepreneurial success across generations? How do some firms manage to bypass or work through the family conflicts, disparate visions of the future, sibling rivalries, generational struggles, or external disasters that seem to mark the demise of so many family businesses?

Allan Cohen and Pramodita Sharma, scholars with deep professional and personal roots in family business, draw on extensive global research to reveal the secrets of enterprising families, using examples of both firms that flourished and failed. They describe the practices that characterize entrepreneurial individuals, families, and organizations and offer detailed advice on how to develop and implement those practices. Each chapter ends with a work sheet that helps readers to create an action plan for building entrepreneurs in every generation.

Worldwide, most businesses are family businesses, from behemoths like Walmart to your favorite little restaurant. This book offers profoundly practical advice that will ensure that they thrive into the next century.

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Allan Cohen

Allan R. Cohen, MBA with distinction and DBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, has been at Babson since 1982. Professor Cohen holds the Edward A. Madden Distinguished Professorship in Global Leadership and is in residence at the San Francisco campus. He completed seven years as vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty and recently served two years as the interim dean of the graduate school. He was awarded the college’s highest honor, The Walter Carpenter Prize for distinguished service. 

His career has been devoted to increasing the leadership and management skills of practicing and aspiring managers and to building innovative academic organizations. A consultant on organizational change and leadership for companies as large as GE, IBM, and Lafarge, and as entrepreneurial as Access Technology and Menon and Menon Diesel Engines, he helped found the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. He has also lived and worked in the Philippines, England, and Holland and has consulted in China, Brazil, Venezuela, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Singapore, and Dubai. At the University of New Hampshire, he was the J. R. Carter Professor of Management and helped build the Whittemore School.  Throughout his career he has directed and taught in executive development programs for thousands of managers. 

Dr. Cohen’s first book, based on his doctoral dissertation, was Tradition, Change and Conflict in Indian Family Business, published by Mouton in The Hague. He is the coauthor with David Bradford of numerous books widely used by managers: the best seller Managing for Excellence; the award-winning Alternative Work Arrangements; Power Up: Transforming Organizations through Shared Leadership; Influence without Authority; and Influencing Up. He edited The Portable MBA in Management. And his coauthored best-selling text book with Fink, Gadon, and Willits, Effective Behavior in Organizations, through its seven editions helped transform the teaching of organizational behavior. 

Areas of expertise include leadership and influence, changes in organizations, educational methods, management and organizational behavior, cross-functional teams, family business, management development for international work, negotiations, corporate entrepreneurship, and strategic change. He has served on the boards of several nonprofits, including First Place for Youth, Vinfen, Families for Depression Awareness, and the Cambridge School of Weston



Visit Author Page - Pramodita Sharma

Pramodita (Dita) Sharma, PhD, (University of Calgary) is the Daniel Clark Sanders Chair and professor of Family Business at the Grossman School of Business, University of Vermont. She is a visiting professor at the Kellogg School of Management’s Center for Family Enterprises, Northwestern University. She has also been a visiting scholar at Babson College where she served as the academic director of the Global Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) project for five years. Dita holds honorary doctorates from the Jönköping University in Sweden and the University of Witten/ Herdecke in Germany. 

Dr. Sharma’s research on succession processes, governance, innovation, next-generation commitment, and entrepreneurial leadership in family enterprises has been honored with several international awards. She is amongst the most frequently cited scholars in family business About the Authors 223 studies. In addition to nine coauthored books, she has published over fifty scholarly articles and book chapters on family business studies. Her book on entrepreneurial family firms (with Hoy) is being used in family business courses around the world and has been translated into Mandarin. And the SAGE Handbook of Family Business (with Melin and Nordqvist) is described as a “must read” and “critical resource for all students and scholars of family business.” 

Sharma is active in leadership and advisory roles in a number of professional associations. She serves as the editor of Family Business Review, a highly ranked journal of business. With Mark Green, she co-founded Family Enterprise Research Conference in 2005. This annual conference attracts leading family business scholars from around the world. In 2013 she launched the Global Family Enterprise Case Competition. 

Pramodita received the prestigious Barbara Hollander award at the twenty-fifth anniversary conference of the Family Firm Institute and received the Life Time Influence and Impact award at the 2015 Family Enterprise Research Conference. 

Sharma maintains close links with the business community. Supported by various private and government agencies, her research is well received both in academic and practitioner outlets. She is a frequent speaker at gatherings of family business leaders around the world. This interaction enables her to share insights from evidence based research with practitioners while ensuring that her research remains focused on issues of significant importance to the family business community. Experiences and close interactions with her own family’s enterprises help keep her professional work rooted into the realties and complex dynamics of these fascinating enterprises that dominate the economic and societal landscape around the world.

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Table of Contents

Contents

1. Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurial Leaders

2. Developing Entrepreneurial Leadership Skills

3. Secrets of Successful Enterprising Families

4. Developing Enterprising Families

5. Secrets of Entrepreneurial Organizations

6. Developing Entrepreneurial Organizations
7. Action Planning—a Question of Balance and Timing

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Endorsements

“It was very hard for me to put the book down. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, so much rings so true. I wonder had I read this years ago how my life might have been different. The book documents so much of what our family is living through! It has lots of great ideas for preparing the next generation to continue their roles as stewards of the brands and family participants.”
—William S. Fisher, Board Member, Gap Inc.

“Allan Cohen and Dita Sharma have written a highly insightful, clear, and pragmatic argument that innovation in family companies is essential for multigenerational success. This will help families understand how to innovate in every generation and how to develop leaders who can bring about needed change in the family business.”
—John Davis, Chair, Families in Business Program, Harvard Business School, and Chairman, Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise

“The entrepreneurial spirit in my family and our business has been one of the most important factors in our continued success through six generations. Finally, a book that not only acknowledges the importance of entrepreneurship to the long-term success of family businesses but also provides a practical guide to families who want to keep that entrepreneurial spark alive from generation to generation. This book is a joy to read and will transform the way you think about families in business.”
—Sylvia Shepard, former Chair and Founder, Smith Family Council, Menasha Corporation, fifth generation

“I am so excited to see that finally a book has been written on entrepreneurship through generations. Entrepreneurship is generally abundant in the founder, and somehow the desire to do something different starts to fade away with the next generations. In my family I encourage and support entrepreneurship for the next generation.”
—Surya Jhunjhnuwala, founder and Managing Director, Naumi Hotels, Singapore

“Cohen and Sharma adopt a distinctive structure that advances the discussion of entrepreneurial issues in families and includes chapters that describe what to do and how to go about doing it. The text is inspired by research evidence and introduces key concepts that are illuminated by some recognizable family business cases drawn from many countries. The research does not clutter the presentation but rather highlights the intellectual origins of the ideas described.”
—Ken Moores, former President, Bond University, and Consultant and Executive Chairman, Moores Family Enterprise, Australia

“Entrepreneurs in Every Generation is an inspiring read. Not only do the authors beautifully tie in the important role entrepreneurship plays in the sustainability of family enterprises, but they also provide real case studies and tools for change. A must-read for business owners and their families.”
—Ramia M. El Agamy, Editor-in-Chief, Tharawat magazine, Dubai and Switzerland

“This new book by two well-respected academics in the family business field integrates insights from psychology, strategy, and change management with cases studies from family companies around the world. An interesting and readable book that is especially useful for next generation family business members.”
—Judy Green, PhD, President, Family Firm Institute

“Cohen and Sharma shed light on the key points needed to ignite the entrepreneurial spark within generations. They bundle this up in a beautiful and interactive way. A great read!”
—Willy Lin, Managing Director, Milo’s Knitwear and Milo’s Manufacturing, Hong Kong, second generation

"The authors have compiled and demonstrated the clearest and most comprehensive list I have ever come across of all the key practices necessary to ensure the development of the Entrepreneurial spirit in every generation. This “Magna Carta” of trans-generational entrepreneurship should be made a compulsory reading for all members of Family Businesses.

This is the best gift I could have wished for! You cover in this book all the topics I wrestled with over the past 25 years, and some I had not faced or seen yet, but which I will now be either preparing myself for, or implementing.

It is also very timely, as my older son is now less than 2 years away from entering university, and this book will be a perfect discussion support between him and I. So thank you, thank you, thank you!"
-- Cyril Camus – 5th Generation owner and CEO, House of CAMUS Cognac

"…a great book for business families that are looking for a learning opportunity to build their business entrepreneurially. Flexibility and change are the essence of entrepreneurship in a rapidly transforming society such as India and other emerging market economies. Professors Allan Cohen and Pramodita Sharma, two stalwarts with several decades of accumulated combined wisdom in different countries, have brought together their insights on family entrepreneurship in this book.

[They} have done an exceptionally good job of describing the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of building entrepreneurial family businesses… the present contribution …has the potential to be a change agent and create the road map for business families to be not only agents of transformation but also institution builders of the nation."

--Professor Kavil Ramachandran, Executive Director, Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise, Indian School of Business






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