Unconventional wisdom: counterintuitive insights for family business success

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John L. Ward, Daniel R. Denison
John Wiley & Sons, Aug 1, 2005 - Business & Economics - 246 pages
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Family businesses prosper by pursuing unconventional strategies. Because they are values-driven and think very long-term, they take approaches not popular with current management fashion or most companies. That is the key to their competitive advantage.

Family businesses must find ways to simultaneously serve business needs and family goals, to safeguard economic interests and strengthen personal relationships. Both are equally important, yet they require very different priorities and principles. As a result, successful families in business must think paradoxically. They must find insights that single-purpose enterprises need not contemplate. They must dare to be different.

Family business is very personal and very culture-particular. As such, two fundamental insights have emerged from IMD's research and teaching experience with enduring family firms: 1. Individual responsibility is the most important ally to change; 2. Best practices are less important than fitting solutions to the specific family business context.

Family business requires a different governance system, but one that can nonetheless be controlled. Building on insights from the world's premier family business executive education course, this book offers the "Unconventional Wisdom" needed to leverage the strategic and cultural uniqueness of a family business for enduring success.

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Why Family Firms
Strategic Planning It Starts With the Family
How Family Business Culture is Different

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About the author (2005)

John Ward is The Wild Group Professor of Family Business at IMD, and also a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management (USA). He is director of IMD's renowned 'Leading the Family Business' program, in which he has taught since its inception in 1987.

Ulrich Steger holds the Alcan Chair of Environmental Management at IMD, is Director of its research project on Corporate Sustainability Management, and leads IMD's Global Corporate Governance Research Initiative.

Joachim Schwass is Professor of Family Business and Director of the IMD-Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie Family Business Center. He teaches Family Business and Entrepreneurial Management, is Program Director of the St.Moritz Family Business Seminar, and directs the Annual IMD Distinguished Family Business Award.

Jeannie Kahwajy is a professor of Organizational Behavior at IMD - International Institute for Management Development. Prior to joining IMD she worked as a coach, consultant, seminar leader and speaker.

George Kohlrieser, a clinical and organizational psychologist, is Professor of Organizational Behavior at IMD, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Wright State University, Ohio, USA, an adjunct faculty member of Fielding Institute San Francisco, USA, and an adjunct faculty member of Zagreb University, Croatia.

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