About the Book
In this book, a well-known family business expert and a partner at Deloitte UK, Peter Leach, and Tatwamasi Dixit, an internationally renowned vedic scholar and one of India's foremost family business consultants, focus on the ways and means to help family businesses manage growth, change and transitions. Richly illustrating each of their arguments with real-life examples as well as anecdotes from Indian epics, scriptures and history, the authors present compelling instances of family businesses-those which flourished and those that floundered.
With interviews and analyses of some of the top Indian business families, including the Murugappa Group, Ambuja Group, Haldiram Group, GMR Group and Thermax Group, the book offers ways and means to help both small and large family businesses achieve prosperity and longevity. Other case studies include Biocon, Reliance, Ranbaxy, Godrej, Max India, Future Group, TVS Group, Tata Group and HCL Technologies. Along with addressing issues as varied as governance systems, professionalism, intergenerational integration, generational transition and family business conflicts, the authors make a vital point: in the absence of foresight, no business is immune to decline.
About the Author
Peter Leach is a partner in Deloitte LLP in the UK and leads the firm's Family Enterprise Consulting practice for families globally. With over thirty years of experience as a business adviser, teacher and facilitator working with family business owners internationally, he is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of family business thinking.
Tatwamasi Dixit is the founder of FABRIC (Family Business Research International Centre), a global boutique consulting firm, offering family business advisory services and coaching to family business entrepreneurs for over two decades. He has mastered the integration of vedic principles with contemporary psychology and business management.
First of All, I must commend the authors for their excellent contribution to the literature on family business based on their rich and hands-on experience of family business consulting. The book has exhaustively covered fundamentals such as the subject of family domain, which is emotion based with emphasis on loyalty and relationships, versus the business domain, which is task based with emphasis on performance and results.
The family business is a fusion of these two powerful domains. This conceptual understanding is fundamental for family businesses and is well articulated by the authors. Family business throws up tremendous opportunities for superior performance as well as, at the same time, formidable challenges. These challenges need to be properly managed by setting in place time- tested governance systems and well-established practices to avoid pitfalls. Thus, managing family business is both an art and a science.
Historically and culturally, India has nurtured family relations with strong emotional bonds and connections. Our culture has carefully evolved and cultivated taking care of family members by the elders, and listening to and caring for elders by the younger generation. Brotherhood, family ties and strong family orientation are valued amongst all family members. Our great epic, Ramayana, is about four devout brothers led by Lord Rama and the unparalleled sacrifices, unflinching loyalty and respect of Lakshmana and Bharata for their elder brother. They have been the role models for most Indian families. But we have fallen into bad times, and disputes between siblings leading to the destruction of family businesses have become common. Once disputes arise, the focus of energy is on resolving them rather than on the business.
Flexibility in thinking and the spirit of give and take are essential in resolving disputes, rather than becoming involved in indirect communications which can deepen misunderstandings, resulting in disputes leading to destruction. This lesson is evident from Mahabharata where, if the cousins had created an opportunity for a face-to-face dialogue and avoided triangular communication through a third party while keeping their egos under control, the dispute could have been resolved and the war averted.
We have innumerable stories in Indian history to demonstrate the virtues of flexibility, emotional bonding and family values, but unfortunately disputes among Siblings within family businesses are still on the rise. This has become a huge challenge to family businesses in India, adversely impacting not only the sociological milieu, but also the economic strata of society. Family businesses make a huge contribution to the economic growth of our country but continue to suffer from unnecessary setbacks as a result of a reluctance to tackle these problems.
Comparatively, the Western world during the last five centuries witnessed tremendous wealth creation, and family businesses have thrived. This is because governance systems and best practices were put in place from the beginning, regulating family relationships and bonding with the right emotional connections within the family group. I strongly believe that good family governance is fundamental to foster good corporate governance. Successful family businesses in the West-such as Ford, New York Times, Cargill, Beretta and Michelin-could sustain themselves through generations as these families put in place good family and business governance systems. IBM started off as a family business and built a great institution in perpetuity with excellent corporate governance. Meanwhile, many old and established family businesses in India could not sustain themselves as they focused more on relationships than on good governance. Family disputes have destroyed many business houses, impacting negatively on the Indian economy and GDP in a serious way. It is very important that awareness is created in society that family businesses could become sustainable from generation to generation by overcoming the menace of family disputes.
Sadly, though India has been a land of entrepreneurs, it has encountered problems sustaining successful family businesses into the third and fourth generations in spite of its wonderful history, family culture, and its traditions embedded within ethical, spiritual and social values. This is because, barring very few, such businesses did not put in place family charters, agreements, constitutions and good governance, resulting in lack of good corporate governance. Though India has abundant entrepreneurial talent, family businesses have not evolved to realise their immense potential due to the absence of a systemic approach to integrate family with business objectives, as a result of which we have not been able to build many large multinational corporations.
Indian Family Business Mantras is written in a lucid style but with depth and understanding born out of the authors' experience, research and insights. The book serves as an invaluable guide as the authors have given examples from many family businesses in order to illustrate the various points they make.
Peter Leach and Tatwamasi Dixit were advisers to the GMR family and wrote its Family Constitution. They bring out something very special and unique by the fusion of Eastern traditions and values with Western management concepts.
Peter Leach is the Founder and Chairman of Peter Leach & Partners, which merged with Deloitte UK in January 2015, and has over thirty years of experience advising, teaching and facilitating multi-generational family businesses globally on various challenges. He is the author of many books and articles, besides being a consultant to a number of family businesses worldwide.
Tatwamasi Dixit is a management guru, a very successful family business adviser, and recognised for his knowledge, wisdom and unique integration of the rich and ancient Vedas and Upanishads with contemporary business models, leadership and management practices, psychology, economics and governance. It is very rare to see a personality of this sort with such immense capabilities and wisdom.
This book has come at the most opportune time and I am certain that it will create much needed awareness to upcoming entrepreneurs as well as established family businesses about the challenges in family businesses, and then motivate the decision- makers to take proactive initiatives to overcome them.
It will be clear from our author biographies that, although we are joint authors of this book, the two of us come from very different family business traditions.
We first met in 2004 when we were jointly commissioned as succession consultants to a large Indian family business. Working together, it became clear very quickly that there were significant cultural and social differences between Indian family businesses and their counterparts elsewhere in the world. Therefore, we decided to divide our consultancy role: Tatwamasi, steeped in the culture of India and a natural facilitator and mediator, concentrated on sensitive behavioural issues while Peter, from a UK and European background (although with fifteen years' experience working with large multi-generational Indian families), attended to the structural organisation of the succession planning process, focusing in particular on corporate and family governance issues. Bringing our different talents and skills together in this way proved effective and powerful.
Indian family businesses are in a difficult time, when many family businesses with revered but ageing patriarchs are having to face up to pressing decisions about what should happen next. This book discusses techniques and strategies to help Indian family businesses achieve long-term prosperity and continuity-a sort of 'East meets West' in the family business study discipline. It comes at a time when scandals and outbreaks of damaging conflict are affecting a number of India's very substantial, high- profile family businesses. These cases highlight the tremors and tensions underlying the family business sector in India during a period of rapid economic development and, for many families, disorientating social and cultural change.
Many next-generation family members are attending universities and business schools in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States, and are returning home to experience a severe disconnect between what they have learned and family business practices in India. Their dilemma is exacerbated by India's hierarchical family life in which there is a tendency for junior family members, out of respect for seniors and elders, to tell the latter what they want to hear rather than the truth which they fear might seem disrespectful. So another motivation for writing this book is our hope that it will start to bridge some of these practical and communication divides in a logical and accessible way.
OBJECTIVES AND ORGANISATION OF THE BOOK
Wherever they are based, family businesses face challenges coping with the dangerous overlaps between the family and business systems, organising responsible family ownership, working productively with non-family members, developing the next -generation leaders, creating policies to manage the roles, remuneration and rivalries of family members, implementing successful generational transitions, and establishing best practices in family and business governance.
These complex dilemmas affect most family businesses sooner or later-that is, to a greater or lesser extent they are predictable-and the aim of this book is to help family business people prepare themselves and to approach the issues in the right way and then to arrive at the right decisions. Depressingly, in many cases, by the time the problems associated with the issues arise it is too late to take action and the business is well down the road to distress and upheaval, and sometimes even on the brink of failure. The chances of success for a family business are greatly increased by ensuring that the major, life-threatening questions are tackled at an early stage and plans are developed for the future. In the same way that the company's commercial activities and opportunities must be continually examined and evaluated, the firm's relationship with the family needs to be constantly assessed, managed and reviewed.
But this is not a 'how-to' book for family businesses. Indeed, there can be no such thing because each family business is different, and there are really no success and longevity rules that can be applied from firm to firm without serious qualification and adaptation. Instead, what we have proposed in the pages that follow are some broad frameworks, mindsets, processes and best practice principles that are (sensitive to Indian traditions and realities) designed to shape problem-solving perspectives for family business people.
Lastly, an important point about the structure of our book.
The need to discuss family businesses in a coherent fashion has meant that this book in many ways reflects the development and life cycles of family businesses themselves-that is, a progression from straightforward owner-manager beginnings through to third generation and beyond multi-generational family companies; from clear-cut simplicity through to significant complexity.
It will be clear from reading through the Contents that the book reflects this evolutionary process, starting with personal, hands-on management and governance, which then benefits from integrating outside expertise. Next, family membership becomes broader and more inclusive, although family activity in management may become more restricted based on objective competence. Finally, management and ownership succession become more planned.
On occasions, the need to progress through the subject in this way has required that certain topics be introduced and explained in one part of the book, and then re-examined in a different context in some other part.
The Great Indian Family Business
Values and Governance
The Next Generation
The Succession Plan
The Multi-generation Business
Wealth Management, Family Offices and Philanthropy
About the Authors
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