Using life stages to professionalise the family business
Many businesses with humble beginnings have been able to weather change and grow into empires. Could professionalisation hold the key to continued success?

By Sonja Kissling & Brian Russel
Published on Simple October 25, 2020

Family businesses are built with an entrepreneurial vision that, at its core, has continuity, renewal, longevity and legacy in mind. To realize these objectives requires not only the achievement of sustainable business performance and profitability, but also harmonious family relationships, next-generation engagement and successful transitions as succession comes into play

Petru Sandu’s “Framework of family business professionalization,” demonstrates that achieving this requires varying degrees of professionalization. This is necessary throughout the business’s overlapping ownership and family life cycles.

The complexity of family businesses

All businesses face challenges. What is unique about family-owned operations is the inherent complexity of family dynamics they encounter. These complexities intensify as the ownership life cycle unfolds. This life cycle, originally described by Kelin E. Gersick, Ivan Lansberg, Michele Desjardins, and Barbara Dunn in Stages and Transitions: Managing Change in the Family Business, forms part of Sandu’s professionalization framework.

About the Authors

Sonja Kissling

Sonja Kissling

Governance & Mediation

Sonja Kissling advises families in governance and decision-making processes. She specialises in helping families with complex family and business relationships  – where the family must be organised and relationships between family members and the business cultivated.

Connect with Sonja Kissling View Sonja Kissling Profile
Brian Russel

Brian Russel

Family Dynamics, Succession & Legal

Brian Russell, PhD, JD, MBA, is a world-renowned relationship expert who also has an extensive background in law and business

Connect with Brian Russel View Brian Russel Profile

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