Family enterprises form the majority of businesses large and small in every country in the world. At the same time, few are able to sustain themselves with the same level of wealth and success even into their second generation and sustaining shared family wealth after the third generation is nearly improbable.
Overcoming these challenges is the subject of my new book, Borrowed From Your Grandchildren: The Evolution of 100-Year Family Enterprises (Wiley, 2020). As each generation of a family enterprise becomes larger and more complex, the book describes how the family must evolve through internal and external challenges to remain cohesive.
Borrowed From Your Grandchildren presents the findings of a multiyear project in which researchers interviewed more than 100 families around the globe to understand the evolution of family enterprises that have succeeded for 100 years or more. I share stories of long-lasting families that point to elements of families’ experiences and learnings that allowed them to survive for the long term.
In a time when there is much concern about the concentration of wealth in the hands of “the 1 percent,” this study adds to the dialogue. It shows how, in many successful family enterprises, business values and culture aren’t focused solely on generation of wealth, but on using resources responsibly.
I have prepared a short guide to the key elements of the book, that includes action items for a family wanting to look ahead toward a century of success: 8 Insights from Long-Lasting Global Enterprising Families.