Owner Managed Business Group – family business leadership series


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In this series Stuart Mathews, Partner in Trowers Corporate department and Owner Managed Businesses group is joined by Caroline Gourlay, a renowned business psychologist, author and leadership coach. 

Caroline works with family and owner managed businesses of all sizes and in this series they explore a range of issues on the dynamics of family businesses including leadership, decision-making, avoiding disagreements and managing change. 

The series is available in 4 episodes with the first two episodes available on Trowers and Hamlins Business YouTube Channel and can be viewed below. 

Episode 1 – How well is the business being led and managed – Part 1

  • Primary Colours Leadership Model
  • Absent Leadership
  • Bottom-up Leadership
  • Directors duties under the Companies Act 2006 – promoting the success of the company and acting with reasonable care, skill and diligence

Episode 2 – How well is the business being led and managed – Part 2

  • All aboard teams
  • "Don't worry, you'll pick it up" directorships. 
  • "One rule for us" – role modelling. 
  • Tensions between family dynamics and commercial business requirements. 
  • Directors duties: Independent judgment and conflicts of interest. 
  • Bringing in outside NEDs or executive directors: Benefits and challenges. 
  • Advice for family businesses on bringing in NEDs or executive directors – fit for the business

Episode 3 – How decisions are made and disagreements avoided / resolved

  • Family Business Circles Model. 
  • Benefits shareholders' agreements and partnership agreements. 
  • Pitfall: Fear of conflict – vaguely agreeing.  
  • Pitfall: Decision making - the danger of compromise and consensus. 
  • Pitfall: Groupthink – authority and speaking up
  • The benefits of Family Charters to clarify family business relationships – deciding on how to decide.  

Episode 4 – What happens when things change? 

  • Planned change – succession planning and strategic change. 
  • Benefits shareholders' agreements for decision making for planned change, exit or sale. 
  • Unplanned change – working with private wealth colleagues. 
  • External change – the pandemic and crisis.  
  • Digital pivot strategies – playing to strengths. 
  • Challenges of stepping up during a crisis. 
  • Primary Colours Leadership Model – resilience and change.
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