Workshop for Next Generation family business leaders to take place in the North West (press release)

One of a kind next generation workshop

A one-of-a-kind workshop ‘The future’s here…it’s time to talk’, aimed at next generation and new generation family business leaders is set to launch in Lancashire on 6th November.

Development of concept

The concept behind the workshop was developed by a trio of organisations that work with and support family businesses in the region; Be the Business, Thomas Jardine & Co and The Family Business Network. Their aim for the event is to bring together a group of like-minded peers who are working within their family businesses, to share their experiences, address some of the commonplace challenges and take away some positive learnings that can ultimately help to improve business productivity and performance.

Comments from organisers

Workshop designer and facilitator, Jacqui Jackson of consulting firm, Thomas Jardine & Co, said, “We wanted to create an opportunity to support those next generation or new generation leaders of family businesses; those who are taking on the future. The theme centres around talking about the future of the business and about how to approach the necessary and important conversations that aren’t being held.”

Jacqui added, “There are many potential scenarios where working within a family business may put a next generation or new generation in a difficult or awkward situation. These can sometimes threaten their personal development as well as the potential future of the family business. Being able to discuss these scenarios in small peer groups offers numerous benefits, from shared understanding and learning to identifying a common support requirement or need which can be addressed”.

Co-organiser and founder of The Family Business Network, Sue Howorth, commented, “We have seen the needs of our next generation leaders become apparent through the running of our regional events. This has since led us to create ‘The Next Generation Network’ which aims to support next gens in family businesses on various levels. This workshop offers next gens from across the region an opportunity to connect with one another and be a source of support”.

Sheena McDermott, North West Programme Manager for Be the Business added, “We hope that the workshop will encourage the next generation to engage and collaborate from the very start of their leadership journeys, because we know that sharing learning in this way contributes towards increased productivity within businesses”.

The workshop will take place at Dunsters Farm in Bury on Wednesday 6th November. Joint Managing Director, Hannah Barlow, herself a next generation successor will share her thoughts around the transition into a family business.  There will also be the opportunity to have a tour of the Dunsters premises as part of the day.


Next Generation : family business future

Family Business Future: it’s down to you

There is only thing more personal than running a business and that is raising a family.  After your relationship with your partner, parenthood is the most personal relationship you will ever have.  As a parent you are responsible for the future of your children.  As a business owner you are responsible for the future of your business.  All clear so far?

As a family business owner you are responsible for the future of your family business as you navigate through internal and external changes.

The future of your family business relies on communications.  Family businesses have to face the challenges of ‘talking family’, ‘talking business’, ‘talking change’, ‘talking innovation’ and ‘talking leadership’.  These conversations have to get round all the assumptions people in families and people in businesses make. In family businesses these assumptions are either made by the parents or by the next generation.  So we all have to ask ourselves a series of questions to check our assumptions.

Questions from the parents perspective

Consider the role of the parent.  Here are just a few questions you may be facing:  As a parent, are you there to look after your child, to prepare them for the evils of the world to pass on your sagely knowledge?  As the family business owner/manager are you there to ensure the future of the family business? Or as a family business owner, are you there to allow your children to grow their wings and find their own place in the world?

You are probably facing a mixture of all of the above.  What you might be missing is who should be running the family business?  Is it time to pass on the leadership of the family business to the next generation? Or should the business be led by non family members?  Then the big question are you really ready to pass on leadership of the family business to your next generation?  Family business lives in the next generation ,will you genuinely allow them to take it in their direction?

Like all BIG questions we usually tend to avoid them.  We tend to ignore the inevitable fact that eventually we all have to be replaced.

Questions from the next generations perspective

Now consider the next generation. Here are just a few questions you may be facing: As the next generation you are  prepared for the modern world but do you have the skills and confidence to change or evolve the family business? Are you prepared to share your world view with the previous generation? As a potential family business owner/manager are you there to ensure the future of the family business ? Or as the next generation family business owner are you confident enough to allow the older generation to spread their wings and find their new place in the world outside of the family business?

You are probably facing a mixture of all of the above. What you might be missing is who should be running the family business? Is it time to pass on the leadership of the family business to you?  Or should the business be led by non family members?  Then the big question. Are you really ready to take on leadership of the family business from the previous generation? Will you genuinely allow them to support you as the business moves on?

Like all BIG questions we usually tend to avoid them.  We tend to ignore the inevitable fact that eventually our role as the next generation is to lead, transform, sell or close the family business.

Answers to the questions

Jacqui recently presented Thomas Jardine & Co’s family business story at the Fambiz Conference in Carlisle.  Whilst presenting her story she offered the audience a chance to consider what they would do at various points of generational hand over.  Jacqui is well experienced in supporting family businesses.  This includes the design and delivery of Lancaster University’s first transgenerational family business programme last year.  Jacqui is well aware that each transgenerational handover is a unique blend of family and business perspectives and interests.  There are common themes but no “cut and paste” solutions.

The best advice will always come from people who are walking in your shoes.  This is why peer group support is so important.  Jacqui is developing a solution with Be the Business and the Family Business Network.  This will bring generations together to find answers for themselves.  The first event from this partnership will be a ‘Next Generation Workshop‘ taking place on Wed 6 Nov at
Dunsters Farm in Bury.

This is your chance to talk about what you want to know about ‘communication’ in family business. You will explore with your ‘peers’….. those, who like you, are tackling or avoiding the elusive challenge of ‘talking family’, ‘talking business’, ‘talking change’, ‘talking innovation’, talking leadership and what really gets in the way of that highly productive conversation? What are all those assumptions doing there? What light can your peers shed on this challenge?

The future is bright if we let it live in the new generation.

If you are interested please get in touch.


Coworking and place

What is coworking , why is it so important for place?

The rise and potential fall of wework has made coworking something of a real estate buzz word.  Now real estate sees coworking  as the next fix replacing business hubs and maker spaces.  Large organisations like to associate themselves with the fluid creativity of the freelance entrepreneurs who skirt around the established businesses.  Cities and places want to build a reputation of forward thinking.  So they collaborate with large organisations and universities to build new hubs around the coworking tribes.  Coworking done right, is potentially a large part of the future of work in a place.  Because it is based on the happiness of the workers not the profitability of the real estate.

Changing face of work

The speed of change in the future of the type of work we do is staggering. McKinsey (2017)  estimate that 49 percent of the activities that people are paid to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology.    Antony Slumbers predicts the fall of white collar workers will be as dramatic as the fall of agricultural labourers in the industrial revolution. This could make modern office blocks as redundant as water mills, steam engines and giant retail sheds.  The reason for this is that the workers who find a place in the new world order will be more valuable than the real estate left from the old world.

The GCUC 2019 conference highlighted that office space of the future will have to be designed to accommodate the businesses that are thriving rather than to benefit the landlords of a real estate of a different era.

Instants 4 pillars of workplace happiness

The Instant Group highlights the four pillars of workplace happiness as people, collaboration, flexible working and wellbeing.  All offices catering for businesses should be looking to meet these pillars.

The future face of coworking and place

The four pillars will be part of any design brief for coworking space.  The trick will be to balance these with the changing needs of the businesses within that space.  Dan Jackson at the Guild is doing just that.  Working with the wonderful guilders who inhabit this space he is co-designing a space for the future.  The Guild is all about people who are willing to collaborate with each other as and when the opportunity arises. Flexible working is part of the guilders life and we all have each others wellbeing at heart.

Coworking is not a new hippy trend for free lancers it is a state of being for the future of work.  If you want to know more give the Guild a shout.

 


Number 10, productivity & living with jeopardy

Number 10

In these changing times we are living with jeopardy. This week at number 10 Jacqui met Boris Johnson. He said that he believes for the country to thrive business must flourish. Thomas Jardine & Co are doing our bit by working closely with Be the Business and others to help UK Businesses to increase their productivity.

Why productivity is important

The UK is facing an unprecedented productivity crisis. If we don’t correct this, we will inevitably lose business to more productive countries. Fixing this means we cannot continue doing what we have always done, we must learn to adapt and change.

Black Farmer and jeopardy

Whilst Jacqui was meeting Boris in London, we heard a master class from Wilfred Emanuel-Jones (Black Farmer Ltd) in Penrith. Wilfred took us through his story of dealing with jeopardy which he defined as the risk of loss, harm or failure.  He emphasized that businesses who can thrive with jeopardy will lead the way in the future. The world is changing rapidly, constant change will be the norm. We will all have to learn to unlearn what we know and adapt to new realities.

We have seen the future is bright and met some jeopardy masters

Jacqui’s visit to number 10 was sandwiched within a two-day course Thomas Jardine & Co delivered on design thinking for a marvellous group of SMEs and entrepreneurs. This course was part of Lancaster University’s Cumbria Growth Hub. Over these two days we really saw the ability of business owners to grasp new concepts and square impossible circles. Good business owners by default are living with jeopardy. If government allows them to flourish, they will help solve the productivity challenge.

Jeopardy is all around us, embrace it! Let’s enable the people who live with it daily to help create a business environment that increases our productivity to a level that is the envy of the world.


Family business dimension in place

Family and place

Family owned firms are critical to your place.  Imaging loosing just under half your retailers, restaurants and hotels from your place. Statistics highlight the impact of family businesses on these sectors. According to the IFB 85% of all private businesses in the UK are family owned. 46% of all those employed in retail and wholesale work for family firms. Family owned hotel and restaurant businesses also account for 46% of the total employment in that sector.

How the ‘family business’ is lost in place consultations

It’s simple. Family businesses are involved in consultations but they are identified as retailers, hoteliers, restaurateurs or wholesalers.  Numerous academic papers acknowledge that family businesses do have an impact on regional planning.  They argue that the regional impact of family business may be down to a combination of the embeddedness of the family firm in their community and the role personal relationships play in local networks .

The academic argument on family business impact

Academic papers show that network roles and choices made by individuals within family businesses are different to those in non-family business.  This is because family firms have a social and emotional attachment to their place, which is referred to as ‘socioemotional wealth’.  Those with high socioemotional wealth tend have more positive impacts on their local community than non-family firms.  In some cases family firms may value socioemotional wealth over financial performance.  It should be noted that there is some evidence that this commitment to place, above financial reward, is not exclusive to family business. But family connection to place plays a key part in this decision .

The emphasis of public sector support for regional development on quantifiable measures such as GVA  can identify the impact family firms have on place.  However at times this may be overlooking the long term value of socioemotional wealth to that place.

Practical steps to ensure the longevity of family firms

Several organisations such as the Family Business Network and Family Business United celebrate the best of family businesses regionally and nationally.  There are also others who work on supporting the successful transfer of a family business from one generation to another. Be the Business offer various levels of support or family businesses and are working on  next generational family business workshops.  Thomas Jardine & Co work with the Family Business Network and Be the Business and would be happy to put you in touch with either of these great organisations.

Bring place and family closer together

When making plans for the business sector in your place, please do not just focus on the standard industrial sectors.  Consider the generational firms based in your place.  Support them and encourage the birth of new family businesses in your place.  Successful businesses that are based in a place will look after that place for generations to come.

 


Working on your businesses future

What’s important in your future

It’s a simple question.  But a really hard one to answer.  Go on try it….what do you really want to be doing next year, the year after and in ten years time?  If you answered this with bullet points from your business plan please take a moment.  Have you thought about your life outside of the business? Now answer the same question, what do you really want to be doing next year and how is your business going to help you get there?

I am my business

There are so many people prepared to help you plan your future based on some great business models.  This is great if your business future matches your life plan.  We know running a business is different to the employed world.  The business becomes part of you and despite what everyone says it does become personal.  However like all things in life if you take control you will get more from it. Look at taking control of your business future as taking control of your health by regular exercise or your weight by starting a better diet.

So what is the secret of a good diet plan or a good exercise plan?  It’s to set goals and stick to the plan. Planning your business future is exactly the same. Like improving your diet or fitness, planning for your business can’t be separated from the rest of your life.  You know going on a diet at the same time as starting a bakery course isn’t a good idea.  Have you ever planned a business project at exactly the same time as a family holiday?  Would reviewing your business budget over Christmas really be a good idea? Both previous examples should be extreme examples, but probably not for a lot of us…  Good planning allows you to enjoy both your business and the rest of your life.  If you are stuck in the wheel of ‘business first’ every time maybe it’s time for a change.

A business with a lifestyle not a lifestyle business

What a lovely phrase ‘lifestyle business’ .  The world is full of lifestyle businesses.  Many of them make a good living for their owners who are actually getting paid for essentially living their dream.  Essentially most people don’t go into business to make a fortune. They create a business to get away from the problems they have met in the employed world.  When business are ran well the owners can make a good living and have a good lifestyle.

On the flip side business must be taken seriously.  There are far too many examples of start ups looking for a lifestyle that because of poor planning haven’t worked well for their owners. Business is relentless and even the best can get tired and that’s when its time to revisit the business gym or business diet club.

Finding your business gym or business diet club

Why does the Great British Public when it wants to get fitter or loose weight go to the gym or join a diet club?  The two reasons for this are that’s where the experts are and that’s where people who want to get fitter or loose weight go to.  It’s the same with business.  If the business has lost its way or it wants to get better, it goes  to experts form accountants, business advisors and business groups such as Be the Business. If the business wants motivation it should work with likeminded businesses (your peers).

Help can also be found from universities such as Lancaster University have always offered access to a range of experts from masterclasses to 6 month courses.  They also play host to resident entrepreneurs (Jacqui is a resident entrepreneur here).  Other universities host business experts to match the academic work they are doing ( Jacqui is part of WE-LEAD at the University of Birmingham).

As Thomas Jardine & Co we regularly work with universities, growth hubs and other business groups to design and deliver business courses designed to help businesses with specific development needs.  The most effective of these always involve peer work because your peers rarely let you down.

Working with business experts and your peers

Experts are useful, like personal trainers they can get you over a particular problem and motivate you in their session.  If the business wants to keep on track it finds fellow businesses who are doing well to talk to.  Our last year in the Guild in Carlisle has shown the absolute value of sharing space with fellow businesses of all sizes who just want to improve their businesses.  Business peer support here is as good as you get with regular gym goers.

So the choice is yours.  If you need to fix a specific issue then talk to the right expert.  Then, if you want to get in the habit of planning your business and building your future lifestyle then look to work with  a group of your peers. Finally, if you want to make a start on the next part of your business journey give us a shout.

 

 


Peer Learning and The Family Business

So, who is your peer?

A peer: “A person of the same age, the same social position, or having the same abilities as other people in a group”

Does this mean the family business is the ultimate peer group

The very nature of family business makes family businesses self contained peer groups. Family members working in a family business are  business owners tend to have the same social position.  All family members have  the opportunity to contribute to the success of the business.  A ‘husband and wife’ team will probably  be of similar ages. With a generational family business there is a possibility that there will be a number of them of similar ages.

Running your business with your spouse you will be both learning to manage business and personal life. You will be doing this with the one person who knows you better than anyone else. Growing up in a generational family business you will have felt the impact of the peer group. As a family business child you would hear kitchen table conversations between mum , dad and grandad. These family conversations create business actions (or inaction) driven by frank discussions in arenas of trust.

Nothing is more powerful than  your peers challenging you

Family businesses are used to everyone from suppliers to customers challenging their plans.  We all treat these challenges with the respect they deserve.  We know that the  challenges that really test us are made by folk who walk in our shoes.  Family business owners are used to been challenged by other members of their family.  This is what makes them different to non family businesses.  Our most memorable impact from facilitating the Lancaster University Family Business Program was the impact of family business owners working in peer groups to challenge each other.

To remain ahead of the game in business, your learning has to be greater than the rate of change.  Otherwise you will be left behind.

INSEAD an institution that works closely with some of the largest and most successful family firms from across the world. INSEAD puts the success of these businesses down to bedrocks of:  “Clear and well defined family values, trust, networks and innovation” . In todays rapidly changing business environment family busineses can build on their values, trust and networks to be at the forefront of innovation in systems and products. So, our learning must keep up with the rate of change, otherwise we will be left behind.

Action Learning is a powerful tool to enhance your decision making skills on your business journey, fundamentally there is no learning without action!

We have found that combining peer to peer learning with action learning creates a powerful tool.  This combination of learning  leads directly to actions  encouraged by a group of trusted peers.  It takes place in a confidential setting of your peers of  family business leaders from a variety of sectors.  Your peers asks you to examine the challenges within your business in an open and honest way, using open question techniques.  By doing this, the peer group  improves your confidence helping you achieve personal and business goals and achieve your overall ambitions.

Come and join us with Be the Business

Thomas Jardine & Co are working with Be the Business, the Family Business Network and Cumbria Growth Hub to deliver a family business programme based on peer to peer action learning and would love you to be part of it.  Take your first action and  come and join us.


Think Plan Do

Those who think and those who do

Our world is made up of three types of people.  Those who think and spend time planning before they do. Then there are those who do and spend time fixing what they’ve done after its done. Then in the middle are those who do a bit of  thinking and a bit of doing.

In business thinkers frustrate those who do and  those that do tend to worry thinkers.  People run good businesses when they know when to think and when to do .  Achieving this is down to habit and behaviour.

At Thomas Jardine we help businesses grow by supporting small changes in their behaviour that allows a constructive focus on thinking and doing.

On it not in it

At the Guild we run the ‘on it not in it’ club where we all spend time rebalancing the time we spend on our businesses (thinking) and the time we spend in our businesses (doing).  This is a real peer group of people who can genuinely support each other as we balance the need to think and do.

Be the Business and develop good habits with your peers

We must stress that the best people to encourage habits that balance your thinking and doing are those in the same boat as you. This is where peer groups and advisory boards come into their own. We are working with Be the Business to deliver both peer learning and advisory boards for the North West Family Business Programme. If you want to know more contact ourselves or any of our partners (The Family Business Network, North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce). Of course some times you need more than peer support to develop an idea and this is when you need more focused time thinking about and planning for your businesses future.

Innovation Design Programme

There are numerous programmes available that allow businesses the time and space to plan and innovate.  We are currently working with Lancaster University to develop a programme to encourage innovation in Cumbria’s  Supply Chain.  This is an exciting concept working across a supply chain and is based in part with work we did with Cumbria LEP on the food and drink sector.  For more details please contact Lancaster University Management School . 

Take time to talk to potential customers and fellow businesses

Programmes aren’t the only way you can share experiences with your customers and peers.  Last year we spent three great days in the company of  This is Cumbria.  At surface level this was a Cumbrian Food and Drink Pavilion at the Farm Shop & Deli Show.   Like all trade shows it allowed our businesses to connect with old and new customers alike.  The extra benefit was the time that these businesses could share their experiences with peers from the local area.  You get new ideas that drive your business thinking forward by talking with other businesses.  If you want to join us in 2020 please give us a shout.

Sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture

Most businesses don’t get a lot of time to really step back and think about the bigger picture. Some would argue that this ‘thinking time’ is just too far removed from actually working in the business.  However taking a deep breath and occasionally scanning the horizon can really help you check that the short term direction of your business matches with your long term goals.  With this in mind we are working with Cumbria Forum on a  two day event in September.  This will use design thinking to deep dive into future relationships with customers and suppliers.  If you’re interested please contact the forum.

Always leave with an action plan

Thinking and planning are essential for sustainable business growth.  But they are useless without actions. So hopefully this article has made you think and you are now tempted to make a new plan.  Please, please  give yourself up to three actions that you will take to make sure you convert thinking into doing.  Ideally share these with one of your peers ( they can then hold you to account) or if you want share them with us and we will remind you of your plans in 6 months time.  Let’s all think and do and make our businesses the best they can be.


Future of food and drink? Just look outside and inside

To the outside world the food and drink supply chain is so straight forward. You grow something, you pick it, you prepare it, you take it to market and you sell it.
Working with the food and drink supply chain we find the trick is to use three eyes. One eye on future trends, one inside the business and one outside the business .

Eye on the future

Dean Van Leeuwen the Moonshot Futurist (at a business breakfast organised by Armstrong Watson) showed that specific future trends can be difficult to capture. He reminded us of the speed of change our society is currently facing. This change inevitably leads to redundancy of current operating systems and we have to learn to unlearn old ways.  For us in the food chain this means real rapid change. We saw a real example of food retail change  at the official opening of Pioneers new food store in Carlisle. The opening was truly a celebration of their journey so far (140 years and counting).  The new store  has  created a hybrid where wholesale food services meets retail with style.

Eye on the inside

In beautiful rural settings like the Lake District and the Eden Valley business space for food producers is a valuable commodity. A recent visit to a well-established small family business demonstrated this.  The lack of available space  made them focus on constantly improving their systems and relearning the equipment they required. Similarly, a larger well-established food manufacturer kept their productivity increasing by constantly identifying new machinery for their processing.  This now means they are ahead of the curve and looking for partners to work with to develop laser cutting equipment for the food sector.

Eye on the outside

We had an interesting conversation with a young business that is looking outside.  The business had done its research well and knew who they had to talk to and what they needed to prepare. Their problem was getting key people to talk to them.  The business wanted to talk to a local council officer and couldn’t pin them down to a time. The local council are a good bunch with business at heart BUT  are pushed for time and this appears to be impacting on the support they can offer, we’re sure they will find the time soon.

Adding the third eye

The observant of you would have realised we reckoned you needed three eyes to succeed in food and drink. Our food and drink manufacturers are not aliens, they have simply learned the art of thriving in the modern business eco-system, they share knowledge with each other and work with agencies to ensure full visibility of the future, the present and the outside world. This is Cumbria demonstrated how these businesses can get things done and we (Thomas Jardine & Co) just love working with them.