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Peer to peer Mentoring for Family Business Success

By the Academy Team

“Family Businesses have special requirements,” says family business expert Peter Leach about a special event on Wednesday 18th April, 2012 which is being co hosted by Peter Leach LLP and the Academy for Chief Executives.

“Psychologically family businesses are complex systems. Decisions are jointly made and it is more difficult to blame individuals if they fail to perform. Family businesses are fundamentally different to any other form of enterprise. They need leadership and clarity if they are to succeed – and the best of them do succeed. They have to have really good communications, strong delineation of responsibility and everyone needs to understand everyone’s role.”

Andrew B Morris, CEO of the Academy for Chief Executives agrees. “The Academy has a great many family businesses in our membership, many of them 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation. They face complex issues such as succession, non family members in senior roles, remuneration, dividends, attitude to risk and their relationship to professional management. Peter Leach has led the way for many years, so when he approached the Academy with this idea we were keen to be involved.”

The event will address issues specific to family business

  • Family businesses are sometimes accused of being risk averse. Expert Speaker Caspar Berry will challenge your perceptions of risk and invite you to “embrace uncertainty”.
  • Peter Leach will present a relevant case study highlighting successful approaches to family business, and
  • You will get the opportunity to ‘share and gain’ using the unique Academy approach to facilitated peer to peer mentoring – The Board You Could Never Afford ®.

Peter Leach has been involved with Academy meetings and believes that the ‘share and gain’ element can be very important to family businesses. “Family issues are often private and can’t be shared with friends and family and senior people in those businesses can feel very alone as a result. In this meeting we can share expertise for mutual benefit in a confidential environment. We can give access to a window on the world ahead. This is at the heart of what the Academy is about.”

“This is very much a pilot,” Andrew explains. “If it works, and we hope it will, we will roll it out nationally. We see these sessions as complementary to existing Academy Groups and would be run as an addition to them on a regular basis.

Peter Leach adds, “Families have a shared history and shared values. If this ‘familyness’ can be captured, codified and celebrated it will be a strength and a source of significant competitive advantage. Only 13% of family businesses make it to the third generation and most of those that fail do so because of family rather than business issues. The realisation that someone has already successfully trodden the path that they are about to tread, can be a great comfort and motivator for an executive who needs to move the family business forward in this difficult terrain. It can provide the courage they need to make key decisions.”

Andrew is planning for a mixture of Academy members and guests; newer and more established firms and a range of business sizes – from those turning over a few million to substantial turnover businesses – to be present on the day and taking part in the engaging and interactive Academy process. “A small group of family businesses will hear from two expert speakers, network with each other and experience the “Board You Could Never Afford®” process. This format is well established, and many businesses have benefitted from it. We want family businesses to share and gain and to become part of the Academy.”

“When family businesses work they can be mightily effective”, Andrew Morris tells me. Get valuable information that you can apply to your family business to make sure yours is ‘mightily effective’.

The unique event takes place on 18th April in Central London. Numbers will be limited to 12. For more details and to apply to attend, please contact Elizabeth Stuart-Bennett, tel 07703 581249, email


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