Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business Book Reflection

Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business Book Reflection

Learning from the Reading

The book generally discusses situations that arise when family members own business and how it matures from one single and straightforward entity to a comprehensive business unit. In general, a family business is seen as an organizational form. As the title of the book, from generation to generation, I am expectant of understanding how business examples presented have survived the test of time from one generation to the other. It is expected that throughout the book, issues and challenges that family businesses face will be discussed in an in-depth manner (Kelin et al.,43).  The first paragraph sets the pace, and the stage and gives me expectations especially on what issues I would encounter throughout the whole book. I will also learn management techniques that work with most family entities and business units that have close ties with the family members. Throughout the first few paragraphs, I was able to identify models that family businesses use to thrive. The most crucial process for businesses to thrive is decision making, how these decisions are made in these family businesses is an important aspect to capture.


The book discusses many aspects of the family business. One main topic is the issue of shareholders in the family business, although this is popular in Cousins Consortiums and how there arise many differences from the uniqueness of the active board of directors. The second important thing that is addressed is the challenges that these consortiums face when finding the right management (Kelin et al.,52). How family businesses survive leadership challenges by having non-family executive leaders is a great inspiration in this case “the discussion probably would have degenerated into the bickering that characterized most interaction in the prior generation, were it not for the inspired leadership of the non-family COO” (Kelin et al.,52). How the ownership of most entities is done by cousins and how each sibling branch has influence up to a certain extent. The cousin consortium stage of ownership and how it is composed of many shareholders is a parameter that has been discussed in an in-depth manner. To show the manner by which most family-owned entities are developed Holiday Hotels, Inc has been used to show how the third and the fourth generations own the hotels.


Application to Real Life

In real life situations, individuals and generations are trying to own or control a business entity in many divergent and different ways. Most of them tend to prefer siblings partnerships or cousin consortiums. However, because of the challenges that are present in management, most of these businesses do not thrive beyond the second generation. For those that survive, it has been because external stakeholders have had an interest in the business and non-family members handle most management functions. To transfer this knowledge into running enterprises in real life will require one to study the different models that have been used successfully by the many groups of families and at the same time be in apposition to understand how they overcame hurdles and barriers that came into their way. Diagnosing business problems that are related to family issues requires enough insight and understanding the causative agents to those problems. Building a reliable and dependable relationship that can be used to steer businesses ahead will require a comprehensive approach that overlooks the closeness and focuses on what each will bring into the business or partnership.the book is indispensable in running family businesses but it has to be tailor-made to fit the exact situations as they arise.