Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Thing 10 - The Best of Family Business

I held my fifth focus group with family business leaders today, five in five weeks.

As with the other four it confirmed my view that family businesses are at the good end of the moral spectrum of business. As far as one can imagine from the repulsive stories we watch every night on the news about greed, deliberately misinforming customers, milking the business for all they can get out of it, and so on.

Three points stood out of the myriad thoughts and ideas that were shared today.

The first was that the education and training of their children was paramount. They wanted their children to understand the duties and responsibilities involved in owning or running a business. They didn't want their children to take on board something they didn't understand or want to do.

The second was the benefits of being and having a mentor, of sharing one's experiences with other families' next generation, and of learning from their peers.

The third and most powerful was a cry of frustration and anger about how business ethics in the corporate sector have collapsed into a repulsive amorality and sneering indifference. This was followed by a demand that Scotland's family businesses stand up and show that they are not the same as these monstrous entities. That the family businesses of Scotland have retained their ethos, their sense of belonging to society, and their conscience to do what is right and seen to be right.

It made me very proud to be part of the ethical majority of business leaders.