Martin Roll Spoke At Thinkers50 Pre-Events About Family Business Strategy

Prior to the Thinkers50 event in September 2019 in Denmark, Martin Roll spoke at a series of pre-events in Odense and Kolding on 27 August 2019 with keynote speaks about Family Business Strategy. The conference was attended by delegates from family businesses, CEOs, public and private sector leaders. Similar events were also conducted by Martin Roll and Thinkers50 in Slovenia and Sweden in the Spring of 2019.

Thinkers50 Europe is an annual two-day event bringing together leading business thinkers and top leaders in Denmark, serving as a centre for the development of new business insights. The event sought to highlight the success of Asia, uncover how Europe can learn from Asia in terms of their leadership and business models, prepare European businesses for upcoming challenges, and find new ways to engage Asian customers and businesses.

The role of strategy in a family business: A balancing act

In determining family business strategy, family business leaders need to define what they want their legacy to be. Martin Roll shared three learning points from his consultations with family business leaders:

  • The long-term view will always matter as a driver of the family business strategy
  • The roles of family members require dedicated focus
  • Succession is a constant concern

Family business strategy is dependent on three drivers:

  • The family: The values and beliefs of the family play a great part in defining the strategy, as is the specific roles of family members, and its past, present & future
  • The owner: The owner defines the purpose of the business and decides on the longevity of leadership and succession plans
  • The management: Management defines the business strategy, innovation and culture, risks to take and rewards to distribute

With so many overlapping roles, only clear roles, responsibilities and guardrails will help drive sustained success of a family business. This is important because the family business strategy will determine the brand architecture, starting from the creation of the family brand, which will help develop the corporate brand, and subsequently the product brands.

The family business strategy process

Martin Roll shared that to define a strong and differentiated strategic intent, both strategy and execution pillars need to be present. Strategic considerations include defining what business the family is doing and why, who their customers are and how to create great customer experiences. Execution considerations include people, time and resources, aligning internal and external focus. It will be important for family businesses to create clarity at the core, define a shared vision and lead relentless execution of the strategy.

Family businesses often face challenges like balancing the long-term, strategic nature of strategy versus a short-term tactical value; differing views across generations; and misalignment of family members around a common brand strategy. Some opportunities that family businesses have are to leverage on their purpose and heritage to build the brand, and authenticity and family values to differentiate the brand in the marketplace.

Whatever unique challenges and opportunities a family business is facing, the success of next generation family business leaders will be defined by their ability and willingness to drive the powerful transformation agenda: to be daring, bold and different.

Insights links

About the speaker: Martin Roll – Business & Brand Strategist

Read about the new book: Family Business Strategy

Read about family business: Strategy and Succession in Family Business – Charting the Future

Read more about INSEAD Executive Education: Martin Roll Teaching Family Business Strategy at INSEAD Executive Workshop