Category Archives: Paradox

Classic Dilemmas

by John L. Ward Classically, families transitioning from sibling parents to successor cousins face the challenge of transferring wealth and power by common rules shared by all the branches or by each parent deciding what’s best for their children. The … Continue reading

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Work-Life Balance: Who Would Choose Work?

by John L. Ward Commentary on work-life balance has been fueled by the recent pronouncements of Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook) and Marissa Mayer (CEO Yahoo).  A recent article by Laura Vanderkam in USA Today urged using the term “work-life fit” … Continue reading

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Another Family Business Paradox

Where is your family’s focus?  In the early stages of a family business, the family must focus its efforts on the success of the business.  Second generation members often share that the business was the child in their family, absorbing … Continue reading

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“Family Organization” – An Oxymoron?

by John L. Ward  Family organizations, such as family offices, face many paradoxical contradictions. Several follow; then a fundamental paradox will be examined.   Centralized leadership or direct democracy    – Who makes decisions?    – How is leadership selected? Individual … Continue reading

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Just Like Her Dad, part 3

Amy Schuman All week we’ve been pondering the case of ‘Jennifer,’ daughter of the founder, who has been told by those around her that her success seems assured, because she is seen to be Just Like Dad. Jennifer is a … Continue reading

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Just Like Her Dad, part 2

Earlier this week we presented the case of ‘Jennifer’, who joined the family business two years ago. The COO reported that the executive team was excited about Jennifer because she was “Just Like Her Dad”. We posed the question to … Continue reading

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Just Like Her Dad, part 1

Recently, the COO of a large family business told me that he was really excited about the daughter of the current CEO who had just celebrated her second anniversary with the company. The daughter, who we’ll call Jennifer, had followed … Continue reading

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The Paradox of Fixed and Flexible: How to be More Like a Palm Tree

In my last posting I talked about the advantages of being both fixed and flexible and promised a few specific examples.  Let’s start by taking nature as our role model in this regard – trees that are both strong, deeply … Continue reading

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Paradoxes found in the Jewish New Year parallel many Family Businesses Paradoxes

Starting at sundown last Wednesday night, Jews across the globe ushered in a New Year, specifically the year 5772. It struck me again this year, how many tensions and contradictions are found in the traditions surrounding the holiday. These paradoxes … Continue reading

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What They Think in Brazil (Part 2)

by Stephanie Brun de Pontet & John L. Ward We continue to share the results of a survey of 100 significant family firms in Brazil which were part of a program hosted by HSM, a program we were very privileged … Continue reading

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