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Contemplative Leadership


Look Within Yourself

Thanksgiving this year was wonderful - a 5-day, road-trip holiday that my wife and I spent with our son, his wife, and my daughter and her fiancé at their home in Richmond, VA. In addition, we celebrated my wife’s birthday the day after.

My son wonderfully accented our time together with a thanksgiving sentiment, with the comment: “I could never have expected more … be more grateful for how my life has turned-out.” It was an expression of gratitude that reached to the depths of my heart.


This brings me to a narrative of family businesses. I grew up in a family business, taught academic courses on family business management, and have been for twenty-plus years an advisor to and advocate for family businesses.

Family businesses have a unique and complex place in our society. There is a dynamic interplay between family relationships and business operations. There are strong emotional bonds, shared values, a stewardship mentality, and a competitive brand recognition.

They also have significant challenges including infringed boundaries between business and family needs, unclear decision-making processes, the absence of a professional management procedures, and succession transition tensions.

Regrettably, most family businesses fail within 3 generations – due largely to family issues rather than the business issues. There are, though, recognized best management practices of multi-generational family enterprisers, which can offer significant benefit to other family businesses.

Look within yourself and you will find everything you need

- Tao Te Ching

Spirituality is not generally considered to have a place in businesses, rather it being an aspect of one’s personal and family life. In family business, however, where there is an intersection of values, it does find a presence.

Through contemplative practices that look inward on oneself – there is to be found a sense of purpose, shared family values, and a presence of the family and business within the community in which it operates.

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Dec 05, 2023

Sounds like a great Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! Flo & Lou

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