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Brain circuits

An exercise to think about your business differently

Published 25 February 2022 in Brain circuits • 1 min read

Have you ever heard a manager refer to their team as “one big happy family”? It’s a cliché, for sure, and also doesn’t acknowledge the fact that many families (and many businesses for that matter) display some level of dysfunction. But take that family analogy for a minute and consider your company for the purpose of this exercise:

Imagine that your main stakeholders were your family and the people you cared about most and ask yourself these questions:

  • If this company belonged to my family, would I be making the same decisions?
  • If I were planning to keep this company growing to hand off to my loved ones, would I be allocating resources differently?
  • Would I have a different management structure if this business were family-owned?

Now consider why you may do things differently, and whether you should make changes in your business based on that.

This exercise is worth your time, based on our findings relating to business longevity. Our research has found that family firms on average have a higher growth rate than non-family firms. Family influence is a strong determinant on business growth so maybe it is worth examining if you in fact should be thinking of your company as family.

Further reading: 

 Family Business Growth Around the World by Ivan Miroshnychenko, Alfredo De Massis, Danny Miller, and Roberto Barontini



Ivan Miroshnychenko

Research Fellow and Term Research Professor at IMD Business School

Ivan Miroshnychenko is Research Fellow and Term Research Professor at IMD Business School, and Affiliate Research Fellow at Sant’Αnna School of Advanced Studies (Italy). He carries out research on economics and management of family business and sustainability that has been published in top academic journals.


Alfredo De Massis

Alfredo De Massis

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Business

Alfredo De Massis is ranked as the most influential and productive author in the family business research field in the last decade in a recent bibliometric study. De Massis is an IMD Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Business at IMD where he holds the Wild Group Chair on Family Business and works with other universities worldwide.


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