Starting the Conversation
The final instalment of our ‘Family Business Values Roadshow’ for the year 2019 visited Limerick on Thursday 28th November 2019. The roadshow took place in the infamous five-star Savoy Hotel on Henry Street, named after the former cinema theatre, and was hosted by the National Centre for Family Business and supporting partners PwC, Beauchamps and AIB.
Family businesses from the South-West and Mid-West of Ireland travelled to participate in the interactive morning workshops and to hear about the journeys of three regional family business speakers. Attendees learned about the family business stories of Jerry Flannery, former Irish rugby star and Director of Jerry Flannery’s pub, JOE.ie and Maximum Media, Ursula Kelly Director of Cormac Tagging, and Ronan Branigan Managing Director and co-owner of the Savoy Hotel Collection Limerick.
(Left to right: Ken Johnson, Kieran Considine, Jerry Flannery, Ursula Kelly, Ronan Branigan and Paul Keogh)
Family business dynamics are unique
The purpose of the Roadshow was to open up a conversation about business dynamics which are family business-specific, such as passing the business onto the next generation or succession, retirement, and planning for uncertainty such as illness or death. While these discussions take place across the business world, the family business is an unusual case and context for these difficult conversations due to its internal dynamics and the often enmeshed family and business relations.
The structure of the morning included a networking breakfast reception, welcome from the National Centre for Family Business, three journeys of regional family businesses, an interaction family dynamics workshop through the use of role play and a closing experts panel for Q&A.
There were three consistent messages attendees took away from the morning:
- Start the discussion and have the conversations about those difficult topics with the future generation. Discuss the elephant in the room whether its succession, retirement planning, financial protection or preparing for uncertainty.
- Emotions can run high in family businesses. It is essential that each team member, family and non-family alike, feel safe to share their ideas and be honest about their experience and roles in the business.
- Planning is crucial for sustaining the family business practice for future generations. This includes succession planning, putting a family constitution in place and defining governance and structure.
We will continue this conversation with family businesses from the Shannon area and across Ireland in the hopes to sustain family businesses, the bedrock of the Irish economy. Keep in touch with our upcoming research, education and engagement activities, we have lots planned for 2020!