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Legacy and Leadership: Family Business Continuity Event of the Year Ends in a Resounding Success

By Alyanna Silvestre
Published September 11, 2023

In the volatile world of business ownership, time is a finite resource, and circumstances can take unexpected turns. Whether it's grappling with illness, navigating conflicts, weathering financial storms, or facing the reasons why family businesses collapse, preparation is the key to preserving both business and family harmony.

So, the question is simple: Will you listen to this call and take action, or will you let problems and complacency ruin your family's dreams? The power to decide lies squarely in your hands, but the solution is crystal clear — Succession Planning, a comprehensive mechanism designed to ensure the seamless transition of family businesses to set the stage for a thriving and harmonious future. 

To equip family enterprises with the tools for enduring business longevity and inspire them to secure their legacy, leading Asia Pacific-based Strategic Advisory firm, W+B Advisory Group, in partnership with executive events organizer ICON Executive Asia, presented an event on August 19 at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria titled "Family Business Continuity: Ensuring a Fail-Proof Succession Plan." This groundbreaking conference, also serving as ICON Executive Asia's flagship event, has been nothing short of a powerful platform that empowered business owners and leaders with the knowledge and strategies needed to navigate the unique challenges faced by family enterprises.

"Family Business Continuity" explored innovative strategies and time-tested practices poised to redefine the future of family enterprises. The event featured esteemed speakers, including next-generation leaders Mr. Lance Gokongwei and Mr. Kevin Tan and renowned experts Prof. Enrique Soriano and Dr. Josh Baron.

The Art in Conflict

Managing a family business often entails a higher likelihood of encountering conflicts and disputes compared to non-family enterprises. Luckily, Dr. Josh Baron's insights provided a comprehensive perspective on managing conflict within family businesses, with a central theme on balance.

Dr. Baron explains that conflicts in family businesses can take on various forms and are often triggered by changes in the context that disrupt established strategies and dynamics within the company. These conflicts can be challenging to manage and live with, which may lead some to believe that they should be eradicated entirely. However, Dr. Baron argues that in a business context, conflict is a necessary disruption and reveals that the key lies in finding the right balance.

According to Dr. Baron, it should neither be excessive nor scarce, as excessive conflict can be as damaging as too little. Therefore, family businesses must discern when to cool things down and when to kindle the flames of constructive debates to maintain their optimal performance. That said, Dr. Baron urges family businesses to proactively establish policies for certain issues before they escalate into personal disputes and to embrace and harness constructive conflict as a catalyst for improvement.

Still anchored to finding the balance, Dr. Baron also cautioned against the overuse of conflict management strategies because, same with conflict itself, excessive utilization could lead to negative implications while too little intervention may prove ineffective in extinguishing the fire when it arises.

A Crash Course to the Tan Leadership

If Dr. Baron put an emphasis on the importance of the right level of conflict, Mr. Kevin Tan of Alliance Global Group explained the significance of finding the balance between accountability and independence in managing the next generation of leaders.

Tough love in the Tan family was a constant as visionary tycoon Andrew L. Tan (ALT), Kevin's father, believed that genuine leadership is born from the trials and tribulations of self-made success and not solely an inheritance based on blood ties or privilege—it demanded the ability to navigate the broader world of business with hard-earned achievements and skills outside the sheltered realm of the family business. Consequently, Kevin embarked on a path unburdened by expectations, lineage, and preconceptions as he started his journey elsewhere with a very strict reminder from his father not to divulge his familial ties. His leadership was thus built upon these principles, emphasizing the essence and value of living a life of integrity.

The stringent standards set by ALT and how Kevin was brought up were not without their challenges, but they instilled in Kevin a strong work ethic and a relentless pursuit of excellence. He learned that success in the real world requires grit, determination, and the ability to overcome adversity of all kinds and levels. Through this journey, Kevin became not just the heir to a family legacy but a leader who had earned not only his place but also his father's and the people's trust through hard work and dedication.

Stay tuned for Part 2!


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