The Family-Oriented Business

Family oriented businesses  care about the whole person and invest in their staff like a parent would their child in order to see the team grow and thrive.

In our last blog we discussed defining the ideal culture for your business by asking yourself key questions like:

–       What behaviors drive strategic performance?

–       What do you want your core values to be?

–       What do you want it to feel like to work for your company?

–       What type of people do you want to attract?

Meyers Briggs and Assessment ToolsNaturally, there are infinite scenarios, but a few familiar archetypes can get you started considering your own company’s “feel.”  This week we will discuss the family-oriented business model

They care about the whole person and invest in their staff like a parent would their child in order to see the team grow and thrive.

The Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company was one such organization.  An older employee had a heart attack and told management he would be retiring.  They hired his replacement.  During rehab, he changed his mind and shared that coming back to work was all he was living for.  The company held the job open for eight months and used the new hire in other ways until another territory opened up for her.  Did it cost the company money? You bet.  But did every person on that sales team work harder after seeing how management took care of it’s people? Absolutely.

On the dark side, there are weaknesses for every culture.  In this case, Upjohn did not make it.  It was purchase by Pfizer in 2003.  Family business cultures not only take care of each other like families, but sometimes they fight like families too.  Although not the only reason, poor decisions and disagreements between family members at the top ultimately lead to the company’s demise.

However, failure is not always the case with family-oriented businesses.  When done right, these companies can be very successful and last for generations to come.

Consider the list of pros and cons below.  Does your company show characteristics of a family oriented business?  Is this a culture model that would be well suited for your company?

 Pros and Cons of Family Oriented Businesses



Loyalty Long-term stability Trust


Shared values




Motivated employees


Possible Inadequacies Promoting or giving jobs to family members who may not be as qualified as someone outside the family Skill and work experience may be neglected






Succession (older generation may not give younger generation room to develop, or younger generation may not want to assume leadership position)


Originally written for To Each His Own, by Eric Miller and Don Schmincke in September issue of SmartCEO.

Referred to  Pros & Cons of Family Business, by Alexis Writing