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The Next Generation: 4 Tips for Embracing Leadership Roles in your Family Enterprise
Ivan Lansberg

Biography

Kellogg School of Management
Adjunct Professor of Family Enterprise, Academic Director of the Center for Family Enterprises

Professor Ivan Lansberg is an organizational psychologist in New Haven, Connecticut. He is co-founder and a senior partner of Lansberg, Gersick & Associates LLC, a research and consulting firm specializing in family enterprise and family philanthropy. Ivan was a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management for seven years, and a Research Fellow at Yale’s Institute for Social and Policy Studies. Prior to his affiliation with Yale, Ivan taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. The son of an entrepreneur, he has personally experienced many of the issues associated with family business ownership.

Ivan is a frequent speaker at family business programs organized by universities and industry groups. Ivan has also helped establish research and executive programs on family business in many colleges and universities, both in the U.S. and abroad. These centers include the International Institute for Management Development, in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Montreal Institute for Family Enterprise; El Instituto de la Empresa Familiar, in Barcelona, Spain; and the Universidad de los Andes and the Escuela Adolfo Ibañes, in Santiago, Chile.

One of the founders of the Family Firm Institute, Ivan was the first editor of the Family Business Review, the professional journal of the family business field. For the past ten years, he and his associates have done extensive research on leadership succession and family business continuity. He has written widely on family business issues. He is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review his most recent articles include The Tests of a Prince (September 2007) and Cello de Familia (with Kelin Gersick) – on the governance and continuity challenges facing Latin American Family Enterprises - (August 2006). His latest book Succeeding Generations, published by the Harvard Business School Press (1999), is on succession and continuity in family enterprises. He is also a co-author of Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, published by HBS Press in 1997. Ivan’s work has been featured in such publications as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BusinessWeek, Fortune and Family Business magazine. His books and articles have been translated into many languages, including: Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch.

Ivan’s broad consulting experience includes work with family businesses in the United States, Asia, Canada, Europe and Latin America. He also participates on the boards of directors of a number of family companies.

Ivan holds Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. degrees from Columbia University.

Education Ph.D., 1983, Social Psychology, Columbia University

M.A., Social Psychology, Columbia University

B.A., 1976, Sociology, Latin American Studies, Columbia University

Academic Positions Lecturer & Co-Director Family Enterprise Programs, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2000-present

Supervisor of Family Enterprise Chairs, Instituto de la Empresa Familiar, 1998-2001

Faculty Fellow/Curriculum Coordinator, Business Families Foundations, 1993-2001

Faculty Member, Universidad Adolfo IBAÑES, 1990-1998

Faculty Member/Coordinator, Senior Executive Program for Family-Owned Businesses, International Management Development Institute (IMD), 1989-1994

Professor, Yale School of Management, Yale University, 1983-1989

Co-Lecturer, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, 1980-1981

Other Professional Experience Co-founder and senior partner, Lansberg, Gersick and Associates, 1999-present

Staff Member, Columbia University, 1979-1981

Honors and Awards Junior Faculty Fellowship, Yale University, Spring 1987

Annual Distinguished Award for Research in Family Business, The Chicago Family Business Counsel, 1985

Neal Wehr Award, Connecticut Chamber of Commerce

Richard Beckhard Award, Family Firm Institute

Editorial Positions Guest Reviewer, Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences

Guest Reviewer, Academy of Management Review

Guest Reviewer, Administrative Science Quarterly

Education Academic Positions Other Professional Experience Honors and Awards Editorial Positions

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Cases

Lansberg, Ivan. 2001. And When You Finally Reach the Top…. Family Business Magazine.

When a company’s succession process is well planned and implemented, successor candidates rise to the top job through demonstrated competence on strategic and operational matters. By this time, seasoned successors know how to motivate, organize and monitor their subordinates. And they know how to cope with their suppliers and competitors. But even in the best of cases, when successors reach the top they quickly realize that little about their training prepares them to manage another group to whom they are now accountable-namely, the shareholders.

Lansberg, Ivan, Mary Alice Crump and Sachin Waikar. 2014. Carvajal, S.A.: Building on a Century of Business Growth and Family Values. Case 5-313-503 (KEL872).

This case presents the history and recent governance challenges of Carvajal, S.A., a Colombia-based, family-owned, billion-dollar-plus holding company that had offered printing-related (e.g., Yellow Pages, notebooks) and other products and services across and beyond South America for more than a century. Specifically, the case details the company’s state of affairs in early 2011, a time by which Carvajal’s flagship businesses had matured rapidly with the emergence of digital technology and diminished demand for paper/print-based products. Though profits and growth remained positive, Carvajal’s leaders knew that upholding the business’s legacy of returns, dividends for all family members, and extensive philanthropy would take significant strategy and execution.

Compounding the strategy issues, Carvajal faced these market challenges with new leadership: the first non-family CEO since the company’s inception. Well-established Colombian executive Ricardo Obregon had been hired in 2008 over two family candidates to lead the business. Obregon was to oversee a complex governance network that included a holding company with seven operating companies, their management and respective boards, a family council, and 280 members (including spouses) of a shareholding family in its sixth generation. Carvajal’s business and family leaders had to face market issues and decisions that included the possibility of taking public the operating companies and/or the holding company while maintaining the business’s long traditions of unity, respect, strong ethics, and philanthropy. That meant optimizing several crucial relationships: between the family and the new CEO; between the family and the board; between the operating companies and the holding company; and between members of the large Carvajal family, many of whom now resided outside of Colombia and Latin America.

Lansberg, Ivan, Katherine Grady and Sachin Waikar. 2016. The Future of Bush Brothers & Company: Developing a Shared Vision for a Complex Family Enterprise. Case 5-414-754 (KEL936).

In early 2014, the family leadership of Bush Brothers & Company, a leading player in canned vegetables (its Bush's Best line dominated the canned-beans market), faced questions about the family's vision for the future in light of an imminent leadership transition: third-generation member, longtime board chair, and, until recently, CEO Jim Ethier planned to leave his role as early as 2015. The family was into its sixth generation, with nearly sixty family shareholders spread across four branches. On the business side, the first non-family CEO was overseeing development of a growth strategy, including ongoing ventures into competitive new markets such as Hispanic foods. Its fourth-generation leaders—including Drew Everett (vice president of human resources and shareholder relations, and likely board chair successor), Sarah (chair of the family senate), and Tony (chair of the family's private trust company)—faced questions about whom to involve in developing a future vision, how to formulate the vision effectively, and what vision would best serve business and family interests. These questions represented underlying strategic dilemmas, such as whether to have a select group of leaders craft the vision or to solicit input from a wider range of shareholders, and how much to allow the business vision to drive the "people" vision—all framed by recent unsuccessful attempts to develop a shared vision. Resolving these dilemmas successfully would help the family frame and advance its established traditions of leadership, governance, and culture within a truly shared vision that boosted unity and long-term commitment. Students working on the case will gain insights into the framework, process, and challenges associated with developing a shared vision for a complex, multigeneration family enterprise.

Lansberg, Ivan. 2001. And When You Finally Reach the Top…. Family Business Magazine.

When a company’s succession process is well planned and implemented, successor candidates rise to the top job through demonstrated competence on strategic and operational matters. By this time, seasoned successors know how to motivate, organize and monitor their subordinates. And they know how to cope with their suppliers and competitors. But even in the best of cases, when successors reach the top they quickly realize that little about their training prepares them to manage another group to whom they are now accountable-namely, the shareholders.

Lansberg, Ivan, Mary Alice Crump and Sachin Waikar. 2014. Carvajal, S.A.: Building on a Century of Business Growth and Family Values. Case 5-313-503 (KEL872).

This case presents the history and recent governance challenges of Carvajal, S.A., a Colombia-based, family-owned, billion-dollar-plus holding company that had offered printing-related (e.g., Yellow Pages, notebooks) and other products and services across and beyond South America for more than a century. Specifically, the case details the company’s state of affairs in early 2011, a time by which Carvajal’s flagship businesses had matured rapidly with the emergence of digital technology and diminished demand for paper/print-based products. Though profits and growth remained positive, Carvajal’s leaders knew that upholding the business’s legacy of returns, dividends for all family members, and extensive philanthropy would take significant strategy and execution.

Compounding the strategy issues, Carvajal faced these market challenges with new leadership: the first non-family CEO since the company’s inception. Well-established Colombian executive Ricardo Obregon had been hired in 2008 over two family candidates to lead the business. Obregon was to oversee a complex governance network that included a holding company with seven operating companies, their management and respective boards, a family council, and 280 members (including spouses) of a shareholding family in its sixth generation. Carvajal’s business and family leaders had to face market issues and decisions that included the possibility of taking public the operating companies and/or the holding company while maintaining the business’s long traditions of unity, respect, strong ethics, and philanthropy. That meant optimizing several crucial relationships: between the family and the new CEO; between the family and the board; between the operating companies and the holding company; and between members of the large Carvajal family, many of whom now resided outside of Colombia and Latin America.

Lansberg, Ivan, Katherine Grady and Sachin Waikar. 2016. The Future of Bush Brothers & Company: Developing a Shared Vision for a Complex Family Enterprise. Case 5-414-754 (KEL936).

In early 2014, the family leadership of Bush Brothers & Company, a leading player in canned vegetables (its Bush's Best line dominated the canned-beans market), faced questions about the family's vision for the future in light of an imminent leadership transition: third-generation member, longtime board chair, and, until recently, CEO Jim Ethier planned to leave his role as early as 2015. The family was into its sixth generation, with nearly sixty family shareholders spread across four branches. On the business side, the first non-family CEO was overseeing development of a growth strategy, including ongoing ventures into competitive new markets such as Hispanic foods. Its fourth-generation leaders—including Drew Everett (vice president of human resources and shareholder relations, and likely board chair successor), Sarah (chair of the family senate), and Tony (chair of the family's private trust company)—faced questions about whom to involve in developing a future vision, how to formulate the vision effectively, and what vision would best serve business and family interests. These questions represented underlying strategic dilemmas, such as whether to have a select group of leaders craft the vision or to solicit input from a wider range of shareholders, and how much to allow the business vision to drive the "people" vision—all framed by recent unsuccessful attempts to develop a shared vision. Resolving these dilemmas successfully would help the family frame and advance its established traditions of leadership, governance, and culture within a truly shared vision that boosted unity and long-term commitment. Students working on the case will gain insights into the framework, process, and challenges associated with developing a shared vision for a complex, multigeneration family enterprise.

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