Family firms have special characteristics and abilities that make them stand out in a crowd. You might think of these qualities as family enterprise superpowers. 在混乱的时期, family firms can deploy their superpowers to build strength for the future – not just for themselves, 而是为了所有依靠他们的人. As former 芝加哥 Mayor Rahm Emanuel, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, advises: “You 永远不要浪费一次严重的危机. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” 

Strong family firms succeed across the generations because of a commitment and ability to grow through adversity. 当行业发生变化时,他们会彻底改造自己的业务. They harvest and redeploy assets in family offices as good stewards of what they have been given. They create foundations to direct their wealth into important initiatives that benefit us all. These are the results of special characteristics shared by 家族企业 around the world.

The following special characteristics (AKA superpowers) characterize many Family Firms:

  • 关心,涉及的存在 在大大小小的社区, 家族企业在哪里支持当地医院, 公园, religious and arts organizations as well as numerous individuals and families. 
  • 长期时间框架 that leads family firms to perceive and pursue opportunities for superior performance that are overlooked or invisible to public firms forced to show short-term, 每季度的结果.
  • 遗留值 指导决策, which allows 家族企业 to make decisions and take actions that place moral, 伦理和人的考虑是重要的优先事项.
  • 反向投资策略 that family firms pursue because they can perceive opportunities for service and innovation (and profitability!)是别人看不见的.
  • /和思考 where family firms develop a superior ability to address stubborn problems and can find ways to prioritize both family and business, 员工安全和关键操作, 关爱个人,关爱社会.

Each of these superpowers offer tremendous support and wisdom in times of crisis.


当家族企业的领导人宣称他们会长期坚持, 这不是空话, 这是他们久经考验的运作方式. When they say they will continue to be guided by their legacy values, 他们有几十年的历史支持他们的主张. 当他们坐下来面对看似不可能的困境时, they have generations of experience addressing similar tensions successfully. It’s not the first or last time they will address seemingly unsolvable problems with novel approaches. 在困难时期, 家族企业, 在他们的社区中以大胆和成功的行动而闻名, can be sources of inspiration and reassurance for a range of stakeholders.

我们的许多客户都在关键行业,比如食品行业, 基础设施, 住房和医学, 在这场危机中,他们仍在继续运作. We hear that they are swamped and challenged beyond anything they’ve experienced before. Others have been forced to close their doors and send employees home without knowing when or how they will reopen. Many are committed to continuing to pay loyal staff as long as possible. Others have continued to provide health insurance to furloughed staff. Some have cut their own ownership benefits for the short-term in order to maintain operations and employment. 不管具体情况如何, all of these organizations have stakeholders looking to them for information about what’s coming next and how next steps will be managed.

在他们的言语和行动中, leaders and owners of family firms have the opportunity to be islands of caring and calm in this storm. 当他们登上领奖台时, 精心制作电子邮件信息, 打开缩放呼叫, 或者直接与焦虑的社区成员交谈, these leaders can draw support and wisdom from their unique family enterprise superpowers.

Some of the ways our clients have  approached communications with critical stakeholders are listed here in the hope that you will benefit from the success of others.

  • Establish a regular time and format for communications to create dependability in a time of unpredictability. 考虑每周甚至每天给利益相关者打电话或发邮件. One of our clients has been holding morning stand-up meetings for 30 minutes at the start of each day, to provide updates and presence for a workforce working remotely for the first time.
  • Set a tone of calm, hope and practicality, combined with realism and honesty. 包括故事和图像,以及事实和数字. Speak to people’s head and hearts, in a way that is optimistically realistic. Inspire with lessons from your history that demonstrate proven competence.
  • 在你的行动和你所陈述的价值观之间划出一条清晰的界线. Although the connection is obvious to you, it may need to be made explicit to others.
  • 与家族股东沟通时, emphasize the special advantages of being private and ways you are taking advantage of a long-term perspective. 分享领导团队的行动和成就, 无论是家族办公室还是经营业务, 向老板, especially those that may be dependent on dividend streams to support their lifestyle. 
  • Use existing Family Councils or other family governance structures in support of family communication and cohesion. Your Family Council can help organize ways to keep family members in closer touch with each other. Shareholders not active in the business or governance may feel great love for the enterprise and want to offer support from afar. The Family Council could take this opportunity to be a vehicle for family members to express their support and appreciation to business or family office leaders who are addressing the tough issues of this crisis.


You can only take advantage of your superpowers if you make time to take care of yourself and keep yourself strong, 平静和健康. 这场危机似乎不是短跑,而是一场马拉松. Here are a few concrete actions we’ve seen others take to stay strong and positive for the long term:

  • 优先考虑体育锻炼, 定期冥想, time in nature and/or other spiritual practice so you can be stay grounded and strong for others. This article has basic instruction on mindfulness for family business leaders.
  • 甚至当你对浮现做出反应的时候, 紧急的要求, 尽你最大的努力把时间和注意力长期保存下来. Continue your work on important/not urgent issues such as mentoring future leaders, drawing lessons from the current situation and spending quiet time with loved ones.
  • Whatever lifts your spirits, makes you smile or laugh – make time for it! Be on the lookout for small opportunities to pause and be grateful for everything that is going well at this moment. Make a quick phone call to someone that will give you an encouraging, loving response. Nurture your internal landscape with positive, energizing thoughts and images as much as possible.


Teach us to treasure each day, that we may open our hearts to Your wisdom.

这是对诗篇90篇的完美诠释.在这周的早晨冥想中,我突然想到了12个, and I knew it was a key to finding some peace and grounding during this difficult time. I realized that I have been regularly taking several simple actions to manage the stress and anxiety of the global pandemic. 虽然它们都不是全新的或惊天动地的, 也许把它们放在一个地方会有帮助. 所以,是:


你能善用你的头脑吗? 如果你能意识到你心里的想法, 你可以经常把你的思想推向积极的方向. 在过去的几周里,(受到教学的启发) 大师南路) I’ve been revisiting times when I felt strong, happy and supported. I think about holding my grandson while he slept or watching my children and their spouses cook a meal together or hiking by the ocean. 我用那些快乐的回忆填满我的身心. 我感到一个微笑来到我的脸上,正能量淹没我的身体. 

Alternatively, I’ve been visualizing future events that I’m looking forward to. 我想象着下个感恩节全家欢聚一堂, 快乐健康地围坐在摆满食物的桌子旁. 我想象着走下飞机去柏林看望我的家人, 在长久的分离后分享拥抱和亲吻. 再一次,我充满了幸福. I feel stronger and more capable to manage whatever is coming my way.


我们的大家庭在午餐时间有一个工作日的zoom电话. Different people drop in on different days, stay as long as they can, then drop off. 我们遍布柏林, 奥克兰, 伊利诺斯州南部, 芝加哥, 芝加哥郊区, 但在网上,我们很容易聚在一起. 我看到孙子们看到阿姨们的脸时都很开心, 叔叔, 堂兄弟和祖父母, 即使只有5分钟. 这些电话为我们所有人提供了稳定和联系.  我们没有固定的结构, but just seeing each other’s faces and hearing each other’s voices creates support and nourishment.


最后,我每天都腾出时间安静下来. Because I’ve had a meditation practice for many years, it comes fairly easily. In stillness, I can hear my heart beating, and know this is a miracle. In quiet I can hear the furnace kick on and feel gratitude for its warmth on the chilly spring day. 当我坐在冥想坐垫上的时候, 我可能会感到难过, 或焦虑, 或孤独, but as I remain still and calm in the midst of those swirling emotions, 它们通常会减少并最终释放. 剩下的只是一种活着的简单感觉, 呼吸,在这美妙的时刻.


迪克·阿克塞尔罗德, who teaches a course on Crisis Leadership at the University of 芝加哥 Graham School of Professional Studies Masters in Threat and Response Management Program has some 在他的网站上分享伟大的智慧.

杰克堆栈, President and CEO of SRC Holdings Corp and innovator of The Great Game of Business, 在一篇文章中分享了他从过去危机中吸取的教训 常绿日报.

该网站 has great resources and insights on managing polarities and paradoxes that require both/and responses, 我们的书也一样 悖论的家族企业

要了解更多关于这个话题的信息,请观看 Amy’s interview with FBCG senior consultant David Karofsky on our YouTube Channel

Thanks to my colleague, Chris Eckrich, for helpful ideas on this article!