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Philip Mackeown's key findings from the 18th European Families In Business Forum

By Glen Ferris

The chairman of Campden Club’s two-day event on March 30 and 31 talks to Campden FB about his main takeaways.

Over two days at The Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin, members of ultra-high-net-worth financial families took part in a series of revelatory presentations and sessions in which the subject of legacy, pertaining to the three key pillars of purpose, people and profit, was discussed.

Family talent advisor, successor development coach, and fifth generation member and former director of the Musgrave Group, Philip Mackeown chaired the proceedings and here takes us through his key findings:

“The title of the 18th European Families In Business Forum was ‘What legacies are made of - Purpose, people and profit’.

“Purpose embodies an idea we passionately care about and compels us to take action. First, purpose to compel commitment to a business and the capacity to develop new ones. Second, purpose to operate ‘good business’. Do good and do well, not only because you feel it's the right thing to do, but because consumers demand it. Finally, purpose to motivate and unify a family behind a vision - Family unity as purpose for a family-in-business.

“Of course, this all depends on people. During the two days, we heard many examples of family leadership: Leadership as spur to innovation in the business, including an excellent forum on women in business, family leadership of new ventures and the lessons from family conflict and blocks to succession.

‘You decide on the type of relationship you have with the family business.’

“One quote that stood out to me was ‘You decide on the type of relationship you have with the family business’. As owners, we spend a lot of time considering family involvement: Talking about value, imposing quotas or hurdles for the employment of our family and relatives… But, at the end of the day, each of us individually has to sit down and decide, am I going to commit to the family business? Or maybe it's time to move on to something else.

“The final piece is profit, which was been defined as the applause for doing a great job. Of course, things don't always go to plan and when all else fails, you've got to put purpose and people aside and try to dig yourself out. To achieve and sustain a profit enables fulfilment of legacy over time – by people with purpose - to achieve continuity across generations.