Learning by doing
When confronted with extraordinary circumstances or complex problems, even the most aligned families can struggle to make good decisions together. By revealing difficult trade-offs with no clear path forward, these scenarios can lead to conflict, damage relationships, erode trust, and impact an enterprise’s chances of continuity.
With practice, however, navigating these dilemmas can become easier and more natural for family members allowing differences in opinion to become valuable assets and disagreements to generate constructive outcomes.
Family enterprise simulations provide your family with a hands-on opportunity to practice decision-making in scenarios that are carefully designed to raise complex issues and challenge your family to resolve them thoughtfully and constructively.
How does it work?
We begin with an introductory workshop to prepare for the simulation, sharing tools and frameworks to support effective team-based problem solving across the family enterprise.
The experiential simulation then begins, providing small teams with multiple time-sensitive scenarios that have no straightforward, ‘best practice’ answer and forcing teams to make difficult decisions. The scenarios are designed so that reasonable people can reasonably disagree about what course of action should be taken, and this is precisely where the most impactful learning takes place.
After teams deliberate about what to do in each scenario, they make a decision as a group and watch the outcome unfold. This exercise is repeated multiple times with scenarios that each build on past decisions and outcomes. At the end of the simulation, there is a debrief session to share reflections and insights about team-based decision-making under uncertain conditions — what worked, what didn’t, and what could be improved. These learnings are then connected back to the unique strategic context of your family enterprise.
How does your family benefit?
LGA’s Simulations provide your family, your board or your executive leadership team with:
- A rich experience that empowers your family to make more effective decisions in the face of imperfect information and work collaboratively toward collective outcomes
- An introduction to the Adaptive Leadership framework to understand common challenges that you might face in your quest for continuity
- An appreciation for how family members might reasonably disagree about the best way to make hard trade-offs
- A deeper understanding of the risks presented by divisive group dynamics and how to respond to them when they emerge
- An improved ability to absorb the successes and failures that come with making difficult choices and to learn from these experiences
- An appreciation for the complex challenges of collective stewardship in the face of uncertainty
The second-generation CEO of a large family enterprise was approached by a strategic investor who made a generous and unsolicited offer for their legacy operating business. The CEO had previously never explored a sale — both because of her strong emotional connection to the company and its employees — two of whom were her kids — and because of its attractive cash flow and growth profile.
Three third-generation Family Directors of a large enterprising family were attending a global conference focused on innovation and growth. Their 90-year old family had deep pride and gratitude for the success and leadership of previous generations. However, there were no family members currently working actively in the business, and the family’s only connection to their vast operations — which spanned eight industries and three continents — was limited to these three members of the Board.
Chris Robichaud and Devin DeCiantis talk about how simulations can support continuity.
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