Family Business Conference

 While learning a new language (Turkish), and deeply getting involved in understanding the whole culture, I had some great realizations.
First of all, learning a language is not only about learning its words, and knowing how to formulate sentences. There is a deeper understanding of culture and values that is necessary to be able to really speak and interact in a certain language. During learning, and while developing an understanding for that culture, it struck me that a new person is also developing inside me. That new person was born the day I started my quest, and just as a native baby would be, I started mingling in that culture and a "Turkish personality" somehow evolved in me. When you go deep in a certain culture, you not only assimilate with them, but the words, phrases, values and norms set forth a certain way of functioning that you don't use while speaking other languages. You can observe this with people who lived abroad and are really familiar with that country. The funny thing is that you become German when speak German, and you become Japanese when you speak Japanese! Of course this depends on how deeply you understand the language/culture.
The learning could also be applied to learning in general, and we can also see that the more one spends time on a certain activity or trade, the better they are at it. I also realized the importance of family businesses and the inherited knowledge that comes with it, based on decades and generations of experience. 
Being in the third generation of a family business, I can immediately identify with this. I have naturally learned the trade, and was able to slowly grasp the values under which our business is run. I didn't need excessive training, I just went there whenever I had the time, and was able to make my own mistakes, and learn in a safe environment. The discussions at home and the general outlook on work was also teaching me how to run the business. But since our industry as a whole is not developing, I'm not involved in it any more. But I can immediately go and start working tomorrow if needed.
Although I still beleive in the importance of stability in a person's life, and its role in hard-wiring all the things he has to learn, I'm starting to question the validity of this thought. At least in some situations.
The Family Business Conference has validated my idea through the different speakers an dspecialists who showed how relevant this type of business still is. One of the charts proved the effectiveness of family businesses by showing the superior performance of family-owned businesses over other ones, which was depicted on a graph that showed that the former out-performed the S&P ratings in the last decades. This is the result of the long-term focus, ownership, and the deep learning and lifelong understanding that came with being raised in a specialist family. By the way, Beethoven and Strauss came from musical families, and Picasso's father was an artist too.
The conference that was attended by Jordan's prime minister Dr. Maarouf Bakhit, had several international contributors who specialized in this field. Several were actually spending years with certain families and their businesses working on how best to devise the structure, how to deal with the technical and legal issues, and most importantly how to make a smooth transition from one generation to the next.
It was really surprising to me how relevant and timely these issues still were. Some speakers stressed the fact that the issues faced by family businesses are universal in nature, and are almost the same across cultures. Haluk Alacaklioglu made a good comparison between the general practices in different cultures.
Two very interesting consecutive speakers gave us an in-depth view of Gezairi, a second generation company transitioning to the third generation. The first was by Dr. Renee Ghattas, outlining her scientific study of the company's different struggles and challenges throughout the years, and it was great that we had the director of that company, Mona Bou Azza Bawarshi, to give us the personal side of the company and how she manages it.
To me the general discussion was about familiar things, but the approach of dealing with the different challenges was totally new to me, not to mention the legal aspects of family businesses!


Hey, Elias! I finally found the blog of Samia's son and Khalidah's co-worker! I'm the one who wrote the baseball article :)

Sounds like a great conference! Did they give you any tips about how the second generation can avoid the pitfalls of their parent's founders-syndrome?

:) Hi, they told me a lot about you. Thanks for dropping by.
There are many good tips about second and third generation transition strategies.
I'll email you the presentations, you can take a look.
See you soon