The Covid-19 crisis is a time when you should gauge your family’s resilience — and build more of it. An enterprising family’s goal is to not just cope with adversity, but grow stronger as a result of it. Here are ways to achieve that.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a huge, disruptive event that is severely challenging every aspect of our societies, every level of our governments, and all sectors of our economies. This pandemic is a disorienting, strongly felt shock to our collective nervous system — a textbook case of a major crisis and setback. The health, societal, and economic upset from this disruption will rumble through the world for the rest of this year and into the next. The human, economic, and social costs of the pandemic are staggering, and the ultimate costs are only now being imagined. …


A major focus of the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, and in my new faculty position at MIT, is to track how certain disruptions are shaping the future of family enterprises. Technological change, globalization, social and demographic changes, environmental degradation, and the breakdown of government and political discourse–to name a few — are disrupting family enterprises in important ways. The impact of these forces goes well beyond reshaping industries and affecting the way you do business (what, where and how you sell, source and produce; how you prepare your organization for change; how you recruit, develop and retain good talent).


Dual-class stock listings, often favored by founders and families who take their companies public, have a bad rap with a number of stock markets, stock analysts and especially with institutional investors. These investment companies, including pension funds and other investment pools, claim dual-class systems are a threat to “democratic norms” in public markets because these ownership systems “entrench” families in control of their family companies. The business press has largely fallen in line with these critics, I think because they haven’t examined the benefits of dual-class systems and the weaknesses of today’s stock markets.

Dual-class stock structures are beneficial for…


Lessons in social responsibility from the C-suites of family-owned enterprises

Episodes of bad behavior and suspicions around nepotism seem to dominate media coverage and perceptions of next generation members of family enterprises — making it easy to assume that many of these rising members are undeserving of their positions of influence and unfairly use their wealth and privilege. However, there is a new generation of rising leaders of family enterprises that are connected not by salacious headlines, but by their responsible leadership and global commitment to social impact.

The focus on social responsibility is a defining element of the honorees…


The pictures of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump participating in executive and ceremonial meetings with foreign leaders draw the ire of many. These images raise central questions about the legitimacy and utility of nepotism in the White House.

Most commentators regard the governmental presence of Kushner-Trump as, at the minimum, overstepping the proper roles of relatives supporting their family leader. More critically, their presence is a poor and inappropriate substitute for professionals who should be in these advisory roles. The most generous comment I have read about the Trump scions’ administrative roles is that they seem to have a moderating…

John A. Davis

Dr. John A. Davis, professor at MIT Sloan, is a globally-recognized authority, academic and researcher on family business and family wealth. johndavis.com

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