Maintaining a legacy, adapting to change: Global Family Business Survey

Do your priorities support your long-term vision?

Family-owned business leaders know all too well the challenge of balancing short-term initiatives with long-term strategy. In this context, it’s critical to understand what similar organizations are thinking as they navigate the opportunities and pitfalls presented by an increasingly complex global landscape.

Deloitte Private’s 2019 report entitled Global Family Business Survey 2019: Long-term goals, meet short-term drive highlights the priorities and plans of family owned businesses across Canada and around the world. Conducted between January and March of this year, Deloitte’s Family Business Center polled 791 family-owned business executives, representing the second to fourth generation of family ownership, in 58 countries around the world.

As the findings demonstrate, Canadian business leaders have reason for confidence. For example, close to half of all Canadian family-owned businesses have made talent development a top priority, a significantly higher proportion than their global counterparts. While perhaps not surprising that family-owned businesses place a high value on their people, it is an indication that Canadians recognize the need for a capable, up-to-date workforce.

Canadians also place great value on preserving the family legacy. Less than a fifth of Canadian family-owned business leaders would trade family control for greater financial success, a significantly smaller proportion than what holds true globally.

However, Canadian executives must remain vigilant lest they find themselves falling behind. For instance, just half of Canadian family businesses have a formal board of directors, and only one in ten have a board with a majority of external participants. Both of these figures are far below the global average and may be a sign that Canadian family businesses need to do more to ensure they have access to a diversity of viewpoints.

Meanwhile, a noticeably greater proportion of global family businesses prioritize new product and service development than do their Canadian counterparts, an indication that, when it comes to innovation, we may have some work to do.

We invite you to explore these insights and many more in the full report. You’ll find them to be a useful resource as you fine tune your plans and align your vision and strategy.

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