Family firms should 'play together'

Family firms should 'play together'

Family business growth can be boosted if a ‘permission to play’ is encouraged in the workplace, according to Dani Saveker, CEO of support and consultancy organisation Families in Business (FiB).

“In a recent study, FiB found that over half of the individuals working in family enterprises place little or no priority on fun. This is significant,” says Dani, speaking ahead of FiB’s first-ever national summit for family and owner managed businesses next month.

“When you see that 83% place the most importance and focus on the day to day business needs, you see two things; firstly, that they are extremely challenged by current issues, and secondly they aren’t building play into their work. For the vast majority, it doesn’t feel much like fun and they can’t see any further ahead than today.

“So why is fun and play especially important? Play is the way in which all humans and many animals learn, compete and excel. Play is also the best environment to create trust and creativity without fear of failure. It is one of the most valuable ways to create and maintain alignment from individuals to their purpose and through teams, the business and external world.

“When we work with family enterprises we find that virtually every single person, which includes leaders, next generation executives and non-family employees, tell us that they are struggling to cope with life as it is today. Nine out of ten also tell us they feel a real lack of purpose. So why are we struggling so much?

“Isolation, loneliness and a lack of empathy are the human costs of a changing society but the business case for play is also significant. With businesses facing change, challenge and confusion in a time of uncertainty it is essential to have the best skills and talent possible. 70% of family enterprises admit to having no focus or strategy around innovation, creativity and development leaving them vulnerable. Standing still is not a long term plan. It’s time to introduce play.

“From the family relationships in family owned and run businesses, to the wider relationships, everyone needs to be aligned to a clear vision. By granting a permission to play and connecting to the overall purpose for the business and those in and around it, it’s far easier to accelerate growth and experience a thoroughly enjoyable journey.”

The first-ever Families in Business Summit will further explore the problems of not allowing play into the workplace, and through a programme of keynote speeches from family business leaders and advisers, to interactive workshops and break-out sessions, will provide a portfolio of solutions to support family and owner managed enterprises place play at the heart of their businesses.

“Ridding performance anxiety unlocks creativity and supercharges our ability to innovate,” explains Dani. “I’m not saying don’t take things seriously, far from it, but I am a strong believer in the need to create this space.”