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Succession Planning for a Family Business
Ivan Lansberg on “Ambidextrous Leadership”
Ivan Lansberg contends that effective leadership of a family enterprise requires a skill set which has not been adequately described in the business literature.
More specifically, he notes that leaders in a family enterprise are required to attend to the leadership needs of both the enterprise and the family. The enterprise needs the leader to lead, for example, the process of succession, while the family needs the leader to lead, for example, the nurturing and development of the next generation, the support of elderly parents, and the planning of family events. Most leaders are better at leading either the enterprise or the family, but few are naturally inclined in both areas. Lansberg calls for family enterprise leaders to become “ambidextrous leaders” — to build their skills in both arenas. This can allow the family enterprise to take advantage of the paradoxes of a family enterprise and turn these potentially confounding ambiguities into strategic advantages.