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Bucket List: The latest developments in the core disciplines

Posted By The Practitioner, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Updated: Monday, July 30, 2012

August 1, 2012

The Bucket List

In 1996 the first FFI Body of Knowledge Committee identified four core disciplines—later referred to as "the buckets”—as key to understanding family enterprise advising and consulting.

They are behavioral science, finance, law, and management science.

In today’s Internet age breaking news and the "latest” on any particular topic of interest comes to us as fast as we can refresh our browsers or tap the icons of our cell phone apps. In an effort to sift through the noise while keeping abreast of the core disciplines, The Practitioner brings you some of the latest thinking in the "buckets”—some of which is quite different from what was considered "cutting edge” more than 25 years ago!

Behavioral Science

Do birds of a feather really flock together? A recent study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that a highly social species of birds who forego breeding are "far more likely to care for their own close relatives." The research suggests that there might be a cooperation instinct in order to promote the success of kin who share DNA. An interesting finding. For our purposes, does (and should) cooperation really come "naturally" for those in the family?

Read the full story here. The complete research study is available here.

Compensation in the family business can at times become a source of significant conflict. Pay-for-performance (or merit pay) models are typically used as incentives for productivity in organizations of all sizes. But which plans are most effective? The latest study entitled "How and What You Pay Matters: The Relative Effectiveness of Merit Pay, Bonuses and Long-Term Incentives on Future Job Performance” published in Compensation and Benefits Review "examines how three different forms of pay-for-performance plans—merit pay, individual-based annual bonuses and long-term incentive plans—influence employee future performance when they operate simultaneously.”

Download the full article here.

Special thanks to Compensation and Benefits Review for making this article available in its entirety to FFI Practitioner readers.

Whether or not you knew it, June 13, 2012 was a game-changing day for businesses around the world (and their attorneys) when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers released applications for new top-level domains (allowing businesses to buy domain names such as .shop or .google). While at first glance this seems rather innocuous, it opens up a host of trademark and business risks especially for longstanding family businesses with coveted name recognition. "The next step in the domain name land grab is for all brand owners, trademark holders, and attorneys to sift through all the applications to find those that could pose potential trademark or business risks.”

Read the article here.

Management Science

"The command-and-control approach to management has in recent years become less and less viable." ("Leadership Is a Conversation," Harvard Business Review, June 2012). In this article and their new book Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind present a new form of organizational communication. Arriving at this new methodology after two years of interviews with top leaders at over 100 companies including "large and small, blue chip and start-up, for-profit and nonprofit, U.S. and international." But, is this really new? Or are we, as practitioners, ahead of the curve—already employing this methodology with our clients? You decide.

Read the article and listen to the interview online here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reviewing some of the latest thinking in the core disciplines. For a little lighter reading The Practitioner recommends the beautifully written and moving novel Memory of Trees: A Daughter’s Story of a Family Farm available here.

Be sure to look for The Practitioner: Wednesday Edition next week in your email or online, when we feature another installment of Karen Vinton's Executive Summaries.  

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Yours in Practice, 

The Practitioner

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