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Curriculum & Schedule

The Stewardship for Family Business Enterprise program incorporates in-person and live virtual lectures, discussion, business simulations, and interactive learning. Participants will gain valuable skills that will be immediately applicable to their family business as well as a valuable network of peers.

Content Overview

Clearly stated goals and purpose for business can help to shape both long-term development for a company and shorter-term strategy. Family businesses often struggle with competing visions for the company’s future, whether it’s a generational divide between maintaining the historical processes and changing them or between shareholders who are involved in the day-to-day operations and those who are not. Having and communicating a unified vision of an organization shapes loyalty, buy-in, and the commitment level of family members now and for generations to come. Identify your companies’ value proposition, place in the market, and potential areas for growth.

Strategy is more important today than ever before. Technology, globalization, and hyper-competition, among other factors, can take attention away from answering critical strategic questions: 1) how are we unique, 2) what do we NOT do, and 3) are our activities complementary? We cannot take our eyes off these big questions if we want to respond proactively to turbulent competitive markets. However, in a family-firm context, answering these questions is even more challenging, as socio-emotional utility, not just economic utility, is in play.

Family businesses often have nuanced multi-layered interpersonal dynamics, which can be challenging to navigate productively. Relationships among family members can influence strategic decisions or stall the decision-making process altogether. There can be disagreements about strategy between family shareholders who are not involved in day-to-day operations and those who are. In this section we will address ways for family shareholders to align strategy, promote trust, facilitate constructive communication, and approach difficult conversation topics like wealth management and continuity. We will address ways to collaborate and lead across households and generations.

Your business impacts your family, customers, and community. Understanding how changes you make can increase your positive impact will allow you to be strategic in the way that you innovate your existing products and services. In this session, we will discuss what you, your family and company value as a basis for driving positive impact inline with those values. We will discuss when to pivot and how to do so in ways that draw on your existing strengths and capabilities. Innovation and change that align with your core values can both help better humanity and improve the performance of your business.
The overall objective of this session is to enhance your ability to lead organizational change to increase your organization’s performance. The specific learning goals are to equip with tools to (a) determine the key dimensions of organizational performance, (b) diagnose your organization’s current operational state, (c) design a future operational state wherein your organization’s performance is improved, and (d) develop a change plan for transitioning from the current to the desired future operational state.
We will examine a method for diagnosing and solving organizational problems. The method centers on the Organizational Performance Model (OPM). We will explore how the model facilitates the determination of the dimensions of organizational performance, diagnosis of an organization’s current operational state, and design of a feasible future operational state, where organizational performance is improved.

The People Frame highlights psychological factors in diagnosing and solving organizational problems and leading organizational change. The People Frame encompasses a wide variety of concepts and principles. Focus in this session will be on the subjects of decision-making and motivation.

The Structure Frame highlights the formal and informal mechanisms of the organization for specifying, supporting, coordinating and integrating organizational processes. Ill-conceived and poorly deployed mechanisms of organizational structure are a major source of process dysfunction and resistance to organizational change leadership. We will investigate how to determine the extent to which an organization’s structural mechanisms are working. We will also consider how to develop and deploy a configuration of those mechanisms that will likely function to effect and sustain the desired future state process system.

The Culture Frame positions as one of the main reasons for sustained excellence. It is also often identified as a major stumbling block for change leadership. We will examine the general nature and functions of organizational culture. We will explore how to a) develop an adequate understanding and appreciation of an organization’s culture, b) shape and reinforce an organization’s culture to effect and sustain a new or improved process, and c) leverage organizational culture to lead change.

Determining the performance dimensions, diagnosing the current state, and designing the future state set the stage for creating and implementing a living change plan, a powerful enabler of major organizational transformation. A change plan is a detailed and “living” proposal about how to prepare for and navigate the transition zone, which becomes a change charter when the plan evolves into an explicit agreement among key stakeholders.

During these sessions, participants will focus on the critical leadership attributes, qualities, skills, and competencies needed to create, sustain, and transform organizational success. We will explore the dynamic leadership issues facing today’s businesses. These modules will challenge participants to build on their established skills and competencies and exchange ideas and experiences in ways that enhance leadership effectiveness throughout their organization. Our goal is to challenge participants’ thinking about contemporary leadership challenges, responsibilities, and obligations and enable them to:
• gain a deeper understanding and insight into the roles, requirements, and expectations of leaders in family business enterprises.
• understand the role of leaders as agents of change capable of using effective leadership processes to help reshape their organization to meet the challenges of a global economy.
• develop the managerial leadership skills to facilitate transforming their organization and creating a culture of shared responsibility.
• improve their understanding of effective decision making as a means of creating an achievement-oriented culture.

Transference of power and knowledge could be one of the most challenging processes, but within family businesses, even more complex. Whether the transition is to another family member or a non-family member, how can firms optimize the transference to retain the best outcome? How does an effective board structure and governance play a role? What roles do Fiduciary Boards, Advisory Boards, and Family Council Boards play?

As business demands evolve over time, how could your family business adapt to the changing landscape to remain relevant? What are some early signs to look for and tips on how to pivot quickly? Learn from both failures and successes of other family businesses so you can better prepare to avoid pitfalls and embrace opportunities.

Tax law as it relates to family businesses is constantly shifting. Family-owned businesses are uniquely positioned to make values-based decisions over maximizing quarterly profits. Identify what that means for your family business, whether through philanthropy, sustainability, or social impact initiatives.

According to Harvard Business Review’s article on A Crisis Playbook for Family Business, during a crisis, emotions are magnified, and decision-making processes often shift to family owners. To be better prepared to face crises and have guidance in place for not just owners but other stakeholders (such as executives and boards), it is important to have a plan for crises, review structures in place, and communicate the decisions and implications.

Any stakeholder leading a family business must eventually deal with an exit strategy. There are many ways to exit and selecting what’s best for you and your business could be both a difficult decision and process. Learn from experts on the timing, planning, evaluating of options, factors to consider, and lessons learned to help you plan for the future.

A report done by IMD, Family Business: A Voice for Change in Sustainability, highlights how family business enterprises are positioned well to advance sustainability initiatives, especially as they span multiple generations have an interest in forging a positive legacy in the future for generations to come. The session will explore what are some critical risks for all firms to consider, how to rethink assumptions on success related to sustainability, where to focus and align resources depending on individual firm values, and key actions to take now to position the firm for the future generations.

Each participant will complete an Organizational Change Project Report. The main objectives of the Report are to provide you with an opportunity to a) develop proficiency with and b) apply appropriately the change leadership tools covered in our course to address a current and meaningful opportunity or challenge facing your business. The faculty will provide input and suggestions on your report.
The final deliverable includes initial report, followed by implementation report outs at 3 months and 6 months. More details related to milestones and other deliverables will be provided during the program.

  • Identify a change project that impact business
  • Create a change plan
  • Check-in with faculty on change plan progress and milestones
  • Report out (3-month) on change plan implementation progress
  • Report out (6-month) on change plan implementation results and impact


One Week Intensive Program at UW Seattle Campus

Sep 19,
Sep 20,
Sep 21,
Sep 22,
Sep 23,
AM Visioning Change Management Framework People, Structure, Culture Framework Transformational Leadership Business to Better Humanity
PM Family Firm Strategy Diagnosing/Solving Operational Problems Developing a Change Plan Transformational Leadership Preliminary Change Plan Presentations and Feedback
Eve Family Dynamics Work on Change Plan Work on Change Plan Group Dinner

Virtual Sessions, Twice Per Month, 6-9PM PT

October 4, 2022 Business and Family Governance
October 18, 2022 Changing Business Models
November 1, 2022 Taxation and Ownership Transfer
November 15, 2022 Crisis Management and Exit Strategies
December 6, 2022 Climate Change and Sustainability
December 13, 2022 Change Management Plan Capstone Report Out
March 7, 2023 Change Management Implementation Report Out Part 1
June 6, 2023 Change Management Implementation Report Out Part 2

Schedule is subject to change.

Participants are eligible to receive 8.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this seminar. You must request tracking of your CEU credits when you register. More information about CEUs.