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Sharing Family Business Knowledge Around the World  
December 2009 
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Middle Eastern Family Businesses Have Unique Challenges
Josiane Fahed-Sreih
Josiane Fahed-Sreih describes eight specific challenges for family businesses in the Middle East:  succession, reputation, trust, role of women, in-laws, father-son conflict, governance, and polygamy.
Featured Article from the Wiki Encyclopedia
Blair Trippe
Blair Trippe presents an overview of the principles of mediation in the family business -- describing underlying sources of conflict and approaches to resolving highly emotional issues.
Featured Article from the Wiki Encyclopedia 
Cynthia Sandall
Cynthia Sandall describes Bowen's concept of differentiation of self -- and how this self differentiation is especially challenging in a family business. 
(As with Wikipedia, you are invited to edit the article to make it better).
What I'm Reading 
Cindy Clarke
This book clearly describes the various roles women may serve in a family business -- and some of the dilemmas inherent in each role.

In addition to our blogs and videos from around the world -- this issue of the newsletter features two excellent articles from the Family Business Wiki encyclopedia.  Just like Wikipedia, our encyclopedia is open to anyone to add or edit encyclopedia-type articles.  And just like Wikipedia, the quality of our articles will improve over time as they are edited by different people. 
One of our encyclopedia articles featured this month is from a family business student.  We encourage students -- and their instructors -- to use Family Business Wiki as a tool for "sharing family business knowledge around the world", and a tool to let the world see what you know!
If you like this newsletter, please invite others to also subscribe.  Just click on the link "Forward to a friend or colleague" found at the bottom of this newsletter.
P.S.  Our January newsletter will feature Family Business Wiki's 2010 Family Business City of the Year.  Every blog will be written by a family business professional from that city.  Here's a hint:  3 centers for family business; 2 global family business conferences; and 1 president.
Thought Leader Blog:  Christine Blondel  
Christine BlondelWhy You Should Not Write a Family Constitution
"We need a family constitution!"

This is sometimes the way families approach advisors. In some ways the request is: "Can you please help us find the magic formula that will make us able to own this business together without conflicts?"

And yes, probably, in a few months or years, this family may ratify its constitution. And this constitution may prove very useful. But if they have not, in the process, discussed their real issues, the whole exercise can be useless. So, the first objective of the process should be to ask the question: "What are the key issues that we face, or are likely to face soon? What is it that we need to talk about, maybe for the first time?" (Read more from Christine Blondel and add comments).
FBWiki TV:  Mattias Nordqvist 
The STEP Project:  Transfering the Entrepreneurial Mindset Across Generations 
Mattias NordqvistMattias Nordqvist, Co-Director of The STEP Project, describes how passing the entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities from one generation to the next may be the greatest challenge for family businesses.  The STEP Project is a global research initiative which is examining this process and generating practices and solutions which have immediate application for family business leaders.  (Click here to see the video.  Run time 3:39).
FBWiki TV:  Denise Paré-Julien
How Family Meetings Help Families-in-Business
Denise Pare-Julien
Denise Paré-Julien shares her wisdom on family meetings:
  • Why have a family meeting?
  • What are the keys to conducting a successful family meeting?
  • What should family business advisors seek to achieve in a family meeting?  (Click here to see the video.  Run time 4:09).
Family Business Advisor Blog:  Ira Bryck 
The Rare Family is Quite Well Done
Ira BryckMy wife and I are in comparable fields, and face similar resistance from customers. We're not in business together, though, because what she does- pain relief therapy- and what I do - mediating disputes between related business partners - don't belong on the same shingle. But we both wonder why so many are willing to end treatment when pain subsides, not continuing into whatever they think wellness might be.  (Read more from Ira Bryck and add comments.)
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