“Scenario planning can scale,” noted Kevin Kajiwara, Co-president of Teneo Intelligence, adding that family businesses have an advantage, as generational thinking is often more successful over time than public companies reacting quarter to quarter.
Alex Krijger, Founder and Managing Partner of Krijger & Partners, advises leaders to “think the unthinkable” as they incorporate scenarios into business strategies by using a variety of data sources that are as broad as possible: “Pay attention to news from other countries instead of reading Trump tweets.”
The volatility of the US President underscored how much has changed in a short period of time. “The US used to have a bipartisan foreign policy,” said Prof. Jan Peter Balkenende of Erasmus University, calling for increased European leadership as the Pax Americana seemingly dissolves in the face of trade wars and rising nationalism.
“Europe needs a new mission,” Krijger said. “Democracy is fragile — the social contract in some respects is broken.”
Balkenende said that Europe — and family businesses — should pursue a positive agenda that echoes the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. At the top of that list? Fighting climate change, pursuing a circular economy and following a moral purpose.
3. Guide the next generation to shape the future
Such goals are especially important to next generation family business owners. They are already making an impact on their respective companies, and they’re expected to do more in the future as they pursue diversification and shared purpose. For example, in the next 30 years, US$6 trillion will be shifted from one generation to the other in family business.
Lady Saoirse Herbert, whose family’s ancestral home, Highclere Castle, was used for Downton Abbey, has played an active role in her family’s approach to diversification. “We’re looking for new ways to engage with the millennial demographic,” she said. “We’re trying to balance heritage with a global modern brand.”