GLAS stands for the Global Life Alignment System and has been designed so that it can be delivered in a number of ways to suit your needs. There are 13 main elements to GLAS along with a range of tools all designed for impact.
FIB uses GLAS as a framework and series of tools and techniques to help enable those in and around family businesses.
GLAS is an open and collaborative system built with multiple layers. The reason that this framework is so powerful within family businesses is because it considers the whole of your life, the past, present and future and empowers you to consider a new and improved lens through which you view all of these elements.
Family Business through the GLAS lens
There are lots of amazing ideas and tools to use in business, for well-being, to be happier, understand personalities, be healthier, wealthier, have better relationships and so on and yet we have an increasing issue in society with disconnect, lack of compassion and people feeling overwhelmed.
Dani Saveker says:
“When I think back to my direct, and later indirect, experience of family businesses I think you begin to see a little more of the picture. Family businesses are, in essence, the test bed for life. These businesses have something of everything all housed within a pressure cooker. What I mean is that they include all of the usual business challenges from marketing to culture and from productivity to financials. They have workforces, teams, legislation, customers and suppliers and face the same issues as any other business.
However, in a family business you have additional dimensions creating a paradox – the things that make them so versatile and resilient as well as delicate and precarious. Family businesses (inside and outside of them) are often littered with mine fields and just one wrong move can have enormous implications.
Family businesses, even in the founding generation, can be pulled and pushed by emotions, agendas, perceptions and beliefs that are far deeper than their non-family counter parts. Having spent a great deal of time understanding and developing methodologies to provide support to family enterprises I have a view that the current thinking is possibly out of date. “
She believes that there are many experts in the field of family business consulting providing highly valuable and necessary work based on the Three-Circle Family Business Model (developed at Harvard Business School by Renato Tagiuri and John Davis in the 1970s) but it’s important to understand where GLAS came from and why it’s so important for the future for family businesses.
The Three Circle Model (Tagiuri and Davis, Harvard Business School) considers the three overlapping components of family business as OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT and FAMILY.
It considers the variety of hats that those in and around family businesses can wear and how tensions can sit based on these three areas. When launched in the early 80s this was the first time people looked at thee various roles of those in and around family businesses.
Our view is that the traditional support that exists for family businesses is not keeping up with the pace of change we are all experiencing in the world.
What family businesses also highlight is the impact of multi generations coming today which actually happens in every family all the time. They also have a range of other situations, requirements and considerations including wealth, ownership, governance, human capital, non employed family, relationship dynamics and behaviors and as anyone with experience of family businesses will know this list is considerably longer.
It’s possibly worth highlighting that family businesses account for about 90% of the world enterprises and in the UK, 2 in every 3 private businesses is a family business. They are vital to the world’s economy and so there are a great many examples of the challenges that can exist and why support for them is so vital.
- Family has changed
The first things about this category is that it’s worth us questioning the definition, and understanding, of what a family actually comprises of. Once we considered a nuclear family as Mum, Dad and 2.4 children with a dog. Families used to live in close proximity and will have been brought up in small, close communities. This is not the case now. We have a far greater scope for what we see as family. These include:
- Same sex
- Remote families
- In laws
- Close friends
GLAS changes Family to RELATE
- Ownership is external
We love conversations with people in family businesses that have never considered that ownership is an external factor and separate to being in the business. Views of investing can be very personal and be linked to legacy, future plans and much more. If we considered that it was indeed an external factor to the business (in other words you own something from outside of it and do not need to be part of it), surely we should look at other possible things that sit ‘outside’ of the business. This a vital missing part of the Three Circles because we can then look at impact, opportunities and other things that we interact with. In a fast changing world this is surely essential – great family businesses do this intuitively and seize opportunities creating longevity by being able to stay relevant and externally aware.
We can include the following examples for external world:
- Industry specific
GLAS changes Ownership to EXTERNAL
- Management is only part of future proofing
There is a view, by some, that succession is about planning for the next or future leader of a business. The focus is very much on the management of the business rather than all of the other things that can cause challenges and issues to the future proofing of the business. It’s also fair to say that we often don’t just have one business interest – and even if we did, how does this allow for life once we’re no longer part of the business?
Increasingly people have portfolios of activities and interests. We see this area being vital for everyone including a mother raising her children and when they’ve grown up and left home, creating the empty nest syndrome, she is lost without purpose or knowing how to spend her time.
Just focusing on management also overly simplifies how we spend time even in business. In Dani’s family in addition to the business, they also had a charitable fund that ran a care home for the elderly. Many family businesses, and certainly those within them, have property portfolios, investments and other interest which can include looking after their own elderly family who of course have a greater life expectation now. Raising children, being a school governor, making holiday plans, playing sports, losing weight or going to the gym are just some of the activities that are going round our heads. Add to this our measure of success and results for each one – what does that look like, mean and imply? So let’s refocus and rather than just looking at Management, consider what we do:
- Roles and responsibilities
GLAS changes Management to DO
4. Identity is the missing source
So having looked at the 3 main categories through a new lens there are two more we need to add, the first being identity. The most common thing we hear in family businesses – said implicitly or explicitly is “I don’t know who I am”. This is a critical element that is missed from the 3 Circle Model. Understanding the individuals and who they are is vital as it forms the source of all relationships.
GLAS adds AM
5. Purpose creates an anchor and structure
This is the anchor element and the one that gives fulfilment and focus, resilience and an ability to connect. Without everyone understanding this element for themselves, together and for the business, there is no structure and there is no strength.
The brief description of these 5 principal elements are just the start of GLAS – talk to a member of the team to really understand – and sample an experience – of the power that GLAS can offer.
GLAS adds WHY
GLAS is the greatest gift you can give yourself, your children, your clients, your business and your legacy.