Global Family Business Survey 2016

The missing middle: Bridging the strategy gap in family firms

The missing middle: where is the strategy that links the current state of family businesses to their long term goals?

A glimpse of the Survey's key findings

The challenge is in the middle: having a strategic plan that links where the business is now to the long term and where it could be. This is what we are referring to as the ‘missing middle’.


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Realising personal and business goals are not without challenges. Singapore’s family owners anticipate the top challenges facing them in the next five years to be:

Singapore highlights at a glance

Navigating the gaps and challenges with a clear strategic plan

The digital and innovation challenge

  • Charting the future direction of the business with a strategic plan can help determine the range of skills and experience needed to achieve continual innovation in the digital age.
  • Think beyond the immediate demands of day-to-day business and develop and informed view of what the picture will look like in two, five or ten years.
    • Understand trends that drive change, assess products that are vulnerable to new technology

Professionalising the family – the succession challenge

Succession planning is a major factor in addressing the ‘missing middle’ – in enabling continuity and aligning the goals of both the family and the business.

  • A smooth transition from one generation to the next takes into account succession planning for ownership and leadership.
  • Communicate and engage with the next generation. What will it mean for a next generation family member to:
    • Own and manage the business or
    • Own but not manage the business?

Professionalising the family – governance and conflict mechanisms

Family conflict management is not only integral to the survival of the business, but also to the survival of the family. Singapore lags behind in this area with 57% of family businesses having one mechanism to deal with conflict, far below the global average of 82%. Questions family owners need to consider:

  • Are there rules or guidelines within the owner’s family for dealing with family/business issues?
  • How do owners, management and shareholders interact with one other?
  • Are these three stakeholder groups clear of their roles and responsibilities?

Contact us

Ng Siew Quan

Ng Siew Quan

Asia Pacific Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Business

Tel: +65 9726 9880

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