Final Thoughts on the Austria Family Business Trip

I apologize for taking a bit to get the final entry out, but I would like to relive some of the moments on the trip. We saw a lot of family businesses over our time in Austria, from a waste management/recycling company to a multi-national distribution and logistics company. The trip really makes you think about how different the perspectives can be in a business. Especially in a family business, the culture, attitude, and process can usually be attributed to a single person. Personalities can range from an “overbearing father” type of CEO, who keeps tight control over the firm and drives decisions, to a more team-based leader, who will defer to the general consensus of the board. These personality ranges in the manager/family owners really do make each company unique in its structure. I will admit, my preconception of a family business leader was that of an independent decision maker, who led with a firm conviction. But this trip has taught me that, in preparing for the success of future generations, it is important to include the family in a large portion of the decisions of family ownership.

I’ve met a lot of people on this trip who have developed into new friends. A smaller trip made interacting with everyone possible, which was very refreshing. All of my travels to date have been with what feels like a billion people. We had some good times and laughs, which can probably best be summarized below:

Thank you to Jennifer, Roberta, and Michael Preston for making this such a memorable trip. I hope they do a similar trip for the family business people of CBS in the upcoming years.

Auf wiedersehen!

By: Michael Murnane

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