Entrepreneur Series - Cultivating a Family Teamwork Culture

Family culture and values play a vital role in shaping how family members approach challenges, which in turn can affect family succession.

For the Cheng and Lo families, the respective founders of Polygroup and Crystal Group, leading Hong Kong-based manufacturers, having unity of vision and sharing common values helps cultivate teamwork and strengthen family ties. It also ensures that everyone is ready to tackle problems head-on.

Family support

Founding the family business with his wife Yvonne in 1970, Kenneth Lo, the owner of a market-leading garment manufacturer, Crystal Group, candidly admitted that the challenge was to leverage ‘irrationality’ at home and ‘rationality’ at work. “These could not be accommodated without my wife’s understanding,” he said.

Like his father, Andrew Lo, current CEO of the Crystal Group relied on his wife’s support to overcome a major setback. “I thought of quitting when I didn't do well and my father wasn’t satisfied with my performance”, he recalled. “I met my wife at that time, and her support inspired me to strive for self-improvement.”

To extend the family partnership, Andrew devised a 15-year succession plan with his younger brother, Howard, whom he considered his natural successor. He related, “I was blessed with the support of a good team from the start. I need to ensure that my brother is given the same opportunity when he takes over the company.”

Build relationships

Paul Cheng’s effort in turning Polygroup – a family-run, diversified manufacturing business – from a small factory into an enterprise worthy of his children’s succession had not gone unnoticed. Seeing it as too much of a burden for his father in his advancing years, Lewis Cheng, Paul’s son and current CEO of Polygroup, felt he should lend a hand. “My father positioned himself as a consultant, offering advice whenever I needed it. Outside of work, we maintained the tradition of timeouts that created a strong bond between family members,” said Lewis.

Acting on the mantra of “If you want to go fast, go alone — if you want to go far, go together,” Lewis extended the family tradition to include regular family dinners, which helped maintain their personal bond while strengthening the close teamwork among siblings and addressed the challenges of managing a family business.

To find out more about building a strong teamwork culture in the family business, watch the Lo family share their insights.

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