The common model for growth of a business or product is in the shape of an "S" (lying down). At the beginning there is strong growth, which eventually culminates in a period of stagnation and consequent decline. Hence the "curse" of the three generations of family businesses: "rich father, noble son, poor grandson".

A generative family looks for opportunities to create "S" curves or extend existing ones. Innovation and entrepreneurship are no longer the exclusive tools of the founding generation, and with each new generation the family reinvents itself, improving and adapting its portfolio to the demands of its environment. To do so, family members who want to remain committed to the family's mission are refined, and the shares of those who want to go in a new direction are bought.

For an entrepreneurial family to become a generative family it will have to work the cycle of resilience, that is prepare and anticipate, commit and decide, and finally redefine and renew. This is a very difficult job and can be very emotionally tough, since you have to show the importance of change to people who have been very successful and don't always see the need for it. Additionally, even if they understand the need, you have to decide how you are going to change, you have to listen to everyone, give them a voice, foster inclusion in the decision making process. The reward can be the salvation of the family, since during this whole process disagreements and difficulties are talked over and resolved, and the family comes out stronger and more united.

 

The Caramulo Museum: Resilience as a way of life

At the beginning of the 20th century, sanatoriums were refuges for tuberculosis patients, where they were completely isolated from the rest of society. Caramulo, due to its location, was indicated, given its altitude and nature, for the construction of these health centers. Jer├│nimo de Lacerda, a physician, created in this region the largest health resort in the country and in the Iberian Peninsula, in 1921.

After World War II, a new treatment arrives that can cure 95% of patients, and with this discovery, the death of the senatorial resorts is announced. This could have been the end of this family as a business family. However, Dr. Jerónimo de Lacerda's sons, Abel and João, opted for an entrepreneurial side, seeking alternative ways to build and expand their family legacy. Thus arose the project to remove the connotation of illness from Caramulo and convert this beautiful place into a cultural and artistic attraction.

This is how the Caramulo Museum emerges, a building with the most modern concepts of museology, capable of exhibiting the art collection consisting of more than 500 pieces of painting, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, and tapestries, ranging from ancient Egypt to Picasso. Next door is the first and most important Automobile Museum in the country, with 100 cars and motorcycles on display. But these are not the only initiatives carried out to turn Caramulo into a cultural attraction. Caramulo Experience Center, Caramulo Motorfestival, Jornal dos Clássicos and Salão Motorclássico, among others, compose a diverse but authentic portfolio.

Working the cycle of resilience allowed this generative family to anticipate, act, and redefine their path. The Museum is located in Caramulo, 300 km from Lisbon, but has already been visited by more than one and a half million people.

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Published in 
21/10/2022
 in the area of 
Business & Strategy

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