Date posted: October 3, 2017

Having just spent the past week at the Family Business Australia (FBA) National Conference on Hamilton Island I am on the plane heading home with a warm fuzzy feeling that is a combination of business inspiration, spending time with talented, amazing people and having some good old fashioned fun. Something we often forget to have these days. It’s been three full days and nights of wonderfulness so I’ll just share some key highlights.

Community. First off the bat I just have to say the family business community in Australia has such an incredible sense of… family! A group of incredibly successful people, from every type of business you can imagine, but all unified by the passion, warmth, challenges and complexities that is family business. For any family businesses out there not already involved with FBA we recommend you check it out. As a family business ourselves we have been members for 3 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. How can you not love an organisation that has a tradition of the ‘Longest Lunch’ – long in terms of the tables (complete with seat swaps between courses) and also in terms of the 1pm to 5pm time slot.

Challenging norms. We participated in a fantastic workshop with the Corporate Rebels who are travelling the globe challenging the way organisations run so that employees are engaged. Thought they already were engaged? Globally only 13% of the workforce are engaged in their roles, here in Australia we are doing slightly better at 24% but either way it’s a frightening statistic that should give all businesses some food for thought. The Corporate Rebels have identified 8 key habits of some of the world’s most inspirational and progressive businesses. At the extreme end think along the lines of doing away with hierarchy, job titles and job descriptions, moving to radical transparency (from profit through to salaries) and removing almost all rules and procedures. There are plenty of great articles on their blog if you are interested in finding out more.

The science of family business. Globally a lot of research is being done into family businesses, what makes them tick, what makes them successful and what their biggest challenges are. Dr Thomas Schwartz condensed extensive research into some key findings for family businesses. Something I wanted to mention but I’ll save for a full blog post in the coming weeks.

Entrepreneurship. We heard from a number of speakers on the topics of entrepreneurship including the impressive Bernard Salt who argues the case that Australia has benefited from complacent prosperity (we are, as we know, a lucky country) but now we need to lose the entitlement and foster a culture of entrepreneurship. We need to stop being competitive and move away from the ever present tall poppy syndrome. We need to start being open, sharing and lifting each other up for the collective good. Australians are fed up of the big corporates so it’s prime time for family businesses – they are tribal, local and passionate, something the community relates to. You can read more about his presentation in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Human connection. The conference ended with a surprise presenter, the amazing Peter Sharp, a social artist devoting his life to getting people to really connect. We started out hearing about his amazing journey including the train sing-a-long and train dance party experiences he instigated, that have inspired people globally to step outside of their comfort zones and connect with their fellow humans. By the end of the session at the conference he had every person, young and old, united as one huge tribe, joyously dancing, hugging and uninhibited in their connectedness. It was extraordinary.

Awards night. For us at Tiny Hunter the final highlight of the week (if you don’t include the dance floor antics) was seeing one of our oldest and dearest clients scoop the Family Business Australia Entrepreneurship Award. Being a hotly contested category we couldn’t be prouder of Anthony Paech and the Beerenbergteam for their bravery and entrepreneurial spirit in driving business growth over recent years. A journey we feel very privileged to be an ongoing part of.

FBA it’s been great, we are already looking forward to what next year may bring!


Article written by Jodie de Vries from