Friday, April 11, 2008

Family Business - Where Family Is Always Before Business

eClips was at Babson College this Monday to interview Lee Man Tat and several distinguished members of the Lee Kum Kee group - an enterprise which produces and distributes several renowned ethnic Chinese food brands. eClips Media Production Manager Jamie Kalousdian, supporter of "eClips Asia", Johnson Chi Fan Cheng, and I met the group on Tuesday and we captured some valuable insight from Lee family’s business.


(Pictured above: eClips Media Production Manager, Jamie Kalousdian with Lee Kum Kee executives)

Lee Kum Kee is the industry leader in production and distribution of authentic Chinese sauces. The organization was started as a family business in 1888. With over 100 years of history, Lee Kum Kee’s family passed down the business and developed the best Chinese sauces for different people around the world. Lee Man Tat took over the role as chairman in 1972 and built a renowned brand of ethnic Chinese enterprise which marked a new chapter of this reputable business. In recognition of his skill, he was recently inducted into the Babson College Academy of Distringuished Entrepreneurs.


During his interview with eClips, Lee Man Tat shared his ideas on managing a successful family business. To him, family is always before business. A business can only thrive when the family members are in harmony. We were surprised to learn that the Lee family established a family court with its own family constitutions to resolve family conflicts, because to him, problems arise when the family members are in conflict with each other. When Mr Lee was asked what makes him proud of most during his years of managing the enterprise, he told us nothing moves him more than the fact that he has been happily married with his wife Choi May Ling for 54 years. Mr Lee kept emphasizing that to see his children happily married and his grandchildren growing up healthily were the major driving forces for his business.

Lee Man Tat encourages his children to focus on education and acquire some work experiences with other enterprises before working for the family business. He firmly believes that when the entire family work together with the same goals in minde, the family business blossoms.

We will be posting the interview with Lee Man Tat in the next week and will provide a link to his comments here. In the meantime, click here to see some clips on the challenges facing family businesses.

By Rui Zhang
Rz53@cornell.edu

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In mexican society it happens all the time, family is the most important.