Understanding Family-Business Across the Cultural Spectrum with Masoud Golshani-Shirazi

Nov 11, 2020

Masoud Golshani-Shirazi is the founder and Managing Director of On Target Consultancy, a company that helps companies transform their structure and develop the right talent pool strategy. With an impressive background in organizational change, leadership, talent development, and HR strategy, Masoud also boasts the unique experience of having worked in 23 countries around the world.

The scope of his industry experience is as varied as the countries that he’s worked in and includes telecom, retail, energy, manufacturing, fashion, restaurants, and banking. In these capacities, Masoud has also worked for large, privately-owned family businesses like the Butane Group out of Dubai and Alyasra Fashion in Kuwait.

As a first-generation immigrant living in the UK, Masoud understands the value of hard work and the power of listening to different cultural perspectives. His global outlook has helped him operate across diverse locations and levels within organizations, including blue-chip companies.

With a proven and consistent record of business results delivery, Masoud sees it as both his hobby and his job to help organizations minimize their risk while improving their sustainability and growth.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Masoud’s experience as a first-generation immigrant and how this affected his work ethic.
  • Hear about Masoud’s corporate background and areas of expertise.
  • Exploring the differences between different large family-run businesses.
  • How the differences between people are greater than they are between cultures.
  • Why many business problems are consistent across the cultural spectrum.
  • The challenge of adapting to another culture in order to apply the correct solutions.
  • Understanding where a family-run business sits in its lifecycle.
  • Difficulties in scaling a business and avoiding an ‘us and them’ scenario.
  • Corporate versus family environments and how the owner’s family impacts business culture.
  • Masoud shares his thoughts on what factors make for the strongest family-run business.
  • Retaining non-family employees by involving them in decision-making processes.
  • Why there’s a difference between nepotism and supporting your community.
  • How younger generations can cause a company to stagnate.
  • What it looks like for a founder to value their family brand over the money they make.
  • How experiencing hardship and other cultures leads to maturity.
  • Balancing an incredible family culture with more corporate systems of governance.
  • Building roles for family members based on their interests and skill levels.
  • The advantages of gender diversity and having women leading family businesses.



“Being a first-generation immigrant has a big imprint on your attitude to work and everything in your life.” — Masoud Golshani-Shirazi [0:02:48]

“It’s a risk to bring a cold corporate person into a family environment, where the value system and the beliefs of that particular family are the culture of that company.” — Masoud Golshani-Shirazi [0:18:49]

“We always talk about authentic leaders. And family businesses, because of the culture of the family and the founder, are naturally authentic. Most corporates can’t compete.” — Masoud Golshani-Shirazi [0:26:25]

“Gender diversity brings much more than just politically correct behavior. You have less chance of getting some of the worst stereotypes that you’ve got in traditional male leadership.” — Masoud Golshani-Shirazi [0:46:25]


Facebook Posts:

“Having worked in companies in many different countries, it’s generally true that the deviation and difference within a culture is always greater than the differences between the cultures.” — Masoud Golshani-Shirazi [0:07:14]

“Every company that I’ve worked in has told me to be sensitive to their culture. But a Saudi employee has the same needs for clarity, for appreciation, for having the feedback and clarity about what the deal is with them as a Japanese employee does. A as a Swiss does, as an Irish, Spanish or anyone else has.” — Masoud Golshani-Shirazi [0:08:45]

“The Achilles’ heel for many businesses is arrogance. That’s true of big corporations as it’s true for the family. A lot of their family business may not listen because of their need to show that they’re in charge.” — Masoud Golshani-Shirazi [0:27:32]


Additional Resources:

Website: www.ontargetconsultancy.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/golshanim1/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Golshanim


Links Mentioned:

Butane Group

Alyasra Fashion

Arcadia Group

Vodafone Group

Aujan Group Holding

Yaohan Company

Wadia Group


Sheikh Adel



Merrill Lynch


Sharon Spano:

Website: sharonspano.com

Book: thetimemoneybook.com

Events: sharonspano.com/workshops

Contact: sharon@sharonspano.com

Twitter: twitter.com/SharonSpano