On 22 September 2011, the Rafael del Pino Foundation, as part of its Master Lecture programme, welcomed John L. Ward, who gave a lecture entitled "The art of family business continuity. Beyond best practices".
With regard to the situation created by the economic recession, John L. Ward believes that family business has provided some lessons: "The advantages of family business - prudence, long-term commitment and diversification - should be studied by all other companies, but I doubt that non-family businesses, especially large listed companies with a large shareholder base, will eventually change their long-term behaviour in the light of the above advantages. Once we are out of the crisis, the focus will again be on achieving short-term profit targets. One of the lessons that family businesses have learned is the great competitive advantage of implementing good governance and preparing the family to thoroughly understand all the nuances of the business. In this way, these difficult times can be put into context and the advantage of good management and independent advice can be enjoyed.
John L. Ward argued that the family business has certain qualities that help it to be more resilient and enable it to better weather the current difficult economic situation: "The first of these qualities lies in the fact that the family business is more conservative. Its balance sheets are consistently stronger than those of other companies; its debt is, on average, half that of equivalent companies in terms of size and areas of activity. Moreover, the rate of profit reinvestment is much higher - it has been for many years. Thus, the available liquidity reserves, which have been built up over time, smooth out financing costs. These capabilities are applicable to a good number of the world's family businesses. The second quality that allows them to face difficult times with a certain advantage is that the family business has an objective, a long-term goal. Many of them have been in difficulties like the current ones before, either in the crises of the early 1990s, the 1980s or even in previous generations. This particular sense of perspective is now a central part of their motivation, as it makes it easier for the family business to take whatever measures are necessary to secure its existence. Together with financial prudence, long-term vision is a clear competitive advantage. The third differentiating factor of the family business is diversification, both in terms of areas of activity and sources of financing. Diversification allows the owners to face the decision-making process with greater security".