October 18, 2016

Vistage Case Study: Family Business Culture at Macsween of Edinburgh


Jo Macsween, owner and director of the third-generation family-run business Macsween of Edinburgh, is very clear on her organisation’s vision. “We make the best haggis in the world – that’s what unites us all,” she says. “But it’s about the way we do it too – we draw on our roots, our heritage and all that we’ve learned from our predecessors, we have real respect for the environment, and we do things ethically.”

Nevertheless, Macsween is conscious that as a family-run business, she lacks the “external reference” of how other businesses operate – how they embed this sort of culture in their organisations. This is one reason why she joined Vistage, the leadership development and coaching organisation that puts business leaders together to share and resolve common problems and challenges. “It gives me access to other people,” she says.

“Thinking about our core DNA helps us to keep reinventing ourselves without losing the sense of who we are and what’s important,” Macsween adds. “We think we can double the size of the business in five years, but whatever size we reach, I’m confident we can hold on to our core values, our roots, not forgetting where we came from and what are roots are – growth won’t come at the expense of those values.”

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