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Bringing the Next Generation into the Family Business

The most successful family businesses are aware that it takes much more than good intentions and talented and engaged offspring to maintain that level of success in the future.  Creating a next generation development program can go a long way toward ensuring a positive future for the company you and yours have worked so hard to see prosper.

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The most successful family businesses are aware that it takes much more than good intentions and talented and engaged offspring to maintain that level of success in the future.  Creating a next generation development program can go a long way toward ensuring a positive future for the company you and yours have worked so hard to see prosper.

This article was originally posted on the Patriot Ledger website and can be viewed by clicking here

There comes a time in every family-owned business when thoughts for the company’s future can no longer be placed on the back burner. Succession planning must be carefully considered, with top priority given to allowing the next generation the freedom and time to carve out their own paths and make the best use of their abilities.

All too often, the line of succession is drawn in too straight and narrow lines. Just because he/she is the oldest offspring doesn’t necessarily mean their talents align with being the future CEO. Next generation family-business staff should be involved in multiple roles—particularly those that cannot be outsourced, such as board membership, heading the family foundation and even administrative work.

Chances are good that family members transitioning into the business are entering with work experiences of their own…and may also be harboring a few personal issues from childhood. Siblings/family members in line to run a family-owned business need to become acquainted with each other in their new workplace environment and have a clear understanding of their roles within the business.

When integrating adult children into the family business it’s essential for the next generation of leaders to find their own voice, so to speak. What are their key objectives? Is it growth? New product lines? Eventual sale? This voice, however, must be a collective one. Conflicting owner interests can lead to the demise of a company.

The most successful family businesses are aware that it takes much more than good intentions and talented and engaged offspring to maintain that level of success in the future. Creating a next generation development program can go a long way toward ensuring a positive future for the company you and yours have worked so hard to see prosper. Such a program should focus on several key objectives, including business ownership skills and competencies, company principles and values, and a thorough understanding of the company assets and other financials. Outside experts versed in leading such a program can be of great value.

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