5 Ways FamBiz Rising Gens Can Prepare
People in and around family businesses everywhere spend lots of time worrying about the rising generation of the family, wondering if and when they’ll ever be “ready” to take over from their parents.
There are as many variations of the situation as there are families and businesses, but there are some things that many have in common.
Those who are not content to just “wait their turn” can do a lot more than simply “be patient”.
With that in mind, here are…
“5 Ways FamBiz Rising Gens Can Prepare”
A mentor is usually someone older than the mentee, typically by more than a decade (and often two or three decades older).
The most important detail for a rising generation family business mentor is that they NOT be the parent, or any family member who is ultimately their boss.
A mentor can be from within the company, or from an outside organization, and will have some life and career experience that can be shared, on an occasional basis, over lunch, coffee or by phone or Skype.
Create and Lead a Project
Up-and-coming family members in a business often have difficulty carving out their own leadership abilities, separate from those of their parents.
Creating their own project, either within their department, or as something new and intrapreneurial, is a way for them to show that they are able to make something happen on their own.
Of course they need to do more than just conceive an idea, and actually lead the necessary steps to do the work and bring it to a stage where the project can be deemed an accomplishment.
Work on Sibling Unity
Unless the person is an only child, they will need to continue to deal with their sibling relationships for many decades to come.
Whether their siblings are working in the business or not, and even if they seem to display no interest in the business, those relationships should not ever be taken for granted.
Especially when there are siblings who never work for the family company, it behooves the ones who do to continually over-communicate what’s going on.
This should be done as “matter-of-factly” as possible, and never as bragging about one’s accomplishments or complaining about how tough it is to work for the parents.
Siblings may not be part of the business circle, but they are always part of the family circle, and don’t forget that they’re likely long-term ownership circle partners too.
Build Your Network
While it is very important to get to know the people from outside the company who currently deal with the leading generation, from bankers, to customers and suppliers, having their own network is also beneficial.
Joining peer groups and making sure that they develop connections in their own age group will pay dividends down the road.
When their turn comes to take the lead on things, they’ll want to be able to call on their own contacts and people that they trust, and these relationships take time to develop.
It’s never too early to begin to cultivate a network of people you know and can trust.
Round Yourself Out
Most people come into the family business from a certain specialty like finance, accounting, or marketing.
It is great to have a big strength on which to build your career, but the higher up the organisational ladder you go, the more that you can be a “generalist”, the better.
So if they’re known for their skills in one particular area, it may be a good time to work on building some skills and getting experience in another area where they’re currently less strong.
Once they get to the top, they’ll need to be able to properly relate to everyone, from a position of strength.
And Don’t Do This
The five ideas above are some ways that they can begin to take important and useful steps to ensure an eventual smooth transition.
Here is what they probably want to avoid.
- Complaining to anyone who’ll listen that the current leaders are hanging around too long.
- Whining that nobody takes them seriously
- Bad-mouthing key employees
- Being a part of “the problem” rather than bringing solutions
- Displaying work habits that make them appear entitled
There are plenty of positive things they can do while they wait, and that includes some of the ideas outlined above.