The headlines are everywhere – a high percentage of family businesses have no formal succession plan – and then the story launches into the usual tropes about estate planning, life insurance, choosing a successor, etc.
But maybe we should be turning this upside down? After all, by necessity, a family business succession involves two generations – the incumbent and the rising – and so much of the thinking about succession focusses on (a) the perspective of the incumbent generation, and (b) the legal, structural and procedural.
What does succession look like from the rising generation? Are they plagued with self-doubt or burdened with high expectations? What of their own personal dreams and needs to individuate? While they may be chosen/groomed from a young age to do the job, it’s very important that they are taking it on for the right reasons, and have the space to make the role truly ‘theirs’.
And just like company mergers most commonly fail on culture, family business successions are seriously put at risk if there are family “elephants in the room” that are not dealt with. Issues that might seem petty (especially to parents) can fester over many years, and explode once the incumbent generation have stepped aside or passed away.
Consider This: Is the rising generation in your family business interested in taking over? What are their dreams and aspirations (both about the family business, and in general)? Have you discussed this with them early in your own succession planning process?
Further reading: https://www.kiplinger.com/business/small-business/603023/what-role-should-your-children-play-in-your-business-succession-plan, https://www.campdenfb.com/article/how-next-generation-can-conquer-their-fear-and-anxiety-family-business-succession, https://ifamagazine.com/article/psychology-of-family-governance-appreciating-the-importance-of-family-dynamics-in-succession-planning/, https://www.saltwire.com/nova-scotia/business/exit-planning-family-matters-have-to-be-ironed-out-before-business-succession-273087/
Actionable Generational Wealth Succession:
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