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‘Succession’: Love & Legacy

By Family Conflict ResolutionJune, 2023March 18th, 20242 min read

(spoiler alert) Plenty has been written about the popular TV series Succession and the lessons that can be learned for real-life family business succession; my goal is to convey something others have overlooked.

With a sale of the operating business on the cards, in theory the Roy kids could have each walked away with a large pot of cash, and opened up a family office and created whatever life they wanted. But this was not explored at all in the series. Rather, they were jockeying to either keep control of the business or become the CEO once it was sold. Why?

What they really wanted wasn’t money, or even the choices that money brings. They wanted the love of their father (which they never received) and in its absence, to be acknowledged as the torch bearer of his legacy by their siblings and others. Their attachment to the business was socioemotional wealth – the non-financial aspects of the business needs such as identity, influence, and perpetuating the family dynasty.

Jay Hughes put it well: “Founders create wealth, but heirs create legacies”.

Consider This: What is the emotional attachment of family members to the family’s operating assets? How does this attachment vary between generations (e.g. founders vs G3)? What legacy do the rising generation in your family aspire to leave?

Further reading:

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