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Does it belong to us?

By Family GovernanceAugust, 2023March 18th, 20242 min read

(no spoilers) There’s a wonderful scene toward the end of the final season of the popular TV series Ted Lasso where team owner Rebecca Welton attends a meeting where a “Super League” is pitched. She’s the only female at a board table dominated by old white men, and was rightly apprehensive about even attending the meeting for a host of reasons.

But she speaks up against the plan, which is motivated entirely by its potential for huge profits. “Just because we own these teams doesn’t mean they belong to us.”

This succinctly speaks to the higher purpose of stewardship rather than ownership, and to the notion of considering other stakeholders in an enterprise. A sporting club is often an enterprise with a long history, and one that is expected to endure well beyond the tenure of whomever happens to own it or be on the board.

Whether a sporting club, a non-profit, a family enterprise or generational family wealth, the common thread is the intended longevity relative to the generation who find themselves in charge. In all of those cases, the enterprise does not belong to the owners or directors. Their role is to steward, and eventually step aside for someone else, leaving things in better shape than they found it.

Sometimes in families, it takes an audacious rising generation that might break with previous norms to remind everyone of this important principle.

Consider This: How do the incumbent generation in your family see their roles as leaders (or owners or directors or appointors)? How do the rising generation see their current roles and future roles? What discussions have been had across generations on these topics?

Further reading:

Here is more on reading on family business governance.

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