Career Planning for the Next Gen
If you want your kids to value the opportunity of joining the family business and to make the most of their abilities, then you have to take this seriously. A little effort and thought will make all the difference.
- It’s in the blood. Don’t underestimate the mentoring role that business owning parents play in demonstrating and living the culture of ownership. It is the accumulation of parents’ discussions over the dinner table, the observation of effort and hours worked, witness to planning and strategy on the fly and living the image of the family as business owners. It is the worry, risk and reward.
- It’s not for everyone. Children have their own paths to follow. You may hope that they will all join the family business, but some will never do it. Some do it reluctantly and others change their minds and may join later. Open discussion about the opportunity, but not the expectation, may be the key to meeting their needs. It may be that none of your kids will want to join. Sad, but it happens.
- Not all kids can be the next leader. Every person has different skills and aptitudes. Kids can join the business as junior or unskilled workers… and stay that way forever. Push them too far beyond this point and you might just set them up for failure.
- The silver spoon problem. It is great for school & uni aged kids to have holiday and part time jobs working for the family business. All part of the family business experience. But we have seen kids then join the business too early and without outside experience. Existing staff can see them as spoilt and useless, even if that is not the case. Far better to send them out into the real world and get them to make mistakes elsewhere.
- Work for the best. The best employees come with a background of working for great employers. They learn how to do things right, the importance of leadership, good policies and procedures and the value of culture. There is nothing wrong with you helping find your kids good work experience with colleagues who also run great family businesses.
- Talk to them. Have visionary discussions with the kids to help them understand their path (inside the business or not), the role of (initial & ongoing) education and the benefits of being the next gen. Match that up with their (fledgling) goals for the future.
In the end you want them to be their best and be happy. Wherever that may be.