Thursday, February 21, 2013

What will the Next Generation say?

Many founders of businesses who have the intent of passing the business to their children find it difficult to develop a plan and a process for the development of the next generation and the subsequent transition of the business to the next generation.

The founder’s heart is generally in the right place in their desire for the next generation to take over the business, make the right decisions, and accept the responsibility. Statements and comments frequently made by the senior generation may include why don’t they tell me what they want to do; what do they want; why won’t they just step up and take responsibility, or what do they expect of us?

In subsequent conversations with the next generation, they state, why doesn’t Dad / Mom just tell us what they want, which one of us will be president, when will they retire, or what will they do when they retire?

What was intriguing in those conversations was the fact that in most cases the next generation was often not given opportunities to learn how to make critical long-term strategic decisions and did not have / or participate in family council meetings to learn how to analyze both family and business issues. In some situations the next generation did not have the opportunity to learn how to operate the business.

It is critical for the senior generation to consciously and specifically help the next generation grow. The next generation needs to gain the expertise, experience, mentoring, tacit knowledge, passion, and internal drive to continue building the family legacy. The next generation needs to hear praise, encouragement, appropriate guidance and the confidence of the senior generation. When the proper plans, processes, and guidance is in place by the senior leadership, the next generation can continue building the legacy.

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, 'We did this ourselves.'"

— Lao-Tse

 What have you / are you doing to prepare the next generation?

What will the next generation say?

In many situations the help of an outside facilitator can help guide the process. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please email me.            

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Really?     Trapped??
“While running a business every day with family members can be rewarding, it can also be fraught with unique stresses and ambiguous roles that non-family employees and leaders never face,” says Michael A. Klein, PsyD. “Relatively little attention has been paid so far to the common mismatch between individual interests, needs and abilities and a person’s role in their family business.

For some individuals, working in a family business can be an incredible gift.  For others, the family business is a prison, without any chance of parole.  For those who are feeling trapped in the family business, ownership of the business is more burden than pleasure.  The freedom that their family business allows is overshadowed by a lack of business process and clear structure.  Having their name on the door is not worth being “on call” 24/7, or never being able to really take a vacation.

Sometimes it is easy to know that we are trapped…we feel it.  However, other times…

He compares the situation to arranged marriages: “When parents decide or pressure their children, consciously or unconsciously, into working in the family business, it's the same as telling them who they must marry—these decisions might be best for the family, but are rarely made, if ever, in the best interest of the individual.”

Read Dr. Klein’s White Paper and join The Network of Family Businesses for a virtual educational Webinar on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 02:30 PM EST, with Dr. Michael A. Klein.

Michael Klein, PsyD. is a business consultant and author of the book Trapped in the Family Business®. He holds a doctorate in psychology.  Michael works as a consultant, facilitator, and speaker for family businesses and their advisors providing assistance in the hiring and development of leaders, managers, and employees. He has over 15 years of experience working in industries including manufacturing, insurance, healthcare, construction, financial services, education, pharmaceuticals, real estate, and entertainment. Michael is member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). More information is available at: and

Registration to join The Network of Family Businesses and be eligible for the On-Line Educational Seminar is available at:

For additional information email: