Choosing a next-generation successor who has progressive ideas and a potentially profound new view of the future is not a decision taken lightly, and it is often a courageous decision for the current leader to make.
As one family CEO in Saudi Arabia expressed during an interview, “The generations coming behind us have a different mindset – a different ecosystem – that isn’t right or wrong, it’s just different. They are inspired by different things, they are fast, machine orientated and deeply involved in social media. To engage their interest as potential successors, there has to be a psychological attachment. It’s important for them to see that their business has a social purpose. That’s what will continue to motivate them.”
A strong sense of purpose is a distinguishing characteristic of family-owned businesses. The leaders who contributed to the study reaffirmed that the strength of their businesses will continue to be built on their commitment to purpose and a strong base of values, while also tapping into the opportunity for transformational business innovations. Those innovations recently introduced by Gen X and Millennial family members in response to COVID-19 are excellent examples of what next generation family members can contribute.
I believe the inter-generational contributions within family businesses are providing many of them with an unmatched competitive advantage. You will find several of their personal stories and company profiles here and in “The courage to choose wisely”.
I encourage you to take the opportunity to explore the experiences and insights they have shared in this article and in the second co-authored article in the series, which will be released within the next 2 weeks. Entitled “The power of women in family business – A generational shift in purpose and influence”, it takes a close-up look at the demographic shifts that are changing the role of women in family businesses and the unique competitive advantages they can deliver.