Building Next Gen Communication Skills

We often hear comments from the Next Generation family business members of an enterprising family that indicate they do not see opportunities to engage: “no one cares what we think, no one listens to me, they do not think I know enough to contribute.” Leading Generation members of those same family businesses may say: “the Next Gens just aren’t stepping up like we hoped.” Creating space for Next Gens to communicate in a variety of contexts is a significantly untapped opportunity for their growth and development. These contexts include discussions within groups and in one-on-one interactions with other family members and family enterprise stakeholders.

Many family business owners look at succession as an event – a day in the life of their family business when they hand the reins to their children, nieces and nephews. Succession planning is one critical piece of a larger vision for continuity but it needs careful planning to achieve the best possible plan.

Designing a comprehensive plan for the smooth transition of leadership, ownership, governance and family assets is the basic norm of successful succession planning. Family members, management and shareholders need to feel confident that a strong foundation has been built for future success that empowers the next generation and beyond.

Every family business transition is different, its challenges unique. Today’s generation may have trouble letting go, and the next generation may have trouble grasping the responsibilities of leadership and ownership. Growth and diversity in ownership can create tensions that keep family from aligning on important decisions. And the enterprise must keep adapting to the pressures of a fast-moving marketplace.

Successfully navigating the transition of a family business means answering complex questions such as ;

  • What do we want the business to look like in the future ?
  • What will the business need from future leaders and owners?
  • What are our children’s expectations about their future in the business?
  • Who is best suited to lead the family business ?
  • What training, resources and accountability will the next generation need?
  • What changes might be needed to our ownership structure, policies and governance?


The prospect of making the transition can feel overwhelming. Successful continuity planning begins early to provide future leaders with adequate time and resources to prepare. It reduces conflict around decision making and gives management confidence in the process. And it preserves family relationships that are the heart of the business.


( All factual and statistical information presented in this blog has been obtained from an extract of an article from the Family Business Consulting Group, Chicago ) Follow us on our Facebook page and Family Business Office website at

At the Family Business Office we can offer you assistance in dealing with family business succession planning issues through incentives supporting advisory and mediation services. Contact us today on