Getting the Next Generation Ready to Run the Family Business

 by Dr. Patricia A. Frishkoff
Past Director, Austin Family Business Program, Oregon State University

You’ve built a successful business – let’s say it’s a nursery – and you hope to pass it on to the next generation.But you’ve seen succession fail, down the road and across town. So you wonder – why does the transition work in some family businesses, and not in others?As with nursery stock, success grows on strong roots.

Passion.Does the next generation perceive and understand the passion of the senior generation?

We used to visit businesses on our vacation trips when I was a child.That was due partly to our family farm: my Dad and Grandpa knew a lot of people, plus we really couldn’t afford to pay admission to amusement parks. I loved those visits.It was partly about the interesting work that the people did.But, it was more about the performance that the owner gave as he (sometimes she) showed us around.For the eyes, gestures and voices of those owners exuded passion – deep love for the business and their work.  More…

Preparing the Next Generation

Preparing the Next Generation

by Leslie Dashew

Adding Value to the Next Generation

One of the greatest concerns in families who own businesses and families of wealth is how to assure that their assets will add value to their children’s lives–not hurt them. One of the particular challenges in parenting is how to give our children the right opportunities. Too often, we equate giving with gifts, setting things up for our kids, or making opportunities for them. However, these kinds of gifts may, in fact, be taking away opportunities for their growth, not adding to them.

When children don’t learn to use their own muscles (to talk, walk, or work) these muscles atrophy in the same way other “muscles” atrophy when children don’t learn to use them on their own. For example, if children don’t gain the motivation to do for themselves, they have little practice in developing their own competence (and thus their self-esteem), and then they lack a sense of responsibility for themselves or others. So preparing our offspring includes giving them the opportunity to do as much as they can for themselves, with coaching along the way. For many families with whom we work, there is a desire to perpetuate a family legacy. More…