Family Business Mediation Video No 45: Lack of Talent in the Family. By Jon Kenfield. Solutionist.

Common Causes of Family Business Conflict & What to Do About Them.

Family Business Mediation Video 45 Lack of Talent in the Family.

• Business founders are often driven individuals. They may be motivated by creative drive, frustration in another job, identified opportunity, need to work, obligation to provide work for family members, or many other possibilities.

• Following generations are usually less driven, mainly because they have a less desperate need to make a business in the first place.

• As businesses grow and evolve, their needs change. They may require more advanced technical, commercial and management skills. Founders, and in-place leaders may develop these skills, or not. Their progeny may develop required skills, or not.

• As families grow through generations, the talent pool in the family may broaden, as business needs increase. When businesses grow strongly, families generally can’t keep up with their needs and have to recruit non-family specialists and professionals to help.

• Some families cling to the belief that some or all leading roles should be occupied by family members – despite this being objectively impractical. This can lead to wrong people in wrong positions in the position – an obvious cause of conflict.

• Start with family values – what does the family actually want; what do individual members want? – to be happy, or to be working in the business?

• Do they work to live, or live to work? Is it a family first, or business first family?

• Once these questions have been worked out to everyone’s satisfaction, a Family Plan can be developed that works towards satisfying everyone’s desires.

• Part of the planning process involves assessing current resources, including personnel resources, and especially family member capabilities and intentions.

• If completed early enough, family members can be educated and trained towards appropriate future roles in the business, preferably from their childhood.

• The Family Plan should be synchronised with the Business Plan. The issue of family talent can then be made a structural discussion, rather than a personal one.

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