How do you best prepare the next generation?
This is a question I often get asked. It is also one of the main areas of concerns for families, family businesses and family offices.
I have listed below some of the options you can choose from:
- a. Get them involved as soon as possible
- b. Provide them with coaching and/or skills training
- c. Rely on the governance mechanisms this/earlier generations have put in place
- d. Let nature take its course
However, I think there are some other factors to consider.
Consequence - There must be 'consequence' in the next genner's life. They must have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Too much money too early will have a detrimental impact.
Responsibility - Do not necessarily give them responsibility for running part of the business or office to get them to mature, but do build in some personal responsibility for their lives.
Mindset - Ensure that they have a 'growth mindset'. A fixed mindset is very damaging and will not help with the next genner's growth, development and preparation.
Know Yourself - The next-gen need to understand themselves better. They need to know where their strengths, weaknesses and blind spots are. Without that knowledge, they will trip up many times, which could in time impact their self-esteem.
Experiences - Get some experiences. Much different life and work experiences will help shape a next genner's knowledge of themselves, improve their skills and assist them work out what they want to do and what they do not want to do with their lives. Some of those experiences, need to take them out of their comfort zone. It is when they are out of their comfort zone that they see an improvement in their skills.
Skills - They need to get skills; a broad range of life and general core competencies initially. Over time they need to learn specific skills which are relevant to the role that they are to play. If they can get some certified qualifications as well, this will bring credibility as well to outsiders.
Interests - Next Genners must follow their interests. There is no point them spending their lives doing something that they do not like or enjoy doing. Everybody has in his or her armoury - Choice. They must learn to use it. Sometimes, though, as mentioned earlier comes responsibility. They might well have to step up to the plate and play a part in the family office or business. That is the 'card they have been dealt' in some respects. That duty might be something that they are reluctant to take on. However, they must remember it was the office or business that gives them the life that they now lead.
Achievement - Whatever a next gender does with their life, they should look to achieve. The achievement will bring personal satisfaction and heighten their self-esteem.
Make good decisions - They must learn to make good decisions in everything that they do, whether that is in their life or their business life. Good decision-making is driven by some factors. One of those is personal well-being. Are they eating well, sleeping well and keeping fit or are they staying up all night, eating junk food, doing drugs and sitting around all day on their X-Box? The Family's founder has made more good decisions than bad decisions, resulting in vast wealth accumulation. We do not know whether the next gen can do the same. What we do know is what can impact their decision-making. Personal stress is one of the biggest factors. An unstable personal environment will affect their work decision-making. We see that very clearly with elite athletes when things go wrong in their personal lives.
These are just a small number of things that you can do to prepare the next generation for their future ahead.
At AH Loder Advisers, we run workshops for families and the next generation. We also work one to one with the next generation, providing a mentoring service. We can provide help if you are looking for it.