As if succession is not a difficult enough topic in its own right, there is the further complication around the role of in-laws. Undoubtedly, in-laws have an impact, either directly through active involvement in the business, or indirectly as a spouse to a shareholder or active family business member.
The role of in-laws needs to be handled sensitively and there is no 'one size fits all' approach.
In this piece, Randel Carlock who is the Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership at INSEAD looks at two different cases but concludes on common ground where it is the core values of the respective families that determines the role and involvement of in-laws.
Two key things that come to mind on a regular basis around this topic, TIME and TRUST.
How a family business manages its in-laws should be decided by its values. How a family business owner hands over the reins to their child or children and how successful the transfer is depends on years of planning. But even those who plan ahead and have “the conversation” with their children about running the enterprise can face challenges. Today more than ever, children of family owners want to spread their wings, some to escape the clutches of the family empire, others simply to gain “real world” experience before they eventually return to the family business. But this leaves questions open as to how long they want to be gone, when they plan to come back and what happens if the owner dies or becomes incapacitated before the transfer has taken place. and one that doesn’t.