Some great advice in this piece that examines the role of the next generation in the family firm in the context of the relationship between siblings.
In fact, "As early as can be done, siblings who know of their pending future should take control of dictating and steering how their relationship should function with one another and within the context of running a business together. They should focus on building their own sense of camaraderie, appreciation and obligation toward one another, therefore minimising the impact of whatever predetermined expectations are bestowed onto them."
All too often the issues of siblings revolves around the selection of the next leader, creating a stand off between siblings as they fight for a role, strive to beat each other and to win favour with their parents too. There are some great examples of businesses where siblings operate successfully side by side and, sadly, others where they do not.
Competition can be a healthy thing but there is always a risk of causing rifts in the family, something that nobody involved in a family firm ever wants, or sets out to create.
Creating an open and honest dialogue, where the views of siblings are explored, the 'playing field' is fully known by one and all, there is total respect and understanding for the strengths of each other and the needs of the job going forward, and there is a greater chance of avoiding some of the clashes and challenges that we hear so much about when pitting siblings against one another.
Above all, siblings are only being given a shot at running the family firm because there is a family firm in the first place and the priority for all concerned has to be the appointment of the right person to meet the ever changing needs of the family business as it strives to remain current and relevant to all the stakeholders.
Fighting inhouse and sibling rivalry can cause deeper issues, resentment and ultimately lead to the 'eye being taken off the real need' and that is focusing on running the business.
Nobody will say it is easy, but living the family values that are espoused such as integrity, respect and honesty can make one hell of a positive difference in the long run!
Past should not be prologue; the history in how heirs have been chosen to run family businesses should no longer be. The task of taking over should be shared and not divided. The strengths and weaknesses of each child can rise and shine in their own glory. This is a most familiar and time-tested story. A family business is started, for years run by the founder who knows every detail in every crevasse that exists to make it work. Enter the children — who, after having spent many summers through their adolescent and college years working there, are tested and scrutinized in every way to determine their acumen in the business world. The moment of truth is upon them as they prepare to take their place in the business: Who is best suited to take over?