Great Expectations: The next generation of family business leaders
of next gen family business leaders want to leave their stamp and do something special with the business
of next gens worked outside the family firm to gain useful experience and bridge the credibility gap before joining the family business
of next gen family business leaders are worried that they will need to spend time managing family politics
total turnover of companies represented by 268 respondents in 31 countries
We’ve been running an international Family Business Survey for over a decade, and in 2014 we added our first-ever survey of leaders-in-waiting. We asked them about their personal ambitions, their plans for the future of their business, and the unique challenges of being the ‘boss’s child’. That surveyidentified three key ‘gaps’ that the next generation face: the generation gap between their experience and expectations, and those of their parents’; the credibility gap, which they have to surmount if they’re to establish themselves; and the communications gap, which can arise both within the firm, and within the family.
Two years on, what does the picture look like? It’s certainly changed, and broadly for the better. The next gens’ confidence has risen, their horizons have widened, and their preparation for senior roles has improved. But some of the issues are more challenging too, both inside the firm, and in the wider business landscape.
Much of this comes down to the central theme of ‘expectations’ – what the next gens expect of themselves and their business, and how they expect global trends to evolve, as well as the views of the current generation, which also need to be taken into account, especially in relation to the always sensitive issue of succession. Both the current and next generation have a significant responsibility to play their part in the succession journey. And unless there is a clear understanding about the respective expectations and how the next generation can prepare and equip themselves for their future role, the future success and sustainability of the business could be put at risk.
The theme of ‘expectations’ will be our focus in this report. As well as the survey findings, we have rich insights from in-depth interviews with next gens across the world, and input from our own expert practitioners, all designed to help the next gen realise their ambitions and make their ‘great expectations’ a reality.
Henrik Steinbrecher, Network Middle Market Leader and Stephanie Hyde, UK Executive Board and Global Next Generation Programme Partner.
Key findings from our 2016 Next Generation Survey
Explore perspectives from the next generation of family business leaders. Find out what they think on key issues such as succession, professionalisation, the evolution of the business landscape and the digital question.
There’s a lot of good news in this year’s Next Gen Survey. Our respondents are more confident, more experienced, and have bigger ambitions. But many of the old challenges still remain. In our 2012 Family Business Survey we summed up the challenges facing family firms in terms of skills, succession, and scale, and these three factors are just as relevant for next gens four years later. And there’s also a new ‘S’ to add to the mix: stakeholders:
We’ve been working with family firms for decades – in fact many of the current generation of family business leaders were next gens when we first advised them. We can bring all that experience to bear to help family firms manage both the personal and professional challenges they face. And we have specific services and support for next gens, from training and mentoring, to our Global Next Gen Club, where they can learn from others in the same situation, develop new skills, and build their own business networks.
The next gen have great expectations – we want to help make them a reality.