Which NextGen path do you follow?

Take our NextGen quiz to find out

NextGen: How do you see yourself? 

Based on findings from PwC’s 2017 NextGen Study, we identified four main approaches that NextGens — members of the next generation in family businesses — are taking to build their own paths to success. We used these approaches in our PwC Global NextGen Survey 2019 to segment the respondents. Where do you fit in? 

Take this short quiz to find out which NextGen path you may be on and explore recommendations and case studies tailored to you. 

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You are a transformer!

Transformers take on the task of driving significant change in the family firm, and have the scope and support from the current generation to do so.

You aim to lead change in your family business and are more likely to aspire to executive roles within five years (56% of transformers said this vs. 41% of all 956 respondents, based on our 2019 NextGen Survey findings).

You are less likely than other NextGen personas to see secondments or rotations within the business as a way to help you add value (17% vs. 23% of all respondents), and you, like all other NextGens, are very confident in your leadership and problem-solving capabilities.

NextGen paths are always evolving. There is no ‘right’ way: all four paths can lead to success and some NextGens will move between them over the course of their careers, and some will be on more than one path at the same time.

“Once the next generation has learnt the ropes, the previous generation needs to provide them with the space to implement their own fresh ideas.”

Third generation South Africa

Recommendations for you

  • Understand the perspective of the current generation: Ask questions, and be considerate, but trust your inner voice. Avoid appearing too critical.
  • Innovate: In an era of business disruption, don’t be afraid to innovate. Act fast.
  • Show gratitude: Respect the current generation’s reasons for the decisions they took, even if you believe change is needed.
  • Expand your horizons: Collaborate widely. Do not compare yourself only with your traditional competition, but redefine your competition and the boundaries of your industry.
  • Qualify and track progress: Review your work regularly, seek constructive feedback and learn from your mistakes. You have to prove that your transformation is creating a competitive advantage.

Recommendations for the current generation in working with transformers

  • Be open to change: Each generation has a different perspective, but it’s best to have a mind-set that is flexible and focussed on ensuring the business remains sustainable.
  • Strengthen corporate governance: It is not enough to create an agile organisation adapted to deal with change and disruption. The company needs to be supported by flexible governance structures and an open-minded board prepared to countenance change.
  • Mentor: Mentoring is one of the most effective ways to cement your relationship with the NextGen and equip them to take over. It should be a long-term process.
  • Instil a culture of openness: Foster a culture that motivates the NextGen by expecting and accepting mistakes and focussing on the lessons they offer. A culture of openness will help to create a common strategy understood by everyone.
  • Increase transparency: Be honest and share as much information as possible with the NextGens to help them understand the issues the company faces and grow into seasoned executives.

You are a steward!

Stewards focus on protecting the profitability of the family firm, and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

You are more likely to be over 35 than other NextGens (42% vs. 36% of all respondents) and to be in a management role (44% vs. 39% of all 956 respondents). You have a greater tendency to aspire to non-executive and governance roles by 2025.

You are also more likely to view social and environmental factors as drivers of change for the business (49% vs. 37% of all respondents), along with competition in your market (77% vs. 70% of all respondents). You are strongly focussed on your business within its market.

NextGen paths are always evolving. There is no ‘right’ way: all four paths can lead to success and some NextGens will move between them over the course of their careers, and some will be on more than one path at the same time.

“You need to think of ways to add value to the family business, not take your status for granted and not squander the wealth that you have not earned.”

Second generation China

Recommendations for you 

  • Don’t take things for granted: Be mindful of your role, and put purpose and impact at the top of your agenda. 
  • Know your background: Be mindful of your family legacy and what your family business stands for.
  • Realise that you don’t have to know everything: Be smart, listen and ask questions.
  • Find your own motivation: What does your family business mean to you? What is the purpose that drives you? Keep searching for what motivates you.
  • Think outside the box: Although you may favour a conservative approach, stay tuned to the trends in your industry and beyond.

Recommendations for the current generation in working with stewards

  • Communicate: Be open and transparent, and communicate clearly what you expect from your NextGen family members.
  • Set out clear, shared family values: Being explicit about the values that guide your company is a competitive advantage. It will strengthen the culture of the business and make the family more cohesive.
  • Allow the NextGen to be themselves: Provide options for them to develop their experience and knowledge, but avoid dictating to them.
  • Give the NextGen opportunities to learn from you: Give them access to the inner circle and be open and transparent. Share the lessons of your successes, but more importantly, the lessons of your failures.
  • Avoid excessive pressure: The route to success is motivation, not pressure.

You are an intrapreneur!

Intrapreneurs set up their own venture within the family business, often with family financial backing.

You are more likely to feel the need to prove yourself before presenting ideas for change (27% vs. 21% of all 956 respondents). Like entrepreneurs, you are more likely to view your business as worse than competitors’ at fostering an entrepreneurial culture that embraces change. Your top priority, like that of entrepreneurs, is attracting talent, but unlike other NextGens, you believe your greatest asset is developing a strategy fit for the digital age. 

NextGen paths are always evolving. There is no ‘right’ way: all four paths can lead to success and some NextGens will move between them over the course of their careers, and some will be on more than one path at the same time.

“Allow us to have our own pilot project so that we can learn and grow from it.”

Second generation Indonesia

Recommendations for you

  • Pursue risk taking: Take calculated risks in pursuit of business and personal matters, and communicate and be transparent about how the venture is progressing.
  • Take opportunities: Find an opportunity and make maximum use of your family’s resources and network to build the business.
  • Strengthen knowledge: Develop in-depth knowledge of the market and region you are entering. Don’t be complacent: Push yourself to excel.
  • Align values: Your venture is operating under the family’s umbrella, so ensure it aligns with the values set out by the current generation.
  • Innovate: Constantly seek out technological innovations that could benefit your venture or the family business.

 

Recommendations for the current generation in working with intrapreneurs

  • Accept risk taking: Encourage the NextGens to take risks and foster a culture that motivates them. Accept mistakes and focus on the lessons they offer. Consider having deadlines and a formal structure to evaluate the success of the venture.
  • Take opportunities: Find opportunities for the NextGen to set up and manage an internal business. Help them develop their leadership qualities.
  • Mentor: Provide ideas and feedback, and share experiences from the past. Start this process early in NextGens’ career.
  • Promote values: Work together with the NextGens to set out clear values.
  • Innovate: Be open to new technologies and innovations. Look for ways to incorporate them into the family business.

 

You are an entrepreneur!

Entrepreneurs set up their own separate venture outside the family firm, with no profits going back to the family business.

You are more sceptical than others about your family business’s performances against competitors. About 20% of you believe the business falls behind competitors on customer focus (compared with 9% of all 956 respondents), and 19% of you say it lags on having a strong sense of purpose (compared with 10% of all respondents). You are also more likely to feel your suggestions are hardly ever listened to (19% vs. 10% of all respondents).

You are less likely to see yourselves as future leaders of the family business — though you want to lead your own business — and are more likely to aspire to a governance role in the family business (for example, on the family council).

NextGen paths are always evolving. There is no ‘right’ way: all four paths can lead to success and some NextGens will move between them over the course of their careers, and some will be on more than one path at the same time.

“I wanted to create my own legacy… I didn’t just have to leave. I had to prove myself.”

Third generation Indonesia

Recommendations for you

  • Stay connected to your legacy: You come from a background that gives you privileged access to business knowledge and experience. Learn everything you can from your family legacy.
  • Acquire knowledge: Become immersed in the field that fascinates you before you attempt to launch a business.
  • Create a vision: Set out the mission for your own venture explicitly and make sure everyone involved understands it.
  • Seek support: Don’t try to do it on your own. Learn how to delegate and draw on advice and support from your family business as much as possible. Be open to mentoring.
  • Trust yourself: Listen to your inner voice and decide for yourself, ultimately, what you believe is great work.

 

Recommendations for the current generation in working with entrepreneurs

  • Prepare for change: Develop an open mind-set and allow your NextGens to develop, even if it means them setting up independently of the family business.
  • Support their ambitions: Allow them to work on their business ideas and, where possible, provide expertise, support and mentoring.
  • Broaden their work experiences: NextGen entrepreneurs may need to look beyond the family business for the experience and inspiration they need.
  • Respect different life choices: Support them in exploring alternative career options or venture opportunities.
  • Have faith in their ventures: Show the NextGens you believe in them even though they are not supporting the family business. Know that they are not being disloyal.

Attend PwC NextGen Explorer Academy

Young successors explore their individual potential and entrepreneurial skills. Learn firsthand from renowned academics, business practitioners and your peers from around the world in an environment that is both exclusive and inclusive.

Find out more about our Explorer Academy

PwC NextGen Club

Join the PwC NextGen Club, our international community of young entrepreneurs and successors in family businesses.

Find out more about the PwC NextGen Club

Attend PwC NextGen Accelerator Academy

Leaders of tomorrow build on their knowledge and strengths. Learn firsthand from renowned academics, business practitioners and your peers from around the world in an environment that is both exclusive and inclusive.

Find out more about our Accelerator Academy

PwC NextGen Club

Join the PwC NextGen Club, our international community of young entrepreneurs and successors in family businesses.

Find out more about the PwC NextGen Club

Attend PwC NextGen Leader Academy

Successors and entrepreneurs transform their businesses and shape their family legacies. Learn first-hand from renowned academics, business practitioners and your peers from around the world in an environment that is both exclusive and inclusive.

Find out more about our Leader Academy

PwC NextGen Club

Join the PwC NextGen Club, our international community of young entrepreneurs and successors in family businesses.

Find out more about the PwC NextGen Club

Explore PwC NextGen Education

Learn first-hand from renowned academics, business practitioners and your peers from around the world in an environment that is both exclusive and inclusive.

Explore our PwC NextGen Education offerings

PwC NextGen Club

Join the PwC NextGen Club, our international community of young entrepreneurs and successors in family businesses.

Find out more about the PwC NextGen Club

Hear from other NextGen intrapreneurs

You can read all of our NextGen case studies here.

 

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Contact us

Peter Englisch

Global Family Business and EMEA Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 201 438 1812

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