How multi-generational working can give you the edge


Working collaboratively amongst different generations is at the heart of long-lived family business success. Whether they are involved in the daily management of the firm or not, family members still have a key role to play as responsible owners.

Contributing to the strategic direction of the family business, engaging their talent so that family values and purpose are lived in the operations of the business, empowering the next generation of leaders, these are unique opportunities for family business. It is well known that family companies experience longer tenures and are more trusted by customers than other, non-family, businesses. Harnessing the power of your multi-generational heritage can increase the competitive advantage of your family business.

Planning for the future

When successors feel that they are empowered to meaningfully contribute to the family business, it is easier to engage them in the journey. If they are provided with the space to develop, both outside and within the business, and to share their views and questions openly, younger family members often express a genuine interest in learning more and having some involvement in the family business.

Planning for the future also means building a relationship of equals between different generations, where successors are recognised as capable adults, so that they have the confidence to express their individuality, whilst also building on the legacy of the current generation of owners.

Finally, this process also means tackling sensitive questions, like what happens next, when the next generation is in charge? What will happen to me? It is important not to postpone thinking about the answers and to involve the family in the process to set the firm on sound footing for the future.

Mitigating internal and external risks

During a generational transition there can be risks for the business too. Working together during the long process of planning for succession is key to avoid uncertainty and disruption in the company. Being aligned as a family, and establishing good and clear communication across the family business, means that the family is able to speak with one voice, instilling confidence and security for the future of the business.

Working collaboratively between different generations can also help overcome the disruption caused by industry changes. Thanks to their skills and knowledge, younger generations are often able to recognise emerging patterns and have the skills to help navigate today’s challenging environment.

Learning from others

While you may feel you are the only family facing these challenges, you aren’t.  At Family Business UK we are supporting families with this every day.  With a thriving network of peers, active communities and a programme of events Family Business UK members have fantastic opportunities to learn from others.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you on your family business journey, contact us on