It’s Never a “One and Done” Deal
The most important “new” ideas always take some time to sink in, so when family members start to think about an eventual transition of their business or wealth to the next generation, it’s normal for it to take a while to get everyone on board.
When we combine this idea with another important maxim of mine, i.e. “Family governance is the ultimate team sport”, it’s no wonder the metaphor of a marathon comes up when we discuss these topics.
I work hard to make sure that the content I create gets spread far and wide, because I think it ultimately makes a difference, if only to “one family at a time”.
I also do whatever possible to appear in whichever format I can, whether it be podcasts, webinars, or other speaking engagements, to augment the regular writing that I put out.
And sometimes things come back to me in interesting and useful ways, and we’ll now look at a recent such occurrence.
LinkedIn Keeps Us All Linked (In)
I’ll once again profess my love for LinkedIn as a platform for connecting people from around the globe who have common interests.
My social media team regularly posts my freshly-created content as well as a lot of “recycled” material, and because most of my stuff is “evergreen” it always strikes some readers as new.
In response to one recent such post, a woman from Asia shared some great feedback with me (Thanks MP!).
She noted that she had seen me on a webinar last summer for an firm based in Asia, and that had inspired her.
She then added that her father “is also slightly more open to the idea of governance after watching your interview a few months ago” in reference to something I did with a colleague from Africa.
She concluded her note with “It’s a work in progress” along with a smiley face emoji. Wow. Allow me to try to break this all down.
Which Generation Takes the Lead?
The first worthwhile point I’ll share is that contrary to popular belief, it’s not always the leading generation that initiates important family discussions about the future, it’s often the rising generation, as it is in this case.
In fact, I much prefer to work with families when the younger folks are urging their senior generations to begin these key communications.
When the parents need to figure out how to share and engage with their offspring, the challenge is a bit different, and it can be more difficult to get everyone into it.
But when it’s a “bottom-up” scenario, where the younger ones are already quite interested, getting their parents to open up and start sharing also has its headwinds.
But either way, this doesn’t typically go very quickly. And that’s OK too, in fact, that’s the best way to go about this.
Hurry to Start, So You Can Go Slow
As I prepared to write this blog, my social team happened to share a post that’s a simple quote of mine, and I think the timing was serendipitous.
Here it is:
“There’s no rush, except … hurry up
and get started so that you can then slow down
and take your time to get it right”
The road is long and part of life’s long journey, especially since those from each generation of the family are on different parts of the arcs of their lives.
You need a long overlap of time where you work together, gradually shifting roles and responsibilities from the leading generation downwards.
Patience, Flexibility, Progress
Let’s get back to the idea of a “work-in-progress”.
What we’re talking about here definitely qualifies as “work”, hence another maxim of mine, “things don’t just happen all by themselves”.
The other keyword in that phrase is “progress” and that’s what you need to focus on. “Look for progress, NOT perfection”, as I also like to reiterate.
This of course also means that there’s a premium on patience, because there will be many occasions where things don’t feel like they’re going as quickly as they should, for one generation or the other. That’s to be expected.
Things won’t go in a straight line either, so you need to be flexible and sometimes you’ll need to take one step back in order to take two forward.
Start the marathon, and enjoy it together.