According to an article to Dr. Mark Green written in March 2009, there are five
main trends in family businesses and here they are:
The New Demography
Technology and industry have made us a very mobile and interconnected
society particularly regarding business and culture. The impact on family
businesses is tremendous in terms of succession planning, which now is
further complicated by people living longer.
But perhaps the most profound impact, is the “stack-up” of various generations in
the family and the business that has resulted from longer life-spans and delayed
retirement. Furthermore, cultural and societal norms are stressed by the melting
pot of positions, expectations and perceptions that are all culturally and
generationally valid. The problem is that there is no easy way to make decisions
when everyone is right from their own perspective, and when the old rules no
longer apply.
The New Diversity - Generational Differences.
In the United States we are faced with the new reality that we have five
distinct generations in the same house and work place.
Each generation has its unique outlooks, perspectives, communication styles,
and perceptions. The result is a living “Tower of Babel” where each generation
has a difficult time understanding, communicating and working with each other.
Family businesses must pay careful attention to build bridges and understanding
between the generations.
What is Family?
Many people might not be aware of the fact that one of the most contested
debates amongst academics, government officials, sociologist, anthropologist,
psychologist, and theologians is how to define the modern family. Forty years
ago most Americans defined family as that of kinship through blood and
marriage. The current demographic realities represent a society with a decline
in marriage, rise in cohabitation, increased divorces, multiple remarriages, and
Power of Spouses.
Today spouses and in-laws are far more likely to be inquisitive, expect to be
involved, and are more aggressive in voicing their opinions. Let’s face it, the
family business has tremendous influence on all relationships within the family
and the stress that resonates from a family business can severely impact every
relationship. To be successful, the family business must look at the system of
family ownership and management like a good party where everyone brings
something. This means that each person has at least one clear role, an
opportunity to contribute, and has a free flow of communication.
I Am Too Busy.
The point is that we are all very busy as our lives are packed with social, work,
personal, family, community, commitments, and events that run our lives. The
simple fact is that is there nothing more important than our families. And if we
have a business, it also needs to be a high priority. We know that in today’s
world if it is on our calendar we usually get it done. Then doesn’t it make sense
that we put time on our calendar to spend time with our family to get to know
each other as adults socially? This is not only important for one generation but it
makes the time for the next so they can build their relationships as adults and
business partners.