Helping Family Businesses
Prosper Across Generations®


Advice to the Next Generation from their "Elders"

By Kent B. Rhodes, Ed.D.

Examples of collective wisdom from the Inland Press Association reunion of family owners:

  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • All crises will pass and be replaced with new ones.
  • Get outside experience; try working in as many departments as possible.
  • Find the joy in the job.
  • Work outside the business before starting a career in the business.
  • Be brave. Take risks, but don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from everything, and talk on a regular basis with your family about what you are learning.
  • Realize that business criticism is not personal criticism.
  • Spend some regular time, energy, and planning on nonbusiness activities.
  • Work hard and be ready for sudden changes.
  • Establish a mentor outside the business.
  • Work outside the business to gain personal experience, build confidence, bring experience back home, and discover your emerging passion.

“Tell your children, if they intend to become involved in your family-owned business, that their position derives strictly from good fortune…that they ‘showed good taste in the choice of their parents.’ Therefore, they must be highly sensitive to the concerns of their employees and work diligently to do exceptionally well on the job to win employee respect. And let them know that they will be the subject of behind-the-wall and often undeserved criticism, in part caused by the reality that their success stems from their family relationship and chance.”

Howard Brown, President
United Communications Corp.




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