Skip to Main Content

Helping Family Businesses
Prosper Across Generations®

How should family businesses cultivate and prepare the next generation for board service?


Owners need to provide ongoing education and exposure to the family and enterprise to those who are interested in serving. Potential candidates will need:

  • A deep understanding of the family enterprise including its history, culture, operations, finance, products or services.
  • A broad understanding of business in general and the industry in which the company competes.
  • A commitment to servicing the family owners' goals.
  • Opportunities to be involved with family in ways that build communication and trust.
  • Knowledge of the roles, authority and responsibilities to the company's top executives.
  • The ability to offer an independent perspective while functioning as part of a team.

Craig Aronoff, Co-Founder and Principal Consultant


Start by making inquiries to potential family members about directorships that are inclusive. Once the family members are identified, then:

  • Help educate them about the specific roles/expectations of a board and of individual directors.
  • Help build the business-related skills they need to contribute to meetings in a meaningful way.
  • Help them develop specific personal attributes that contribute to a collegial, collaborative board culture.
  • Connect them with appropriate mentors/coaches who will provide ongoing support to them in their role as a director, so that they have opportunities to further develop over time.

Kelly LeCouvie, Senior Consultant

I recommend setting realistic expectations early: 

  • Service is not a right but a responsibility to represent all owners.
  • Everyone is served best when the right members are elected to the Board of Directors (BOD).
  • Family board members don't need to be industry experts or financial experts but they should take the effort to understand both areas.

Owners can help next-generation members identify the talents and expertise they have to contribute to the BOD. They should also develop an understanding that different points of view can be valuable.

Some families develop a “Junior Board” or some type of experience that exposes next generation members to the BOD process. These meetings often immediately follow official board meetings and reproduce management presentations, the key issues discussed, and the appropriate background information.

Otis Baskin, Consultant

Additional Insights:


The_FB_Boardroom_Logo_Final
The Family Business Boardroom
is a quarterly newsletter that provides insights and news on important governance topics. Click here to subscribe...

 

 

Back

 

Articles purchased or downloaded from Family Business Consulting Group® are designed to provide general information and are not intended to provide specific legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice. Since your individual situation may present special circumstances or complexities not addressed in this article and laws and regulations may change, you should consult your professional advisors for assistance with respect to any matter discussed in this article. Family Business Consulting Group®, its editors and contributors shall have no responsibility for any actions or inactions made in reliance upon information contained in this article. Articles are based on experience on real family businesses. However, names and other identifying characteristics may be changed to protect privacy.

The copyright on this article is held by Family Business Consulting Group®. All rights reserved.
Articles may be available for reprint with permission. To learn more about using articles for your publication, contact editor@thefbcg.com.

8770 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste 1340W, Chicago, IL 60631
P: 773.604.5005 E: info@thefbcg.com 

© 2017 The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

close (X)