The Child Within

I am sure it is not surprising to my network that I am absolutely passionate about working with and supporting Family Businesses.

My particular focus is on working with families to better manage the generational transition process by assisting with better communication and by providing the right structures and good frameworks for the family as well as the business.

Establishing good communication to achieve the best possible outcomes for all involved is a key in this process.

Naturally, I didn’t just fall into this. My passion is fuelled by the ongoing issues I face with our own family transition process, namely the lack of any real joint approach to solve the issues we are faced with as a family.

Control lies firmly in my Dad’s hands with little input allowed from my sister or I.

Considering myself ‘The Champion of Change’ within our family, I have been ‘sneakily’ sending articles I have written or flyers that outline my speaking engagements in the Family Business or Wealth Transition Space to him over the last years.

Surely being consulted by others on this topic should convince my dad that I know what I am talking about…..????

During my recent trip back home to Germany, I tried my luck yet again and I engaged my dad in a conversation about legacy and transition. Most surprisingly, he agreed that we should set aside some time to discuss the topic in more detail.

To say that I was excited about the prospect to create positive change for my generation and future generations was an understatement. I was thrilled and looking forward to the opportunity.

The big day came and I was prepared – or at least so I thought. Whilst I have been supporting many families to get through conversations exactly like the one I was about to have, I had no idea what it would feel like to be one of the participants.

All the thoughts, ideas and years of experience were reduced to the immature expressions (or would “mumblings” be more appropriate?) of my 15-year-old self. I had stepped back in time and into the familiar role of the child and I found it difficult to clearly communicate my vision and the ideas I have for our family to more easily pave a path to successfully transition the business and management of assets.

How old does one have to be to meet the patriarch as an equal?

Clearly, I still have some growing up to do.

On a positive note, we did make some progress. Even a small step in the right direction is better than not starting to address this important issue. No doubt the road ahead is long and will likely not be an easy one. I am committed however to continue this journey and schedule more discussions.

Next time though, I will make sure to bring a facilitator – I am not sure I liked being quite so young again!

To be continued……