Welcome to my blog for Successor’s to families-in-business.
Who am I?
My experience has led me to understand the position and role of successor to a family-in-business. A role that is at once life-long, unique, complex and important. I am a fifth-generation member of a business owning family and have over 25 years’ experience working in, teaching to, governing and supporting family business. My early career was one of manager in the family company, followed by the completion of a masters and a period working separate to the family business. Mid-career was split between two roles – an ownership role (as a non-executive Family Director) for ten years and an entrepreneurial role as the founder and director of a non-profit to support families-in-business.
Now, with an interest and qualification in coaching and mentoring, I am embarking on this my first blog.
I am a thinker, with much practical experience and a desire to make a contribution. I would like to be known for my first name, not my last one. As a professional I am ‘post-our family business’. As a blogger my aim is to provide fresh, relevant and practical insight to successors to families-in-business. My aim is to build trust with my readers over time, to challenge successors’ perceptions of what is possible for them and to provide a resource they can use to identify and realise that which they want for themselves.
Who is this Blog for?
We have been there. We know things of succession, that only successors know. The impact of ownership is life-long, unique, complex and always important. This blog is for successors to families-in-business. Those individuals who must grow, develop and make decisions as owners and/or as recognised members of a business owning family. Those who are ambitious for themselves, their family and the company they own. Those working in the company, alongside it or outside of it.
Those who ‘come after’ (successors) those who have come before (accessors) – the relationship between the two is always strained and frequently unhealthy. All are busy. My hope is that you allocate the time to read and have the blog to hand at times of transition, change (both planned and sudden), reflection and self-review or when a decision is asked of you.
Are you one or more of these?
In writing this blog it is my wish that it will be of practical benefit to those family members/successors who:
- want to learn about their family business and possible ways to contribute;
- are of all ages and career stages, considering or pursuing a career within the family company;
- are desiring or committing to leadership role within the family;
- are desiring or committing to a leadership role within the business;
- are desiring or committing to an ownership role;
- are not involved with the family business in a formal way but have an interest in the continued development of committed family leadership as a prerequisite for successful succession;
- are intending to actively engage with and develop both their generation and succeeding generations of successors as owners and possible leaders;
- are desiring or undergoing major change such as career transition, business start-up or retirement.
Why am I blogging?
My aim is to enable successors identify, negotiate and achieve their personal and career goals within the challenges and possibilities of ownership.
Why visit the blog? First, to be aware of and understand those challenges and opportunities that come with ownership. Second, I am writing from a position of experience, that is someone who has ‘done it’ before. Third, I want the blog to be a resource, a prompt to thought (or aid to communication) or as an incentive to considered action. My intent is for you to achieve your own successes within the boundaries and opportunities of ownership – for you to find and hold your own voice.
To-date I have posted on a number of relevant topics: on the impact of ownership, leadership in a crisis and the family brand. Examples of the types of topics and questions to be covered in the future are listed at the end of this post. Posts will be published fortnightly.
What will be in this for successors? What is in this for you?
First, for you as a successor to understand the nuances, challenges and possibilities available to you within the changing demands of family ownership. To understand the purpose and intent behind your family and family company. To identify and manage the impact of ownership on you, your relationships, career options and choices;
Then, be Understood.
Second, for you as a successor to be understood and encouraged, enabled and supported as you discover your purpose, communicate it to others and (if possible) overlap and synchronise your purpose with that of the family and/or that of the family business;
Finally, for you to achieve and sustain a position of leadership or contribution – whatever your desired aim – either within, alongside or external to the family company. You choose, you deliver.
What will I be Blogging About?
The topics available to consider are almost endless. Many – structures, agreements, wealth – are dealt with effectively elsewhere. My aim is for the blog to be different and better; to provide new and practical insight. My goal is to provide content and ideas within three areas of importance and relevance to successors:
At an overview level, the topic of ownership. After all that is the primary consideration that links all families-in-business. That is why you as successor must consider most things through a different lens; an ownership lens. When outsiders see ownership, they see wealth and not the obligations and lessons that come with it. What is the purpose of your family company? What is your family brand and how can it be continued? What is the ‘impact of ownership’ on you as successor? What does ownership mean for the career, leadership or entrepreneurial possibilities for you as successor and (possible) family business owner? What might ownership exclude you from becoming involved in?
Family Talent Cultivation
If you do not have the effective engagement of your family members you will not continue the family ownership of your business. As successors you must (or should) highlight and foster the cultivation of other successors (i.e. you and your family) as learners, leaders and effective owners. Abundant advice is forthcoming on asset growth (strategy) and/or family unity (governance); that for the effective cultivation of family talent is much thinner. Advice for the effective support of family members’ careers within or along-side the family business, even less. My aim is to bring both experience and (I hope) insight to the discussion on how you might develop a leadership role (or roles) within your family or family business, where responsibility for this lies and practical advice to make this happen.
The Successor’s Voice
Finally, the most important sphere for the successor; how you find and hold your own voice within and around the possibilities and challenges of ownership. That which you want and aspire for yourself. What are the possible roles within the family and the business you can aspire to (and work towards) over time? How can you develop and check your credibility with those outside the family? How might you craft a successful career progression within, above or alongside the family company? What happens if things go wrong – as they sometimes do – and you find yourself making changes mid-career? How should you identify and develop your own support? Finally, how can you discover and integrate your purpose into/with that/outside of the family business of which you are an owner?
You will find articles, long-form pieces, surveys, interviews or guest blogs. On occasion something different. The intent is to be fresh, fair and challenging with links to appropriate resources or contrarian views. The work or ideas of others will be credited and where possible, referenced. Finally, the blog will contain useful family business and leadership frameworks to stimulate your thoughts, help you organise your ideas and encourage you present them to your intended audience (who may be related to you…) clearly and persuasively.
How You can Get Involved
Please use the contact email or feedback facility on the website. I encourage comments, suggestions, add-ons or challenge to the ideas published here. Guest posts – of topics that are relevant and based on practical experience – are considered. Acknowledgement will be within the content. If you know of those who might benefit from the content in the blog, please share a link.
Over time, my aim is to be a source of fresh thinking, challenge and encouragement to successors. First, to identify the opportunities and challenges of ownership – those that are life-long, unique, complex and important. Second, to optimize the possibilities for talent development within, alongside or external to your family company. Finally, for successors to identify, articulate and achieve what they aspire to for themselves – to find and hold their own voice.
Examples of some topics to be covered in the Blog.
(Follow link to the blog: http://www.philipmackeown.ie/latest-news/ ).
Value to the family business – what should you take into account when considering a decision to join the family company as a career? What does ‘value’ mean in this context and how can you discuss this with your family and the business?
Credibility – what this means and why it is so important for you to grasp. Examination of ideas for you to develop and monitor your credibility. An understanding of public and private and what this means for you;
Successor Roles – the possible roles you may consider and undertake as a member of a business owning family. How these apply to varying ‘life-stages’ and the hidden responsibilities of each not indicated in the job description;
Family Talent Cultivation – how successful families encourage and support family members who wish to engage and contribute. A blueprint for you to compare your situation and ideas on how to move your family (and company) to work with you to achieve your goals;
Social Entrepreneurship – the hidden resource of Ownership. How you might harness your family name to your potential to jointly shape and contribute to a new or revised family purpose.
Philip is a leadership and coach and mentor for family business owners and family business successors. He previously held positions as manager, Head of the Family Council and Family Director within his family business, over a 25 year period. He is currently writing a book on successor talent development within business owning families.
Philip can add value to families-in-business in the following ways:
- Coach or to family business owners or successors.
- Mentor to family business owners or successors.
- Assessment of successor performance.
- Successor Development Plans, Family Talent plan.
- Facilitated learning to cover family business management, ownership and leadership.