Perspectives from ISB

According to a recent study by PwC, titled ‘Great Expectations: The next generation of family business leaders’, in the next five years, 40% of family businesses globally will prepare to hand over the business to the next generation, but the new leaders may find it hard to make their voice heard. The total turnover of companies represented by the 268 respondents of the survey in 31 countries is $50bn.

According to the survey, 88% of those surveyed want to do something special with the business, not just bigger but more international, more diversified and more modern. Over half (60%) say they will take the business into new geographical markets and almost 70% intend to bring in experienced non-family managers to help modernize and professionalize the workplace. Similarly they felt they need to spend more on digital. Only 41% believe their firm has a strategy fit for the digital world and 29% believe that family businesses are slower than other types of business to keep up with new technology.

Although aiming for a revolution, these next gen managers might find it difficult to get their voices heard, with 40% confessing to some degree of frustration in trying to get new ideas accepted by the current generation and 52% worrying they will need to spend more time managing family politics.