Perspectives from ISB

As per a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, the transition from a successful entrepreneur to a family business brings about an existential crisis for which many are not prepared. However the transition becomes imperative as due to the sheer size of the new entity it is no longer possible to manage it individually.

As a result, often, for the first time, decision making becomes collective; hence power dynamics in the family have to be taken into account. Moreover engaging with the family also means ceding control of the newly created business entity. It is only through delegation of authority that new members can be engaged in the business and the legacy can outlive the entrepreneur.

The article further suggests that educating the younger generation of their responsibilities as trustees of the family wealth is critical for the legacy plans to work. The incoming generation must be made aware not only of the business legacy but the philanthropic legacy as well. Without it, a lifetime of hard work will wither or be dismantled, resulting in a missed opportunity both for the community and for the family.


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