The 2016 IFB conference saw the launch of the new IFB research report which focuses on next generation ‘engagement’ – what does this mean and how can it best be achieved?
I was honoured to be part of the advisory panel for the report and there were some very interesting insights for family businesses to take away.
Older generation respondents to the report survey said that ‘leadership development’ and ‘developing responsible owners’ were the most important reasons for next generation engagement. Encouragingly, the next generation indicated high levels of interest in, and commitment to, their family business with some 89 per cent saying they engaged because they ‘cared about the business’.
The report emphasises that the key to achieving engagement is by allowing the next generation sufficient ‘space’ to learn, develop as a responsible owner and be entrepreneurial– rather than expecting them to follow paths set for them by their parents or by a sense of obligation. The definition of an effective ‘space’ is explored in details in the report and includes space for all (or inclusive space); breathing space; space to communicate; space for fun; and, underpinning the other four, spaces that are safe.