To join or not to join?

Four brothers were thinking about succession of their family business to the next generation. Between them they had 12 children, a number of whom were leaving university and starting to think about their future careers, including possibly joining the business.


The brothers recognised that there was a challenge ahead. What criteria should be applied about their suitability to join? How would the process work? Who would decide? Should the junior generation work outside first? The brothers wanted to protect the business and didn’t want to sit in judgement over each other’s children. Without a clear answer, they felt it important to involve their next generation in agreeing how things should be handled.


After a consultation process we facilitated a series of discussions with the next generation, learning about their hopes and concerns for the family business and helping them to agree guidelines governing all the issues surrounding their possibly joining. With everyone involved in these discussions, the next generation were clear on what was expected of them and how things would work – whether they decided they wanted to join the business or to pursue some other career outside.