For a family enterprise to endure over the long-term, the next generation must be ready to lead. If the baton is not passed to a capable next generation team, it could mean the decline of the family’s assets and unity.

Our latest research shows that it is necessary, but not sufficient, to groom the next business leader; families must develop next generation talent for a myriad of roles, each essential to an enduring enterprise and family. The next generation needs to be prepared to not only lead the business, but to also effectively serve on the board; carry out their ownership role as shareholders or trust beneficiaries; build financial wealth and make sound financial investments in growth opportunities; lead and serve on the family council or owners council; lead and govern the family office and philanthropic activities; raise a healthy and industrious young generation; and be ambassadors for the family and enterprise; as well as other responsibilities. These roles are jobs that require an aligned family vision as well as effective preparation, training, and eventual handoff of leadership.

Developing next generation talent is among the highest priorities of successful multigenerational families. It is a process that requires deliberate strategies, diverse methods, leadership oversight, and patience. The successful preparation of the next generation requires ingredients such as: clear goals and plans; respectful communication and honest feedback; focus on both hard and soft skills; partnering between the senior and next generations; abundant teamwork in the next generation; and support from the broader family. Multigenerational families understand that the development process starts early and is ongoing, spanning a wide range of ages and all individuals in the family in some capacity.

CFEG believes that developing family talent is a cornerstone for success in multigenerational family enterprises. Motivated, accomplished and fulfilled family members—whether working in the family business or not—build a solid base for family and enterprise success. Through CFEG’s coaching arm, the Cambridge Individual Development Center offers individual assessments, coaching, career development, teambuilding, and life planning to family members and non-family managers. These activities help individuals build productive careers and satisfying lives, regardless of whether they enter the family business.