Guest post by Megan Reilly, Second Generation, PrintMail Systems
Many next generation leaders did not come into the family business thinking the way they do today. As a young professional fresh out of high school or college, many family members enter the business with the mindset that it is just the right thing to do. You have parents that are hard workers and believe in the business. They did this so you could have a bright future. Now it’s your turn to contribute. You may feel it is an obligation or honor to carry the business name and move it forward to the next generation. Perhaps there were no other career opportunities. You may have entered into the family business because you didn’t have your life and career path figured out completely.
My choice included a combination of all of these reasons. With the knowledge base I now have due to my participation in a Leadership Lab and Learning Community events, why I have chosen to remain in the family business now has a defined purpose.
I know this is where I am meant to be. It has direction. In addition, I now feel confident in my career choice. It has a goal. Furthermore, I know where to move forward in the company and how to contribute to the family and the business using my skills, experience and education.
Why Do YOU Want to be in the Family Business?
This is not the easier road. Family brings in issues of entitlement, rooting up baggage from the past, and conflict. It also brings opportunity for personal growth, deepening and strengthening family connections – as adults – and contributing to the family business legacy. Family businesses end many relationships. Therefore, it is important to begin asking yourself the motive behind your interest.
Ensuring both you and other family business members are in alignment with the company goals and the family goals, as well as your personal goals, will start your discovery on the right track. Involve a third party, such as the Delaware Valley Family Business Center. That will allow discussions to be facilitated and guided in a healthy manner in a safe, nonthreatening environment.
Our family is in the beginning stages of creating family business policies, including a family employment policy to define how family members enter and gracefully exit the business in the future. Come find me at the next Family Business Forum and ask me why!