Rags to Riches to Ruin

Few family corporations have survived way beyond three generations -- a curse that summarizes the life cycle of a business from rags to riches and then ruin. In the three-generation effect, a family corporation usually starts with the patriarch establishing the company to provide for the family. After this, the second generation inherits and grows the business, and the third generation squanders it. Studies show that seven out of ten affluent families will lose the family fortune by the end of the second generation, and by the end of the third generation, nine out of ten of all affluent families have blown through the family wealth, with many suffering terrible family strife.

Research indicates that family business failures can essentially be traced to several factors:

• Forbidden Issues. Lack of trust and rampant misunderstandings in the family leads to conflict avoidance, lying, and hiding things from each other.

• Lack of meritocracy. The inability of next-generation offspring to cultivate the requisite skills that match those needed by the current and future business environment.

• Lack of clarity. The lack of planning and governance at the business, family, and ownership levels

• Weak or misaligned values. Lack of common understanding of what values the company and the family lives by and wants to preserve

• An unfortunate lack of succession planning. Founders and owners are notoriously poor at planning for the future of their businesses. For one, death is not an easy subject to discuss, nor is retirement, especially for rugged individualists and entrepreneurs or their families.

A family business without a formal succession plan is asking for trouble. Business leaders often hear this statement: "No doubt, my children are being groomed to lead the business eventually, but they are too young and inexperienced to make critical decisions." Family business leaders, particularly the founders, often neglect the issue of succession because they are so protective of the business they started. Although they want their ventures to survive them with plans of passing the torch of leadership on to their children, they seldom support their intentions with an actual and doable plan to accomplish that goal. They just dream of continuing the business long after they're gone but take no steps to make that dream a reality.  

However, the three-generation effect does not have to be an inescapable curse. The three-generation effect is indeed a harsh reality that many family businesses face, but this curse only takes place when there is no proper foresight and preparation. To break the cycle, family business leaders must confront these challenges head-on, preferably years prior to any generational transition, starting with fostering open communication, embracing merit-based decision-making, and exploring succession planning — all to ensure a smooth transition of leadership when the time is ripe. Only then can a family business hope to defy the odds and endure for generations.

To gain further insights on developing your next-generation leaders and ensuring the long-term success of your company, I am excited to extend an invitation to you, dear readers. Join me, along with family business expert Dr. Josh Baron and other prominent industry leaders yet to be announced, at W+B Advisory Group's upcoming executive event in partnership with Icon Executive Asia. Prepare to immerse yourself in:

This exclusive event will take place on August 19, 2023 (Saturday), from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the prestigious Grand Ballroom of Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria. It presents a unique platform to gain expert knowledge and practical strategies essential for navigating the challenges faced by family businesses.

To secure your spot and register for this event, please visit our registration link: https://bit.ly/FamilyBusinessContinuity 

For additional information and exclusive event promo discounts, please don't hesitate to reach out to Marivi at Icon Executive Asia via email at marivi@iconexecutivesearch.com