How NextGens can gain the family’s support

By Barbara Spector

NextGens’ path to success in their family companies isn’t always smooth. The senior generation may continue to view them as “the kids” and may dismiss their fresh ideas as youthful folly.

Here are some tips for NextGens on how to gain support from the senior generation.:

Demonstrate your competence and your willingness to learn. Go above and beyond to prove yourself and earn respect. Pay attention to the feedback you receive. Make sure you’re not coming off as arrogant or taking advantage of your last name.

Understand the senior generation’s point of view. If they object to your proposals, gather as much information as you can on the factors behind their reasoning. Be empathetic.

Clarify roles. Don’t assume more authority than you have been granted. On the other hand, be sure to take full responsibility for the duties you’ve been assigned.

Back up your recommendations with data. Prove that your ideas are based on sound reasoning.

Build trust through small wins. Concentrate on problem-solving. Establish a track record of success.

Recognize that change takes time — and not everything needs to be changed. Be careful not to propose a reinvention of the wheel.

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