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Career planning for the next generation

Specialist Accredited Advisor, Chris Alp discusses the importance of career planning for the next generation and the many ways it can affect your family business. Here are six insightful ways you can start preparing for the next step.

If you want your kids to value the opportunity of joining the family business and to make the most of their abilities, then you have to take this seriously. A little effort and thought will make all the difference.


1. It’s in the blood

Don’t underestimate the mentoring role that business-owning parents play in demonstrating and living the culture of ownership. It is the accumulation of parents’ discussions over the dinner table, the observation of effort and hours worked, witness to planning and strategy on the fly and living the image of the family as business owners. It is the worry, risk and reward.

2. It’s not for everyone

Children have their own paths to follow. You may hope that they will all join the family business, but some will never do it. Some do it reluctantly and others change their minds and may join later. Open discussion about the opportunity, but not the expectation, may just be the key to meeting their needs. It may be that none of your kids will want to join. Sad, but it happens.

3. Not all kids can be the next leader

Every person has different skills and aptitudes. Kids can join the business as junior or unskilled workers… and stay that way forever. Push them too far beyond this point and you might just set them up for failure.

4. The silver spoon problem

It is great for school and university-aged kids to have a holiday and part-time job working for the family business. All part of the family business experience. But we have seen kids then join the business too early and without outside experience. Existing staff can see them as spoilt and useless, even if that is not the case. Far better to send them out into the real world and get them to make mistakes elsewhere.

5. Work for the best

The best employees come with a background of working for great employers. They learn how to do things right, the importance of leadership, good policies and procedures and the value of culture. There is nothing wrong with you helping find your kids good work experience with colleagues who also run great family businesses.

6. Talk to them

Have visionary discussions with the kids to help them understand their path (inside the business or not), the role of (initial & ongoing) education and the benefits of being the next generation. Match that up with their (fledgling) goals for the future.

In the end, you want them to be their best and be happy. Wherever that may be.


Chris has spent a lifetime helping business owners deal with the interwoven challenges of business and family. He is always big picture focused, practically oriented, outcome-driven and determined to change client’s businesses and lives (for the better)!

He loves to solve problems and conducted literally hundreds of strategic plans for all types of private and family businesses. Chris is also a Specialist Accredited Advisor for Family Business Australia.

Family Business Australia and New Zealand provides this article for your information only. The content of the article should not be taken as advice. If you wish to explore this topic, please consult an advisor who you consider to have the expertise to provide specific advice in relation to your family business.