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5 Tips for NextGens Integrating into Family Businesses

by Nike Anani

Nike Anani is a NextGen coach and mentor. She is the CEO of CLAD ltd, family investment holding company with focus in Nigeria. She is also helping NextGens in Family Businesses

TIP 1 – Be Humble

As a NextGen, some non-family staff may automatically assume that you are entitled based on stereotypes, however, as they get to know you those false assumptions will be corrected. It is particularly important to lead with humility.  A lot of the staff you are leading now probably knew you as a young girl or boy and watched you grow up – it is also an adjustment for them to submit to you as a leader.

TIP 2 – Get External Help

We were created to connect. The journey as a NextGen can be a lonely one and we may feel like the issues we face in the family business are unique to us, and as such we may retreat into a shell, isolate ourselves from others and attempt to nurse our pains. It’s important to join an association of people in similar situations that is a safe place, where one finds solutions, solace or simply a shoulder to lean on.

In addition, it may be necessary to get specialist third-party help – a coach, mentor or family business consultant to assist with your journey. The issues facing family businesses are unique and require a unique approach.

TIP 3 – Be Hardworking

You are in a unique situation: you may see yourself as an extension of your parents, but your parents earned the respect of the staff through many years of hard-work, commitment and reciprocity. Don’t short-circuit this process – rather show-up and work diligently, when eyes are on and off you.

TIP 4 – Prepare for Future Leadership

Oftentimes we, NextGens, may find ourselves like Prince Charles, waiting for a long time for the baton of power to be handed over to us. This can make one impatient and demoralised. Instead we can use this time to our advantage: Often, having more preparation gives us an advantage instead of assuming the throne of leadership suddenly and unexpectedly. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax”. More preparation can translate to greater impact.

TIP 5 – Be a Lifelong Learner

Consistently upgrade your skills, knowledge of your industry, wider economy and business acumen by reading books, attending trainings and conferences. Demonstrate excellence.

 

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