Dear next generation, can we have a word?

By SOCH Business Mentors LLP Posted May 14, 2024 in Family business

Dear next generation, can we have a word?

In the past 4 months of 2024, I have nearly interacted with nearly 15 next generations leaders (the ones who have recently returned from their international education and the ones who have been the part of business for quite some time).  

In all these interactions, one common theme that I observed was: All of these next generation young leaders are aiming to become effective owners some time in the future. 

And yet, most of them did not know what that future looks like or what will it take for them to become a truly successful, effective, and impactful leader.  

So, what truly defines an effective owner? 

Drawing from my experience of working with family business owners globally, I have identified 7 abilities and competencies that every next generation should cultivate to navigate their family business effectively. 

  1. Personal values
    To become effective owners and leaders, the next generations must know what they stand for, if possible even their family values as well as their company values. This awareness helps leaders to make decisions that they can adhere to, in the short as well as long-run.   When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.   Without this fundamental awareness, we believe, decision-making can be really hard for the leaders of the next generation. 
  2. Ownership vision
    In my interactions with the ownership of family businesses, I mostly found a difference in the picture of future between the current generation and the next. This difference usually makes conversations, discussions and decisions hard.   Most next generations fail to leverage their potential not because they are limited by their abilities, but because they are limited by their vision. 
  3. Communication
    Communication, we believe, is the most critical skill that any leader must have. Without this skill, it is most likely that leaders will face rough terrain in actualising their vision.  We always give this perspective to our clients: If you haven’t designed a communication structure to support your vision – the vision would not come to reality. Statistics suggest that 86% of owners and employees cite lack of effective collaboration and communication as the main cause for organisation failures. Failure, here isn’t only about businesses closing but also those that remain stagnant for years. 
  4. Emotional capital
    The invisible attitude and skill that differentiates a performing leader from others, is the ability to manage your emotions. The term emotional capital refers to the culmination of all skills and abilities that helps you understand your own emotions, process them and to leverage emotions as a source of energy, connection and trust-building in business and personal lives even. Building a sound emotional capital has become even critical amidst the lifestyle that we live today and all distractions that exist, making one under leverage one’s true potential.  People are rich in emotional capital if they are high in self-esteem, self-mange and emotional energy. 
  5. Social capital
    The expertise to create, grow and leverage social and relational capital is critical in the Indian context. Without this, businesses may be able to earn profits, but exponential growth may not come easily.  By social capital, I do not mean being nice, but being useful for your ownership, business partners, employees, suppliers, and all other stakeholders who contribute to your growth and you can contribute to theirs.  For centuries, social capital has been a natural strength for previous generations. However, in the years to come, this skill will have to be developed in a more conscious, consistent and rewarding manner. 
  6. 3 Cs – Character, Competence and Conduct
    We believe each one of us have a unique combination of character – competence and conduct. As a leader, especially if you are the next generation about the join your business, you just know what is this unique combination of yours that can help you unlock opportunities in most creative, aware and confident manner. Your 3C’s is also your unique formula and can help you differentiate yourself from all others around you.  
  7. Business acumen
    The ways of doing business have changed significantly over the past decade, and it is only going to keep changing further. As a leader, you must know how to consciously develop your acumen of business – its domain, its functions such as product, marketing, sales, finance and IT even. This development is not just limited to the skills, abilities and capabilities needed today – but also those that will be needed in the future and require you to start developing them today.  


It doesn’t take too long for young next generations to accept the status quo and accept one’s mental limitations as your actual limitations. This could be the recipe of disaster for your own future. 

Developing these competencies takes time and begins by your awareness of your current point in each of these areas.   

Family businesses who fail to consciously develop effective leaders and owners in their next generation – are unknowingly creating a disaster for their family business, its legacy and its future.  

While building leadership competencies is a challenging task, it is a worthwhile investment for any family business. 

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