Whenever multiple generations work in the family business, The Accountability Chart™ can start to look a lot like the family tree. Out of respect for elders or birth order, younger family members fall in line behind them. This doesn’t always make sense for the business itself, though. Tempting as it may be, don’t make your Accountability Chart look like your family tree.
Your family business might look something like this one. It started with the great-grandparents who founded the business. They had two sons. The oldest one ran the business, and the younger one helped. Then they each had kids. The oldest brother’s firstborn took over the business, and her younger brothers and cousins helped her.
As the fourth generation comes of age, you see an awful lot of people on the family business bench. Some don’t have any interest in working in the business, let alone leading it. The second-cousin’s youngest child has brilliant ideas for improving the company’s position in the industry.
Will she get a shot at running the business one day?
Not if you keep following the firstborn’s firstborn lineage.
Maybe She’s Born That Way
Some family members just have a strong entrepreneurial gene. They see things differently, have big visions for the family business’s future, and can serve as great Visionaries. But they aren’t always the oldest family member of a generation.
So often in the past, the oldest son ran the business, and everyone else helped in some capacity. Maybe the sisters ran the financial part of the business or just didn’t get involved at all. Few ever questioned whether these arrangements made the most sense.
Without question, running a family business like the royal family is not a very good business model. No one should assume they’ll be crowned the business king or queen just because they were born first.
As you can imagine, this doesn’t always work.
Plus, what happens when NOBODY in the next generation can be the great Visionary or Integrator that keeps things moving? What if no one is perfectly skilled at seeing the vision for the family business or making it happen?
That happens more often than you’d think. And it’s totally normal! After all, what are the chances that generation after generation will have someone like this, regardless of birth order?
Just like no one should feel entitled to sit in the Visionary seat, no one should feel obligated to either. It only creates misery at work and at the dinner table.
A Better Option
It takes a lot of discipline, but family owners can take a less personal approach to running the business. It starts by following the ownership rules of the game and using The Accountablity Chart purely.
The Accountability Chart helps leaders define the structure necessary to take the organization to the next level. It also clarifies everyone’s roles in the business.
Then, by focusing on the greater good of the organization, owners fill The Accountability Chart with the right people in the right seats.
It sounds simple, but it’s not easy. Some family businesses make a go at doing the work on their own. Others prefer to bring in a Professional EOS Implementer® to help them.
Either way, Running on EOS™ helps owners get past emotional decisions and focus on growing a business that waters the family tree for generations.