By Prabhat Sinha
Many in the world envy those who inherit a business empire. They deridingly call it being born with a golden spoon.
But ask the one who goes through the ordeal. To take charge when the father or uncle remains actively engaged in the business. Worse, when they have tall reputations. Worse still when the grandfather is a legend, revered as an industry giant.
Perhaps the young inheritor has just graduated from college, is beaming with new ideas and a fresh outlook, ready to take charge. But in the boardroom, they could be just another intern. The top executives would rather counsel with the more experienced elders on serious matters, retirement be damned. His peer group or the younger lot will never see him as a colleague.
The young inheritor is expected to be a silent observer. Instead of trying new things, perhaps they are told about the tried-and-tested practices.
The coronation must wait until the grooming is complete.
The raw energy slowly gives way to a steady pace. The many ideas and suggestions must be replaced with patience, observation, open eyes and ears.
Perhaps the young inheritor has a natural flair for one stream (finance, sale, production). But aren’t they a businessman to manage the whole?
The young inheritor is encouraged to mingle with business associates, to learn from their experiences. How else will the parents be confident of the young one’s abilities?
Oh, what a waste of young entrepreneurial talent! Couldn’t the young blood have been put to more enterprising use than the generations before?
There ought to be a middle ground, some solution, for these empires not to lose out on the young talent. Transform, change, apply, modify.
For that to truly happen, there ought to be role between the fading and the upcoming. And it ought to be carved strategically.
Perhaps an outsider is needed to bridge the gap and bring together the diverse perspectives of the new and old guard. Perhaps this can help businesses adapt to the changing times. Such a role ought to be filled, by an executive within the company, a friend, an advisor, or even a family member who is not the inheritor.
Prabhat Sinha is an established business leader, as well as a speaker, writer, blogger, success coach and mentor.
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