They are key to legacy but have been overlooked for too long. The next generation of family enterprises – and the importance of supporting and preparing them for their roles ahead – was top of mind when the Family Enterprise Legacy Institute (FELI)’s Peter Jaskiewicz sat down with Steve Legler, host of the podcast “Let’s Talk Family Enterprise”, to speak about Jaskiewicz’s book.
Co-authored by Jaskiewicz and Telfer visiting professor, Sabine Rau, Enabling Next Generation Legacies: 35 Questions that Next Generation Members in Enterprising Families Ask (ENxGL) – provides expert responses to key questions from next generation members of enterprising families, along with commentary from NextGens themselves. Over several years, Jaskiewicz and Rau interviewed more than 100 senior and next-generation family members from around the world, uncovering the biggest challenges facing family enterprises today. Another 70 next-generation members were asked for feedback, which eventually led to the list of 35 questions.
Helping connect generations
In the podcast – produced by Family Enterprise Canada (FEC) – Legler and Jaskiewicz talk about the reaction ENxGL has had within the family enterprise community since its release earlier this year. As Jaskiewicz notes, the book has helped NextGens understand next steps, and has also helped them start asking the right questions concerning their involvement in the family business or office. However, it’s not only NextGens who are finding the book useful; Jaskiewicz mentions that members of the senior generation have been picking up the book with the belief they already know what’s on their children’s minds but are surprised when they start reading. “In many cases they’re like, ‘wow, these questions make a lot of sense, but I didn’t think the next generation was asking them,’” says Jaskiewicz. He goes on to add that the book has been helping to “build better bonds across generations.”
Listen to Peter Jaskiewicz’s full interview on FEC’s “Let’s Talk Family Enterprise” podcast.
The importance of legacy
Legler and Jaskiewicz also touch on the topic of legacy and its importance across all generations. “The topic of legacy came up so often in talking to the next generation, which was for us surprising at first because we didn’t expect it,” says Jaskiewicz. “It is bigger than the individual. It is bigger than a particular group of owners. And we definitely saw the commitment and motivation of many next generation groups to continue and build on the legacies that their ancestors leave or left for them.”
In the interview, both Legler and Jaskiewicz agree the next generation of family businesses and family offices have been neglected for too long, and more help and support is needed to prepare them for their roles ahead. This, fittingly, is the central aim of the Family Enterprise Legacy Institute (FELI). “It is in our DNA to enable next generation legacies,” says Jaskiewicz. “It’s in our DNA to support, mentor, coach and educate the next generation of leaders, respected family members, stewards of wealth, responsible owners and societal leaders who want to make a difference in and beyond their communities.” Jaskiewicz adds that FELI aims to become one of the globally leading institutes in the field, always working with and for families. “We are here to focus on individuals, enterprises, the families behind them and help them find the path ahead to make better decisions and also to live more fulfilled lives.”