Philip Mackeown is a leadership coach and mentor for family business owners and family business successors.
He previously held positions as manager, head of the Family Council and Family Director within his family business, over a 25 year period.
He is currently writing a book on successor talent development within business owning families.
This is the final article in the planned series of four, in preparation for the 18th Campden Wealth European Families in Business Forum in Berlin, Germany on 30-31 March, 2022. My prior articles—written for successors—addressed in turn the issue of successor value and the support successor's need to put in place to smooth succession over time.
At a family business conference, several years ago, I had the good fortune to hear speak the senior family member and then president of the fourth generation Italian fashion house, Ermenegildo Zegna. In reply to a question on where he spent his time, he identified three areas of personal priority.
Picture yourself as a successor, recently arrived in a foreign market with no clear job description, no clarity on why you are there and a suspicious local management team. Your brief is to 'Find your own way and make a difference' in a company with €1 billion plus sales and a track record of minimum active family involvement.
Do you know what your value to the family company as a successor is? If you are considering joining, do you know under what conditions your value might be at its maximum? Are these questions important?
In a recent family business event, a couple of young family business owners were asking questions around their role, finding their place and their individual voice. Questions motivated by their respective positions as heirs, beneficiaries, descendants, inheritors and ‘next-in-line’.
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