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Family transfer - listening says a lot....

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In the coming weeks, we'd like to take you through some important tips & points of interest about transferring your family business. 

Do you have questions about the family succession of your business transfer? Then register now for our Titeca Pro Academy!


Listening says a lot...

Family transmission quickly acquires negative connotations. Time and again people talk about challenges and difficulties. Rightly so, a family transfer is complex. We are not only thinking of the legal, fiscal or financial aspects. The relational and emotional aspect does not make it any easier.  

And yet a family transfer can be the perfect opportunity to write a new story and bring a breath of fresh air to the family business. Not an unnecessary luxury in a social climate where a company must cope with ever more rapidly changing circumstances and trends.  

Too little attention is often paid to this during a handover. Understandably, it certainly doesn't happen automatically and requires patience, understanding, empathy, openness and a good dose of listening, on both sides. 

Easier said than done? The following tips may help. 


Tip 1: Get involved 

Don't wait until the next generation is ready to enter the business to inform and involve them. Explain early on how the company works, what responsibilities come with it, what is important in the industry... This can be done at an early age. That way the next generation makes a conscious and informed choice once it is asked to enter the company and also feels involved.  


Tip 2: Determine for yourself how you see certain things 

While a common vision must ultimately be reached, it is certainly advisable that you determine for yourself how you see certain issues.  

  • Where do you want to take the company? 
  • What matters to you? 
  • What are the company's strengths and just what are the issues you think need to be addressed? 
  • How do you see your own role and the role of others? 

Ask that the next generation do the same exercise. At first, do this each individually. 


Tip 3: Determine common ground and identify differences 

After the individual exercise, determine where you are on the same page and where you are not.  

Consolidate the common ground. This is essential as a support base. Capture it and use it as a touchstone for further transfer. 

Identify the differences. Try to understand the essence of these differences. 


Tip 4: Don't avoid discussions 

Discussions are enriching, at least when done within the right framework. What is important here is to really listen to each other. This is not an obvious exercise. Get guidance if necessary to make this happen in a controlled way.  


Tip 5: Handle criticism constructively 

Encourage a critical mind. Don't see this as something negative. Try to grasp and understand the core of the criticism. Use this to objectively question the existing framework and consider whether it needs adjustment. Ask why and see if you can't work with this. It can provide a fresh perspective on the company and help ensure that it is ready for the future


Tip #6: Embrace the generation gap 

Don't consider the generation gap as something insurmountable. Consult with each other, explain why you see things a certain way and listen to the other person's arguments. Look at things from each other's perspective.  


Tip 7: Listen to each other 

One last tip, listen to each other.  

  • Ask open-ended questions, be genuinely interested in each other's opinions and views. Do not pass judgment. 
  • Let the other person speak. Then summarize how you understood it and check if this is correct. If necessary, keep asking until your picture is in focus. 
  • Don't fill in for someone else. Don't make assumptions. 

As a parent, entrepreneur and consultant, I realize all too well that none of this is obvious and requires effort. And yet, I am convinced that it is worth making those efforts, that they ensure that the business remains agile and prepared for the future. 

It is certainly an added value to be guided by an external advisor, who - besides the financial, fiscal, legal and operational part - has an eye for the psychological and relational aspect of the family transfer.  


Do you also have questions about the family succession of your business transfer? Register now for our Titeca Pro Academy!


Do you have questions about the impact on your business?Don't hesitate to contact us here contact us with questions. 

Wish to have a conversation about the right approach for your business?Then make an appointment with ourproexperts!