Human nature is a funny, tricky, complicated, interesting thing — especially when it comes to trying to teach, motivate, inspire, and persuade family members in a family business.
Sometimes, the desire to pass on the passion we have for the family business may not be received the way we intend it to be. And, like so many things in life, the answer may seem counterintuitive. Many parents who desire to pass on the business to their children do not allow their children to make this choice for themselves.
A Forbes article succinctly made the following point: “If you dictate a course of action that any other person must take, or else, you generate a feeling known as psychological reactance in the person you are attempting to control. Tell someone, ‘You must do X…’ and his first impulse is to think and feel, ‘Oh, yeah? Watch me do the opposite…’”
What I appreciated about my early years was that my parents never pushed me to study a particular curriculum to fit in at our family business or pressured me to work with our company. My mindset at the time was that the freedom of choice given to me was an olive branch of trust between my parents and me as I moved from childhood to being an adult. They considered me to be capable and trustworthy, despite my youth. I had gone to boarding schools and summer camps, traveled on my own already—all as part of a proactive plan by my parents to get me ready for going out on my own—and I’d shown them that I could be dependable and reliable and that I would do well.
But because of this, I didn’t spend afternoons after school working for any of the businesses in which our family was involved. Ultimately, my parents wanted me to choose my own path, and my path led me to come back to the business by my own volition.
By allowing me to have this sense of independence and giving me permission to seek out what I wanted to do and to discover what I loved, my dad allowed me to experience family first, and I chose the family business instead of feeling stuck with it. He unchained me from that by not confining me, and I enmeshed myself in them because I wanted to.
Give your family room to make their own choices. That freedom will likely increase their desire to be a part of it in the long run. Learn more about running a successful family business by visiting, https://ramezbaassiri.com/.
First published on ForbesBooks.com