Not too long ago, a client asked how he could get his family members more excited about the family business. "What would you do?” he asked. "Well, what are you trying to sell them: The business or the legacy?" I asked. He paused and then replied, "I don't know the difference."
Does that sound familiar to you? If you're the family leader, can you distinguish between the business and the legacy? While they may be one and the same to you, other family members may not make the same connection.
The farther away potential successors get from your motivation and perspectives, the more likely they are to have different understandings of what the legacy really is. As an example, one of my clients has done quite well for two generations by pretty much ignoring the "green" movement. Now comes the tail end of the third generation, and guess what repulses them about the business?