HEIRS OF FAMILY BUSINESSES
The challenge of being the protagonist of one’s own story
The aim of this work is to propose a reflection on the theme and provide the tools that heirs need to strengthen their emotional muscles and so take hold of the reins in their lives
Among other things, they need the approval to be who they are. This may seem simple, natural even. But, sometimes it can take a lifetime to achieve. They need to fight a lot to keep from having their journey from being harmed or hijacked. In the majority of cases, they are accomplices to those negative influences rather than protagonists in their own lives. They grow up hearing about the company and the unfailing qualities of its founder, who becomes a legend. Their world becomes limited to that and their horizons curtailed
inexistent. Most of them believe there is only one path open to them, one place to work at: to take up the family business. They were born to follow in the footsteps of the empire built by their father or grandfather. Once adults, they often feel empty, sad, lacking a purpose in life. They question their identity. Many do not even develop the competence to earn a living independently of the family business.
The process of learning and identification based on the family’s communication patterns
...by understanding some behavioral mechanisms, one can see others in a different, more careful and comprehensive light.
It is common within families that “to maintain family unity, one must avoid conversations about the ‘family taboos’ – themes that might cause conflict and misunderstandings”. Members of these families therefore fail to develop the ability to establish and deal with adverse situations, in turn becoming more fragile and vulnerable to ruptures in their relationships, which can often be irreversible.
This work uses an understanding of certain behavioral mechanisms to help family members to see each other in a different, more careful and comprehensive way. This process of reflection allows for interpersonal situations poorly resolved in the past to be given new meaning based on a healthier and, therefore, more productive basis. The result is a notable increase in the family members’ chances of improving their ability to communicate and relate to each other. It is a learning process that identifies the communication patterns of the family, the other and oneself.