It’s easy to imagine how birth order impacts a family – picture your own childhood kitchen table or home growing up. How each personality fits into a business structure, though, can be tricky. For the sake of our conversation, I believe it is important to understand birth order as it relates to family health and making the business prosper and grow.
As a founder preparing to transition your company, you should first take into consideration your own birth order and resulting management style. Birth order doesn’t just apply to your children – it influences your personality as well.
For the 2nd generation ownership with multiple family members (3+), there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
- Is one child being given real control or is the responsibility being shared?
- Who will be taking over the C level roles for each department? If no one is qualified, of course, who are you bringing in?
- Use your understanding of birth order to ensure that your family members are put in a position to succeed
- Few things are uglier to see than watching a salesperson try to organize accounting department or an operations person leading a sales presentation
The oldest is the most practical choice to assume the most influence, decision making, and responsibility in the company, even with equal equity partnerships among siblings. Sometimes, this is a great fit, and the whole organization benefits. In other cases, though, this can cause conflict among siblings, the family and the business. If the oldest child is given this great responsibility to lead a company, it is important they are ready to lead. You need to make sure that your oldest has the innate and learned skills to lead and not just provide this great responsibility due to age.
None of us can change our birth order but we can all use it as an advantage for the business and family. I believe it is important for anyone working in a family-run business to understand your specific birth order and its impact on the organization, its profitability, and the overall happiness of the family.
– Vincent Finaldi
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