Book Review: Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business Reviewed by Momizat on . Book Review:  Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business Family Business Review recently ran an interesting book review, by Jane Hilburt-Davis, of M.T. Green Book Review:  Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business Family Business Review recently ran an interesting book review, by Jane Hilburt-Davis, of M.T. Green Rating:
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Book Review: Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business

Book Review:  Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business

Family Business Review recently ran an interesting book review, by Jane Hilburt-Davis, of M.T. Green’s book Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business: 9 Symptoms of Generational Stack-Up and How to Cure Them.  Writes Hilburt-Davis:

Green introduces a new conceptual framework, the syndrome of “generational stack-up,” defining it as “the convergence of several generations as owners, managers, employees, and shareholders” working together. He maintains that “stack-up”—the clash of generational values and perspectives—is a big problem in general and for family businesses specifically. The reasons, he writes are (a) we’re living longer, (b) we’re working to an older age, and (c) we’re building more family businesses.

The first chapter describes the generations and their characteristics that get “stacked-up”: the GIs (“Save for a rainy day”); the Silent Generation (“Live within your means”); Baby Boomers (“We can have it all”), Generation X (“Do it yourself”), and Generation Y or Millennials (“Do it for us”). Then, in each of the chapters from 2 to 10, he describes the nine “symptoms” of generational differences and their treatment. The symptoms are as follows:

Control beyond the grave: This usually affects members of the Silent and GI generations who have been through a lot (economic depression, several wars, booming global economy), While the legacy of earlier generation is often a very positive and valuable influence for a family business, by clinging excessively to control through life and, yes, even after death, these cohorts can stifle the growth of later generations and the business.

Who’s (or what’s) your daddy?: Each generation has seen the role of the father differently, from the pure breadwinner to the jack-of-alltrades we see now. The result for fathers and their family business is confusion, conflict, and frustration, with men in the business disagreeing about work–life balance and Gen X dads feeling like they’re falling short as professionals, fathers, husbands, and sons, with zero time for friends and hobbies.

Battle of the superwomen: Women of the Boomer Generation fought to build strong careers. Their Gen X daughters had an easier time climbing the corporate ladder or finding a place in the family business—often reporting to their moms or working alongside them. Now, “discrepant generation- based expectations about motherhood, management, and other topics cause these strong women to clash, with negative implications for the business and the family.”

Meet the MEOWs: Gen X women seem to have it all but, just like their counterparts, Gen X men, they are cursed with too many choices: whether to focus on management, motherhood, makeovers, or all of them, and many of them don’t feel like they’re succeeding in any of their roles. “What’s more, their moms, many of whom gave up or limited their own careers to stay at home, pressure them overtly or subtly to take on specific roles—the ones they themselves took on or left behind.”

Read the full review here.

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