With their ear buds and smart phones, young millennials are omnipresent; constantly in touch with the world and each other, sharing information and experiences, and adopting new technology at a fast pace. Also known as members of the elusive Generation Y, they think with their hearts, overflow with ideas, are ready to change and innovate, want to get things done and overcome the deficiencies of the past generation. They are exciting and enervating to some, to others they represent a threat to the status quo. In the family business they are your kids, and when they voice all sorts of new directions, as an elder, you see their impatience and impulsiveness. A clash is almost inevitable, but how the family manages the welcome, inclusion and engagement of this next generation can spell success or disaster for its future. In this article, Prof. Dennis T. Jaffe who is a global family consultant, author of “Stewardship in Your Family Enterprise”, and currently working on a study of centenarian family enterprises, explains in this article how generation clashes occur everywhere, but that in the case of the family enterprise they need active attention.

Millennials have many options when entering the working world: from banding together to set up exciting start-up ventures to joining established businesses, Generation Y is known to follow its passions. This means that when family elders make the traditional assumption that the members of the next generation readily want to join the business, they may underestimate the many choices young people have nowadays and miss out on doing the necessary to attract their own millenials.