You, As The Example

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
3 min readAug 24, 2022


Have you noticed how children mirror the language, mannerisms and actions of those around them and in particular their parents, grandparents and siblings?

Sometimes, it’s easier to see these mannerisms in other families than your own. And in your business, your children are watching and learning every moment, and especially when you are not aware of their presence.

If you were to ask your adult children what they had learnt from you about being in business, how do you think they would answer?

As a business leader within your family, you are the example of not only how to act as a leader, but also what business is all about.

We often are not conscious of how we talk about or project what being in business involves. We can, at times, bring all the challenges that occur in business to the forefront and create negative beliefs. Even just the hours we sometimes work and how we do not create time for family can build barriers to our children seeing their own business as a viable career choice.

Succession always commences the moment you start to consider building a family business. And it’s not that you provide a false narrative about what being in business involves but that you are always aware of how what you say and act, maybe interpreted by your children.

Even if you do not want your children to take over your business, you should allow them to be able to appreciate the benefits of creating their own successful business along with the challenges that it will involve.

You are the ever-present example of what being in business involves. And this extends to values. The way you live your life, personally and as a business leader, sets the example of the values that are important to you, which will be seen by your children.

So, if and when it comes to looking to your children to take over the business or build successful careers elsewhere, they have already learnt from you, the values that you consider important. Of course, there are other influences in their lives, but I believe your example can be dominant if you give it the time and presence to be there when your children are growing up.

Leaders set the example of what is acceptable and best behaviour within their businesses. And in family businesses, they set the example that their children will likely carry forward into their future business lives and careers.

Be conscious of what messages you are sending to the potential future leaders of your business — your children — from the moment they are born. It’s an investment in the future capital value of your business.

#familybusinesssuccession #familybusiness

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Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD

Business Strategist, Writer, Speaker