The next generation of consumers is your new target audience as well as your new work-force. Equipping your next generation with the right skills and experience, in line with the family strategy is essential for them to thrive in this age of digitalization and exponential knowledge growth, whether to take your family firm succession into the future or whether their interests lie elsewhere. Futurist Buckminster Fuller developed the exponential knowledge curve in 1982, which suggests that world knowledge is now doubling every 12 hours — It is no wonder that entire industries have disappeared over the last couple of decades! This rollercoaster is the world that we now expect our kids to operate in and we, therefore, have the responsibility to ensure that they are prepared to be champions of change.
How To Choose An Appropriate Tertiary Education
With new industries and job descriptions emerging all the time, many tertiary options that are available today were unheard of just a couple years ago. This development makes decisions around education preference extremely challenging. Family business succession planning needs to take changes in how we will consume education into consideration. Recently Alibaba’s Jack Ma announced that he would be stepping down as chairman to return to education. He believes that it is crucial that we teach students the arts, music and anything that computers can’t learn or excel at. “I was not considered a good student but I improved, we keep on learning all the time. So I want to devote most my time to this,” Ma said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.
Education has been a significant focus-area of governments worldwide. In Denmark, the government made a bold call recently to appoint a successful tech entrepreneur, Tommy Ahlers, as the new Minister of Higher Education. Ahlers was involved in several startups that changed the way businesses operate, and he is now applying that same mindset to solving the education challenge. When he took up his post in office, he spent the first couple of month immersing himself in this new role. Learning as much as he can about the challenges and meeting with all possible players involved.
According to Ahlers, while commenting on the education system: “Albert Einstein failed four subjects at school, and the teachers did not believe in him. Still, the man was able to change how we see the world fundamentally. So, whenever you see the entrepreneurial spirit in students, you should not hinder it. Nurture it, and encourage it instead!”
Job Today Gone Tomorrow
Because of the frenetic pace of change, jobs that are available today may no longer even exist in a couple of years, rendering certain areas of study a poor investment. That is why it is of utmost importance to get young graduates into the workplace as quickly as possible after studying. This would have been a completely opposite approach to family business succession planning a few years ago. Once they are contributing to the economy, they can embark on continuous workplace education to ensure they remain relevant. Getting graduates into the workplace was one of the first challenges Ahlers addressed.
Ahlers suggests: “Start with a basic education and get into the workplace! People should be able to enter the workplace and become what is needed of them!”
In Denmark, companies have traditionally preferred to employ students on a Master Degree or higher level, and by getting companies to agree to be more receptive to taking in students on a Bachelors level, they can shave off at least two very crucial years of a student not being able to join the workplace.
Therefore, just as businesses need to be flexible and agile, it goes without saying that the workforce needs to be just as dynamic. Future savy family business succession plans are taking into consideration that learning on-the-run or continuous education has been a strong focus in many industries, where rapid micro-learning allows individuals to obtain only the minimum required new skills to perform new tasks successfully. Often, more formal training options require that individuals learn skills and theory that are excess to requirements, and this can be counter-productive.
Nurture Passion And Confidence
Ahlers continues, “The most important thing for me is that we need to encourage students to be able and willing to follow their dreams; To have confidence in their dreams so that they can go out and build new companies and create growth in our society.”
The youth of today have the opportunity to leverage their access to information and knowledge to identify areas of passion and interest and should be encouraged to apply their entrepreneurial spirit within these spaces. It is the role of the current generation to adapt a new family business succession planning approach, a family strategy that will provide the space and opportunities for the new generation to express, explore and experience as much as possible so that they can thrive in a world that requires agility and flexibility like never before.