In UHNW families and family offices, priorities certainly include wealth preservation and enhancement by growing their businesses and investing in asset classes of interest—all the while mitigating risks. Over the next 2 to 3 decades, around $65 trillion of assets will be transferred from the Leading Gens, who are mostly Boomers, to the Next Gens. Some Leading Gens are even skipping Gen Xers and going straight to younger Millennials and Gen Zs.
Yet, are younger Next Gens fully aligned in values/principles with their parents or partners? To what extent are Next Gens prepared psychologically, and in soft and hard skills, to manage enormous new wealth and weighty responsibilities? Success with well-being is often about 80% psychology, 20% mechanics/structures—not the other way around.
While family patriarchs/matriarchs are captains of their industries, many (quietly) want to improve the quality of relationships with their Next Gens at home and at work. Families want not only next-level tangible outcomes, but also sound relationships and peace of mind.
For the past 14 years, I feel privileged to have inspired and guided 1-on-1 hundreds of select Next Gens—from Gen Z high schoolers to Gen X CEOs—to achieve powerfully integrated, next-level outcomes as their Ivy League/elite college admissions, leadership, career, executive, and/or life coach. Recognized as the inspiring Chief Mentor of Next-Gen Leaders and a sought-after Speaker in influential Family Office and CEO circles and magazines worldwide, I actively listen and incisively provide short stories, insights, and, most importantly, guidance on these types of subjects.
Let me highlight some of the key ingredients in the art of next-gen mentoring and succession planning:
- Start early. This will help you reduce stress/anxiety and achieve greater outcomes, relationships, and peace of mind. It’s somewhat like compound interest over time. I often see families in pain from (major) opportunity losses because they didn’t invest in trusted, high-quality, third-party help early on.
- Build family culture. In my own family (playfully coined the “MAfia”), I value unconditional love, humor, and high standards in what matters. Truly empowering family values/principles matter. I bring up any limiting beliefs and try to shepherd my family, including myself, to improve. Honest, heartful communication is key. This is one of the critical soft skills that I help strengthen in my family and students. An empowering culture is like glue. It is vital to cultivate and live it.
- Invest in human capital, including core skills. Intangible assets are just as important as tangible wealth. We are all imperfect, flawed souls. Wise Leading Gens and Next Gens are constantly learning, improving, connecting, growing, and contributing—without big egos. Great leaders know how to attract and develop the best talents and apply their core strengths. You may enjoy my related Impact Wealth article, “Succession Planning Lesson from President George Washington,” in which I discussed why:
- A top leader is visionary, missionary, and strategic
- An impactful leader prioritizes building an effective team and culture, pivoting as needed, and executing for real results
- A real leader mitigates risks and makes sound decisions
- An exceptional leader’s wisdom includes quality succession planning early on and swift execution
- Raise Next Gens right. Don’t overspoil. Overly spoiled 50-to-60-year-old “children” exist in some very wealthy families. If kids don’t have to meaningfully work, they gain no useful, positive skills and mindsets. It goes downhill quickly. I actively hone into my own family and students increasingly strong “3EQ” and “4S” (see my definitions below). Better family relationships, communication, joy, and peace often result as a powerful, by-product benefit. Given this article’s word limit, go to ThreeEQ.com to gain more actionable insights and tips.
- Welcome vulnerability. As a patriarch and mentor, if I learn that I have made a mistake, I swiftly and humbly communicate it and any lesson learned. I reflect and take advantage of the learning opportunity for my own growth. So, it is both practical and outcome-focused to show that we leaders are mere humans in our teams, including families, companies, and family offices.
Underlying all these tips is the importance of cultivating one’s pragmatic emotional, social, and leadership intelligence (“3EQ”) and visionary story, state of mind, soft skills, strategies, and execution (“4S”)—my own mentorship framework—for GREATER life-cycle impact, relationships, and peace of mind in family, education, business, and community in our turbulent, ever-changing world.
I was recently invited as a featured speaker to both the Family Office Conference hosted virtually by Family Office Magazine and the ELITE Global Leaders Conference in New Orleans organized by JABOY Productions. I moderated a panel and gave a speech, respectively, on the very topic, “The Art of Mentoring the Next Gen and Succession Planning.”
You may gain further insight by watching the Family Office Conference’s recording of my panel on bit.ly/3ildRzo. My 3 panelists were top executives at 2 billionaire families’ single family offices and a Silicon Valley veteran.
In sum, fellow Leading Gens and aspiring Next Gens: Start early, reduce stress, and achieve greater tangible outcomes, relationships, and peace of mind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jason Ma is Founder, CEO, and Chief Mentor at ThreeEQ, an award-winning family business, and is CBO at a patented tech platform company with hyper-growth potential. Jason is a member of the B20, the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community, serving on the Future of Work and Education Taskforce. Jason was a Forbes Global CEO Conference delegate for 8 years before Forbes Media was acquired.
Jason is the acclaimed author of Young Leaders 3.0: Stories, Insights, and Tips for Next-Generation Achievers (book), an Impact Wealth contributor, and former Forbes contributor on Mentoring Young Leaders for Ivy League/elite college admissions, education, leadership, and entrepreneurship success (1.7M+ views). As a philanthropist, Jason is a St. Jude Advisory Council member.
Jason and his wife are joyful parents of two happy, compassionate Gen Z young adult daughters and rising leaders. Jason earned a degree in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research from UC Berkeley College of Engineering.