The time to join a next-generation round table is when things are going well, says Paul. "Future family business leaders can learn more about the governance process of family businesses when they're not in crisis," she says. But you must be willing to commit time to the group-that's the only way to build trust and confidence among participants and become a contributing member.
Next-generation round tables are frequently sponsored by family business programs affiliated with universities-which means the family might have to be members of the program for its junior members to participate in them. But that's not always the case, so check out the family business program near you. If there's no such group around, consider asking a family business advisor whether he or she would like to facilitate a next-generation group, or form your own. The process of clarifying one's own future and learning about other family businesses outside of earshot of your own could prove invaluable.
Patricia Schiff Estess writes family business histories and is the author of two books: Managing Alternative Work Arrangements (Crisp Publishing) and Money Advice for Your Successful Remarriage (Betterway Press).