Hi, my name is Renata Barcelos and used to be a family successor of a medium size company from Brazil. But this is not the why I am here, writing for you. I am sharing my ideas in here because myself, as some of you, had a very difficult time in the family business. Difficult enough to make me decide that  I would follow my way to improve myself to, maybe, one day, be back to my family company. 

And I did. After graduate and be part of the trainee program of a big Brazilian consulting, I started my master degree hearing from my dad: “what is this for?”. After that, I was the youngest teacher in one of the most important business school in Brazil. What do I teach? Management. The same management my family was not interest in when I was there. 

 After 20 years of experience out of the family business, a PhD on innovation (and my father still not recognizing the importance of this), here I am to tell you 2 messages. First, as a lucky person with good family condition to invest in yourself, you have the moral obligation to study and think harder on how to built a better world and a better company. Second, maybe this development cannot be made under your parents house and you may have to fly away to, later, fly back. Guess what: on any of these options this is your own flight. Only yours. 

The actual moment in history is specially important for this. The VUCA world has pushed us to a vortex of innovation we cannot scape of. There is a lot to experiment and to learn. The younger generations can contribute a lot on learning from other companies – and from the market – to bring new ideas and solutions for the family business.  

 Of course, all families have their own dynamics and you may not be heard by your parents and siblings. Do not worry. Keep searching, keep studying, keep working, keep connected. One day, the high level knowledge you will have gotten from outside the family bubble will be useful. Sometimes, even to save a traditional company which has not evolved.  

If you are already into the family business – in the board of directors or in the day-to-day management – do not forget to be the pulse for innovation. Keep yourself oxygenated with newness and bring this oxygen for the company. Do not forget to learn. Do not forget that the world is immense and full of different experiences. Be courageous to the needle to burst the bubble of the family’s believes and behaves. Use facts, data and personal network to help. And have fun on the journey. I will write in here monthly so we can discuss on it. 

About the Author

BRAZIL - Renata Barcelos is the founder of Inovagencia Consultant, a firm that is oriented to the development of ambidexterity and dynamic innovative cultures in traditional companies, especially family business. She develops transformation consulting projects for companies in different sectors, including the use of agile methodologies, OKRs and business modeling. Renata serves a mentor to startups and family successors who seek to develop innovative skills. 

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