The entitlement virus
Through the success of his business, Thom has been able to more than adequately provide for his three children. He supported them through college and helped the girls get established in their first homes. Thom would like to see his business be a true family business, although to date only his eldest daughter, Cathy, and his daughter Diane's husband Brian have shown any interest in being involved.
Right now Thom is very upset that the kids are more interested in what shares they have in the business, and, in the case of Derek the youngest, how he can get a cash advance on those shares to finance his own business venture. "Who do they think they are," rages Thom. "It's my money, I made it."
Seemingly, the kids all have a heavy dose of the 'entitlement virus.' They know they have shares of some sort and expect that any loan from Thom is merely an advance on the inheritance that will eventually come their way.
Thom has never explained to his kids exactly what level of ownership they have. Add to that the fact that Thom does not share his rationale around the future of the business with the rest of the family, it's not surprising that the kids do not have the level of buy-in that Thom expects from them.
Unfortunately for all of them, Thom doesn't realize that he is hugely responsible for the sense of entitlement the kids have seemingly developed.
When a business leader holds all the cards close to his chest, the next generation will more often than not focus on what little piece of the puzzle they do have 'ownership' of.
So when Thom tells the kids to leave the operating issues of the business to him, the kids are left with only two things to think about: What is my share value? When do I get my dividend cheque? Both questions focus on: What's in it for me?
In other words, because Thom doesn't let the kids connect to the business strategy, they have no choice but to act like any other normal investor and focus on their income from the investment, and how or when that investment can be converted into cash.