It’s not uncommon to see family businesses in which the founder or leader plays such a public role that they become “iconic.” Often, the lasting effects of an iconic founder can stretch beyond his or her impact on the family to thwart the growth of the business going forward. An icon can cultivate and leave behind a “workforce of the past,” with loyal long-term employees defaulting to the icon’s preferred ways of managing at the expense of fresh ideas. They can nurture a culture of “yes” people rather than independent thinkers, and drive creative next-generation family members away from the business into their own endeavors where they have more control. When family members recognize the complexities of having a truly iconic founder, they can feel trapped. But there are steps they can take to prevent an iconic founder from overshadowing the next generation’s chance to grow and…

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