Trust Fund Babies (Part 2)

Entrepreneurs struggle with entitlement so I want to start with a quote from Jeff Faulkner as he warns business owners of the evils of entitlement:

“Entitlement issues are rampant in family owned businesses. It is a stealthy and dangerous disease that can have a widespread and prolific impact on our business culture, as well as at home. How do we keep it from becoming an epidemic in our business and family lives?”

The Twin Evils

Entitlement and the next generation “owner mentality” are the twin evils that every parent or senior business owner has an obligation to resolve. This apparent role confusion is a real danger and must be nipped in the bud before it goes out of hand.

If this behavior is not rectified and managed immediately, it can become a major source of conflict. I am connecting this article to the previous two columns I wrote about a father and son conflict (Fighting for the Throne Part 1 and 2) where the issue of entitlement reared its ugly head.

The Untouchable Red Bull Heir

Almost five years have passed and the heir to the Red Bull fortune, Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, 32, has remained scot free and continues to stonewall prosecutors.

According to news reports, shortly before the break of dawn on September 3, 2012, a black Ferrari driven by Vorayuth allegedly slammed into a motorcycle cop, dragging his mangled body along a Bangkok street, before speeding away.

It only took just hours to locate him as investigators followed a trail of dripping brake fluid into the gated estate of one of Thailand’s richest families.

Within weeks of the accident, Vorayuth was back to enjoying the kind of lifestyle he has gotten used to. He flies around the world on Red Bull jets, cheers their Formula One racing team and keeps a black Porsche Carrera in London with a custom designed plate: BO55 RBR. Red Bull Racing.

Vorayuth’s grandfather co-founded the energy drink with his Austrian partner in 1987. Today, Red Bull is sold in 170 countries and has race cars, jets and sponsors extreme sports. Vorayuth’s father, Chalerm is estimated to be worth closed to US$10 billion.

The Thai people have criticized the delays and the privileges enjoyed by Thailand’s wealthy class. Vorayuth continues to evade charges to this day and still flaunts his playboy jet set lifestyle.

He personifies what parents fear when they hand over the business to the next generation family members…heartless, spoiled and nary any accountability.

What is Entitlement?

The first step is to understand the meaning of Entitlement. Merriam-Webster’s defines it as:

▪ The condition of having, to have, do, or get something

▪ The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)

That last definition, the feeling or belief that one is deserving of or entitled to applies to family members joining the family business. Another similar definition refers to a sense of being “owed” such benefits as: wealth; employment; and status without having to work to achieve these benefits.

Some children who grow up in a successful family business can be inclined to this feeling of entitlement and most often than not do not contribute anything positive to the business. They have a tendency to “lord” it over the employees and often expect employees to “live to work” – while they (family members who are employed) take a lot of vacation days.

To be continued…

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