Meet America’s seventh generation funeral firm, NextGen leadership survey

President James Monroe was one of the founding father’s of American history and from 1817 to 1825 he served as the country’s 5th President.  It was during his presidency that David Ross began building coffins in the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, area.  The legacy of that business, the Deaner Funeral Home recently celebrated its 200th year of business and now has its 7th generation member, Lindsey Deaner, working at the establishment.

Sixth generation family member, Don Deaner, started working in the business following mortuary school in 1981.  He estimates that he has served 4,000 families since that time. . . a number he says is just a fraction of what his ancestors have served for the past 200 years.

Deaner is quoted in this article as saying, “The mission has not changed. . . We serve the living – by caring for the dead.”

Deaner Funeral Home website

I also uncovered these survey results from a Deloitte NextGen Business Survey of European companies.  It was done with 92 in-depth interviews of 2nd thru 5th or longer generational leaders of family businesses.  The 92 interviews comprised interviews from 19 countries.  I found the results very interesting and as a 4th generation family business leader myself, it was somewhat remarkable to me that family business appears to be universal throughout business type and country of location.

First of all, this short article will tell you that 30% of businesses make it to the 2nd generation, 12% to the 3rd generation, and only 3% to the 4th generation.

You can access the Deloitte survey results here.  Here are some of the highlights to me:

  • The top three investment areas going forward for NextGen leaders are expected to be 1) Expansion, 2) Innovation, 3) Accelerated use of technology
  • 52% of NextGen leaders say they will change the current “Leadership Style”
  • 55% of NextGen leaders say it is “Very Likely” or “Likely” that they will change the company’s strategy once they take over
  • 32% of NextGen leaders say they have “been preparing” since childhood.  On the other hand, 11% say that they “Never prepared”.
  • 76% of NextGen leaders say that “Innovation” is important
  • NextGen leaders say the biggest challenge in NextGen leadership is “Maintaining family values”

Family Business Related3rd Generation “In-Law” joins family funeral homeEditor’s Note:  An interesting story of being drawn to a funeral service career.

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