Soriano: Next generation leaders must uphold humility, discipline, respect

Inside Family Business
(Enrique Soriano)
(Enrique Soriano)

As we emerge from the reflective period of the Lenten season and resume the bustling routines of our professional lives, it becomes imperative to preserve the essence of introspection and renewal. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to delve deeper into the enduring values that serve as the bedrock of successful business leadership. As founders and mentors, we observe with deep concern the gradual erosion of humility, discipline and respect among the next generation of leaders—a concerning trend that threatens the very essence of our businesses.

Allow me to share a recent case study that highlights the urgency of addressing these challenges.

Family case study

A 71-year-old founder sought guidance amid a growing familial rift that had profound implications for their enterprise. Despite investing in their children’s education abroad and meticulously grooming them for leadership roles, discord emerged as the eldest son, now in his early 40s, began overturning established decisions upon assuming power. His actions not only flouted existing policies but also instigated confusion among professionals and cast a shadow of doubt over the business’s direction. The founder’s anguish was palpable: “My son’s actions have fractured our family and thrown our once-thriving business into uncertainty. What legacy will remain when we are no longer here?”

In the intricate tapestry of family-owned businesses, the threads of respect, humility and discipline are deeply interwoven into the fabric of success. However, when these fundamental values are disregarded, the repercussions can be dire, jeopardizing not only the business itself but also the familial harmony it relies upon.

The power of humility

In a world often driven by self-promotion and ego, humility stands as a beacon of strength and wisdom. Humble leaders recognize their limitations, value diverse perspectives and prioritize collaboration. By leading with empathy and adaptability, they ensure the resilience and longevity of their businesses even in the face of adversity.

Embracing discipline

Discipline serves as the cornerstone of achievement, bridging aspirations with tangible accomplishments. It demands unwavering commitment, consistency and ethical integrity. Upholding discipline ensures financial prudence, ethical standards and steadfast commitment to obligations—essential elements for sustainable growth and long-term success.

The essence of respect

Respect forms the bedrock of healthy relationships and effective leadership. It fosters trust, collaboration and inclusivity by acknowledging the inherent worth of every individual, especially toward the founder. When the son rebuked his father, it was a heartbreaking betrayal of respect and acknowledgment of the adversities that the senior generation endured.

Nurturing the next generation of leaders

As custodians of our businesses’ legacies, it’s our solemn duty to instill and uphold these values in the next generation of leaders. Through mentorship and empowerment, we equip them with the moral compass and skills needed to navigate the complexities of business with integrity and grace.

Let us heed the wake-up call presented by this case study and reaffirm our commitment to humility, discipline and respect. By embracing these non-negotiable values, we safeguard the future of our businesses and ensure a legacy built on principles that withstand the test of time. As we chart the course forward, let us remember that true success lies not only in financial gains but also in the integrity of our character and the strength of our relationships.

To the next generation set of leaders, I am sharing a valuable quote from Thomas Merton, “Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”


Interested in stories like this? Join us for “The W+B Family Governance Leadership Series: Structure, Culture, and Succession” to not only hear more but also learn the tools and strategies to navigate the complexities of family business dynamics with clarity and purpose. Don’t let unresolved conflicts hold your business back—seize this opportunity to secure a lasting legacy. Secure your spot now:

For inquiries, please contact Christine at


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