There are many answers to this, depending on each respective business and the dynamics of each respective family. Having said that, one overwhelming issue that came up again and again from both generations was communication. The older generation not always expressing to the younger generation the status of the business, the liabilities, the exact nature of the income and expenses and how the business is conducted as a whole. The younger generation not communicating their expectations, their thoughts and ideas on growing the business or their desire to know more about the ins and outs of the entire business. In failing to communicate these things, each generation is disadvantaging the business by removing from the business two important elements:
the passing on of wisdom, in a way that occurs over time and in an educated fashion, and allows a younger person to grow and develop in, and with, the business; and
a loss of the injection of youthful enthusiasm and ideas into the business.
While these problems are not always universal, it is also not uncommon for parents to focus very much on growing the business in a way that they think will benefit the next generation, with little long term planning given to how their retirement will be funded when they exit the business. In addition, children often want to try to meet what they see as their parents' expectations, without ever actually asking their parents what their expectations in fact are, or expressing what the children actually want.
Therefore, what was clear from the succession roadshow is that the very first step of any succession planning needs to be for all parties involved to identify first and foremost as individuals what it is that they want, both in the business and in life. Without an understanding of what it is that they want, it is impossible to appropriately plan for it, and ascertain whether what is wanted can be achieved during the succession process. You cannot set goals to achieve anything in life without knowing what it is you actually want to achieve.
In summary then, the best approach to starting a succession plan for rural families is for each family member to identify what it is they want and communicate that, openly, honestly and without judgment, with all the stakeholders in the business. Then a flexible plan can be put in place to achieve the aims that work for everybody if those "wants" are achievable. The more planning, time and communication that is put into the succession process, the more likely that the two main aims of family harmony and financial security will be achieved. Ultimately, each generation wants the same thing, and with proper communication and planning, achieving that does not need to be difficult.