Friday, June 24, 2011

Passing the Baton of Leadership in the Family Business

For those who enjoy Track and Field, you understand the discipline and hard work that is required to effectively compete. Track and Field is both an individual and team sport. For those athletes involved in Relay competition, they are required to develop their personal skills and abilities, but also spend many long hours practicing the hand-off of the baton. Many races are lost due to the hand-off. What lessons can we learn from Track and Field that apply to the Business Family?

In a recently released survey of Family Businesses, it was estimated that within the next 5 years over 25% of Family Businesses would transition to new ownership and new leadership and the majority believed the business will remain within the family.

When one considers the sheer number and volume of businesses that is describing, I believe it begs the question: How are we working in and with Business Families, nurturing the next generation to accept the baton of both ownership and leadership?

A disheartening finding of this survey indicated that only 50% of the Family Businesses had a Succession Plan. This sobering thought provides much opportunity and work for all Business Families. The Transition of both Ownership and Leadership is the hand-off.

One way to develop the next “leg of the family business” is to understand the knowledge, skills, and abilities the next generation will need to continue the race and help them gain the appropriate training. This training may be both formal and informal. A key aspect of this in any event, is for the senior family members to lead by example, respect the next generation to allow them to hone their skills on the job, help the next generation build their credibility with all stakeholders of the family business, and show the next generation they have the confidence of the seniors.

What are examples, that you would be willing to share, of how your family is preparing the next generation to take the ‘hand-off’ of the baton for the Family Business?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leaders in Family Businesses Should Give It Away

"Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away."

— Admiral James B. Stockdale

How is your family developing the next generation of leaders?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Be Prepared

How would your family and business survive with the sudden loss of a key family member or executive?

In a recent survey by the American Management Association Corporate Learning Solutions only 14% stated they were ‘well prepared’ to handle such a crisis. This is an extremely low percentage of businesses that believe they are prepared.

How prepared is your Family Business for a sudden loss requiring the transition of ownership of the business and transition of management of the business?

The Transition of Ownership and the Transition of Management are not necessarily the same and should have two different plans.

Let me know your thoughts, or give me a call.