Succession and the Family Firm

Succession exposes the major weakness of family firms.

Since single-mindedness and an inflated ego are often part of the profile that motivates owner-founders, it is very common to find them hanging on too long as head of the firm and then continually interfering from a position semi-retirement.

IBM survived only because Tom Watson Jr. was tough enough to stand up to the tyrannical authority of his father.

Here are some suggestions for owner-bosses.

1. Set a succession time-table and stick to it. Invest your energy in some enterprise outside the firm.

2. Widen the leadership pool beyond immediate family. Don't expect children to share your leadership qualities.

3. Don't look for a clone of yourself. This might be a time for strategic change.

4. Don't grant each child an equal share in the firm. They're not equally capable and their struggles for ascendancy can destroy the firm.

From Executive Instinct.

No comments: