Strategy

Tough Decisions: The Next Generation of Leaders

I was recently asked this question by the owner of a family business with four sons working in the firm: “How do I choose which one will run the business?”

Wow! There are so many ways to answer this question. Family business succession can be complicated. My first response was to ask, “Who wants to?” To which the owner did not know the answer. So that is a good place to start; however, there is more running the family business than just who wants to.

When deciding who should be the next generation CEO and who should play supporting roles, let’s take a look at a few of the tough decisions at play here.

The owner may be asking several questions: Who can run the business? Who wants to? Do we have the talent? Do we expect that they will want to?

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Management Teams Aren’t Productive

Recently, while working with an executive team, I posed the question, “How productive are you?” They all looked at me as though I had three heads. Then gave me the list of things they are doing. Appointments and meetings they have scheduled. So I pressed on.

“What are you doing that is moving your team and/or the business forward or toward achieving the strategic goals?” Needless to say, what followed was a lengthy discussion.

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Our Supervisors Need Help!

We’re always talking to company owners or department heads, and one of the most frequent statements we hear is, “Our supervisors need help.” When we ask them to be more specific, often the reply has something to do with helping them get more productivity from the teams they lead.

Our question then becomes, “So, what do you want to do about it?”

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Your Talent is Going to Walk Out…How to Save your Workforce

One thing we’ve heard over the past year or two is that it’s difficult to find the talent necessary to deliver the production rates needed by businesses to meet customer demands. Many positions are being filled by people that don’t have the skills necessary to fulfill the job.

Managers and HR Directors are throwing “bodies” at problems rather than hiring the required talent to get the job done adequately – simply because the best employees are already working somewhere else!

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The future of your company is NOW!

You have a great management team. They are well trained and provide great leadership to their direct reports. They make great decisions. They are passionate about what they do and there is very little coaching needed to help them reach the company goals. But wait…How many of them will be retiring or leaving your company in the next five years? Have you done any future planning?

Most companies have invested time and resources to develop the leadership team. It probably took years to find just the right mix of diverse thinking, skills, communication styles, and talents. It is an art to find just the right mix. But how long will it last?

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Weak Bench Strength

Working with businesses across the country, we hear a lot of talk about preparing companies for the exit of their most senior managers…but sometimes it comes with very little action. What’s up with that?

When you ask many company owners who will take over for them, they usually answer with, “I don’t know! I don’t know of anyone who is like me.” After conversations like this, the action is thinking and talking, but usually no change.

So here’s what you do…

Start hiring the right people.  Hire what you need, not replace who you have.

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Peer Groups…What’s in it for me?

Do you ever feel like you’ve hit a wall? You’ve set goals for your department or organization, and as hard as you try, you can’t get over that one obstacle that’s standing in your way. Do you ever feel stagnant? Stuck in the same spot, not going anywhere. Not seeing new things. Not listening to new perspectives. You know you’re in a funk, but can’t figure out how to get out.

Why not think differently? What if I told you that people just like you are struggling with the same issues in their organization and on their teams? What if I told you there was a way to challenge your habits, thoughts, and assumptions? What if I told you that you didn’t have to face those obstacles alone?

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Dear Boss, I Quit! – Making changes for new generations

  • “I can’t stand my boss; I need a new job!”
  • “I wish I had more time off. My family is just as important.”
  • “I know what I’m doing…get off my back!”
  • “I wish my job was more fun…”
  • “Why bother? Nobody listens to my ideas anyway.”

These thoughts run through employees’ minds in almost every company. And the part that’s scary is…eventually they are going to do something about it. As someone managing employees, you may think that everything appears great from the outside. Sales are up, your team has a good relationship with your customers, and you don’t see any immediate problems.

Since there are no major problems, why change? Because even though you don’t see it, you’re about to lose valuable employees! In your eyes, things are fine. But in your employees’ eyes, one of these things could be the final straw…it’s only a matter of time.

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Your Employees are Leaving

It happened again. One of your star performers is leaving and you had no idea he was even looking!  He’s been with you for several years. You’ve watched as he’s been promoted through the company.  He’s been involved in some key projects over the years and you’ve invested in outside training to enhance his skills. But now he’s gone…Just like that! What happened?

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Who is flying this plane?

As you’re boarding your flight, you look to your left and catch a glimpse of the Captain sitting in the cockpit. You wave and nod approvingly, and now you can rest assured that there is a Captain – and he looks competent to get you to your destination safely…phew! Your plane takes off, and now you’ve reached 30,000 feet. All of a sudden, someone comes over the intercom and says, “Do we have any doctors or nurses on board? We have a medical emergency.”

OH NO! The Captain has had a heart attack. Panic sets in. You start to fidget. Your forehead is glistening with sweat. It’s at that moment that it hits you…WHO IS FLYING THIS PLANE??? You’re waiting for the oxygen masks to drop, and you’re ready to tuck your head between your knees and brace for impact. You wish you would have paid attention to all those stupid instructions that the flight attendant went over…Where is the nearest emergency exit? Can I use my seat cushion as a flotation device? You think about every possible terrible scenario as the drama unfolds.

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