Situation: The CEO of a company is looking at her succession plan. The preferred option, from a family standpoint, is to groom one of her children to eventually become the CEO. A concern is how current key employees will react to this plan. How do you bring children into the company?
Advice from the CEOs:
- As preparation for a key role at the company, have your child gain experience at a company that has been where the business is today but has grown to a higher level. Learn from them what they went through and what they would change were they to do it again.
- How did Peter the Great become the greatest leader of Russia? As young man, and son of a czar, he apprenticed in England and Holland – in ship building and other important arts that were scarce in Russia. He was able to leverage what he learned to help build the country when he became czar.
- Have them develop the leadership qualities and maturity that they need to run this company in another company – where there is the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Bring this wisdom and experience back to the company. It will help gain the respect and loyalty of company employees.
- Have them take on tasks which are not comfortable – for example, sales. Don’t underestimate the value of being able to visit a new customer. This is the key role of the principal of any company.
- A parent/child relationship can be difficult in business. It can get tense when business, money, survival of the company and making payroll are on the line.
- The son or daughter must be aware that in a new role one doesn’t start out in control. This may be achieved in the end, but it is not the starting point.
- An option, once experience has been gained in another company, is to have the individual start a new branch of the company in a different location. This will provide a valuable learning experience and will demonstrate both capacity and success to company staff.