How to Find Your Next Business Leader
When a business leader first start out, his goal is to set up the enterprise as a future for his family. No matter where his children go, there is an organisation that will always have something for him to do.
However, what happens when the next generation doesn’t want to be the successor? Well, according to a recently released study from Ernst & Young (EY) and the University of St Gallen Center for Family Business, this is a prospect facing more and more family enterprises.
Their “Coming home or breaking free?” (2015) study polled more than 34,000 family business members to gauge whether they would be willing to take over the enterprise in the future. Unfortunately, just 20 per cent of college students said they would, down as much as 30 per cent since the last survey was taken four years ago.
Why is this the case?
In analysis reported by EY’s Oceania Family Business Leader Ian Burgess, the problem is related to the abundance of other opportunities available to the next generation.
“Not only is there competition from the wider jobs market, with young people keen to explore their options in today’s fast-moving economy, but many also feel that they need to prove themselves outside of the family firm first,” he said.
“In many ways, this is a healthy attitude. But the challenge for family businesses is how to harness the next generation’s ambitions to break free to benefit the family firm in the longer term.”
What does this mean for family businesses?
Do you remember the saying: When one door closes, another opens? This is the exact situation for family businesses that find themselves without a related successor. In fact, there may be a better suited leader already employed.
“While the overall number of potential successors may have declined, those that actually wish to join the parental firm may be more motivated and better trained to take on the challenge,” Mr Burgess continued.
So, with this in mind, how should you approach your internal search for new leader? Here are three different avenues to take.
1) Hold regular performance reviews
Identifying talent for the future starts with a conversation. Every employee wants more money and more time off, but finding those that want to contribute to the business value and hold additional responsibility are the ones you want to look after.
As such, it is important to hold regular performance reviews with your team. This process can pinpoint employees who always go above and beyond the call of duty and those workers who are willing to help out struggling colleagues. This is also your opportunity to talk privately with individuals and discuss their future career ambitions.
2) Provide extra tasks
A quality leader understands the rigours of juggling multiple tasks in a productive manner. Calm and cool under pressure, providing star performers with extra tasks is a great way to identify future leaders, according to an April 2015 FastCompany article.
Given that business leaders are crafted rather than born, it might pay to give them information that can led them to making their own positive decisions on important matters.
3) Assess workplace culture
If you want a leader promoted internally, it will also pay to consider their chemistry and culture within the workplace. Forbes in a 2012 article reported that someone who can “naturally bring positive energy and perspective into any circumstance” will have the style to lead your team forward.
No matter the personalities within your organisation, you have the trust that this potential leader can deal with everyone in a warm and friendly manner and bring out the best in them.