Monday, 10 March 2014

Succession - Transiting to generation 2.0

In one of the trade fairs, I happened to meet a first generation entrepreneur who had built a reasonably large business with a half a million dollar turnover and export to some 16 countries.

I was quite impressed with the discipline he practiced in his business dealings. Good products, home grown talent, tight debtor control, and customer centric policies were among the few I could make out in the very first interaction.

Few months later we shared a few moments and I asked him what kept him from peaceful sleep. He shared with utmost simplicity that his business was gaining scale and he was now getting into intensely competitive terrain. That aside, his biggest concern was to see his business transit into future through a robust succession plan. Even as a self made entrepreneur, he has fairly good sense of what he was talking about. He mentioned that he would want his son to be competent to take over in executive capacity; else he was fine with professional managers who could manage the strategic affairs of the company.

As a long term plan we ended up engaging with two newly hired two senior executives along with his son over 12 week sessions helping them understand the transition, and working on their sharp edges. As I write this one, the trio has developed appreciable alignment, common understanding of the issues and co-creative spirit. Over weeks, I have been getting progressive feedback from the proud spearhead who believes that the mentoring effort may be worthwhile and he foresees a smooth succession over the years. Business are built and transit through generations, and while the core values may remain ingrained in the DNA of the companies, capabilities only can build sustainability and scale, irrespective of whether they are internal or externally sourced.

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