Parents Care About How, Kids Care About When

Although it’s not my main area of focus, I’ve walked a few families through business succession, and I’ve always found that one principle prevails:

Parents care about how, kids care about when

Parents are thinking:

  • What will the transition of authority look like?
  • How can I increase the competence of my heirs?
  • Will they be able to pull it off?

Employers ask themselves the same questions when they’re delegating tasks or thinking about promoting someone.  Meanwhile, the heirs are thinking:

  • How long am I going to have to wait until I move up?
  • What’s my career path?
  • Do I have a future in this organization?

Both perspectives are right.  One one hand, people fail because they’re not ready.  On the other, people leave (or worse – quit and stay) when they don’t see a clear future for themselves.

If you’re in the power seat, start a conversation around career path.  If you’re itching for more, be patient and bloom where you’re planted.  There’s always a future for the person who consistently says, “I’ll take care of it.”

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