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.”