At a recent meeting I asked, “What is your leadership succession plan?” After a blank stare from several business owners I heard:
“We don’t have one. What is it, exactly?”
“You’re looking at it. I’m all we’ve got.”
Family-owned business leaders are not alone. Business owners are not alone. As most FFI members know, family business leaders represent about 70% of the U.S. economy, and about 70% of new job creation. My experience is that 100% of family business leaders worry about succession planning. What about your clients?
This short article explains what succession planning is, and how OKR leadership can help your clients be more proactive than reactive. You have probably read that only 1/3 of family businesses survive from the first generation to the second. But the reason for that low success rate is because they are not well advised by FFI members. You, and your clients, can practice succession planning using OKR leadership. Think of this article as one more tool in your toolbox.
Succession Planning is defined as a process for identifying and developing your next generation of key leaders. The goal of succession planning in family-owned businesses is to perpetuate your legacy and assets over generations.
Succession planning requires OKR Leadership. Let me explain. Objectives describe what to do (e.g., transition ownership and management to the next generation). Key Results (KRs)describe how you measure that objective (e.g., assess the strengths and weaknesses of each family member and director within the next 30 days).
OKR leadership is the process for managers and leaders to practice what matters. For example, if your business needs to develop a succession plan, then you may need to increase accountability and transparency using OKRs. At many of my client companies, OKRs are written by each director and each family leader. Those OKRs are reviewed monthly at family business meetings. You may know that OKRs have driven the largest migration of financial assets and technological innovation ever recorded in human history to Silicon Valley, California since the 1970s. OKR leadership is a radical process for top-down hierarchical organizations to implement, but it is attractive to many family-owned business leaders because it works.
Millennials think they are unique. Just ask one. However, throughout history there have always been population surges after wars, diseases and migrations. So, what makes the current population of millennials, born in the U.S. between 1981-1996, truly unique? They represent over 75 million people, 25% of the U.S. population, a larger population surge than the post-war Baby Boom, 30% of the voting age, more diversity than any previous generation, and about 50% of today’s workforce (see Brookings.edu). These millennials are uniquely qualified to use new tools such as digital technology to communicate, social media platforms to influence consumers and public opinions, graphic images and visual memes, ethnic and racial diversity to describe more inclusive perspectives. The result is massive impact from countless millennials in every workplace and business sector. Examples include social protests, outrage, political discord, lawsuits, reputational attacks. Millennials are agile learners who demand to speak and be heard. That fact requires that learning managers and leaders respond differently than ever.
I enjoyed writing that article. Let’s continue the conversation. Here are 6 great resources for you, your team, and your organization.