I believe that this is at the core of every single achievement in life. You have to be proactive; you have to make things happen. Successors that wait for others to take the lead in the succession planning process, will most likely wait forever!
Educate yourself (about yourself, your business and the world)
I don’t mean only formal education (degree, MBA…), but keep on learning at every opportunity about:
Who do you know you are? What do you really want? Do you have what it takes? Can you develop the skills you are missing? Do you want to? Are you willing to pay the price to succeed? Know yourself and keep improving!
Your Family Business:
What kind or business are you really in? Bus Company or transporting passengers? Have you SWOT it? Where is the industry going? Where is the business going?
What is going on the in world and how does affect you and your business? How is people behavior changing? Keep an eye on the impact of technology.
Pursue work experience outside the Family Business
Get out of the house and work far away from home where nobody knows you. It is hard to be a nobody… but with time and effort, you will survive and thrive!
Re-Shape family communication
It is time to talk about the elephants in the room. Be assertive, positive and eliminate blaming. The formula, describe situation + state how it makes you feel+ ask for what you want= clear, effective communication! Use it! It works!
Out and about
Go to networking events for Family Business, for Next Generation, for your Industry, from your University… don’t forget to network online and keep in contact. Learnt from others, find a peer group and a mentor that can inspire and support you. Face it! You cannot make it alone!
Act as a leader
Look for opportunities to hone your leadership skills. If you are not leading a team or a project currently, look for a volunteer organization that can provide you that opportunity. Or even better, create one!
Create your own business
I believe that working outside the Family Company not only gives you credibility but it is great for your self-esteem. If you create your own business, no matter how small, your self-esteem will soar. It will also help you to understand better the 1st generation. It is an unbeatable learning opportunity and if you are really good at it, it may produce the cash you need to buy your Family Business out!
What ever you do think about how it fits in your long-term plan of leading the Family Business. Are you gaining skills in your current job that will be useful in the future? Are you creating a company that could be integrated in the Family Business?
If you are already working in your Family Business, get involve in strategic decisions and work with the senior generation to define future strategies that fit with your passions and competencies.
Impersonations do not work!
Don’t try to be a copycat of the senior generation. Have your own voice and your own leadership style.
Be vigilant and active about where you can take the Family business applying your personal passions and skills.
What is your value proposition? What do you bring to the table that nobody else does? Why should you be the Family Business successor? Create your own Family Business succession plan having the above questions into account. Be realistic, not only about yourself and your capabilities, but also about the senior generation and other Family members concerns and resistances.
Consider the possibility to buy your Family Company and educate yourself about ways to finance the operation.
Expect great things to happen
Be positive, celebrate your successes and learnt from your failures. Be patience, believe in yourself and keep going no matter what. Expect great things to happen and they will happen!!!