Listen to Paul Darley and David Schoedinger explain their experience with succession planning. It is always important to prepare an ongoing succession plan before an unforeseen event takes place. In a family business, it may be helpful to include advisors, and other impartial professionals when making important decisions, to provide the family with an objective perspective.
We’re what’s known today as a cousin consortium so today our company’s primarily owned by the third generation. That autocratic style of a single president and CEO making decisions in a family business with such diverse family ownership just simply doesn’t work today. It’s also important too, as we look to the next generation, that we have balance in our management that is both family members and non-family members.
We’ve never had a real succession plan, people ask, you know, how have you been able to get through six generations when most businesses maximum are three generations? My reasoning is the best reason is the, we always had a mandatory buy/sell, it’s always until this generation, the sixth generation, come down to two brothers. If one of them died, the other on had to buy the other one out.
If another family approached us for advice on succession, I would suggest to them that they involve as many people as possible in the process. Both family members, advisors, attorneys, there’s all sorts of family business organizations out there. But really go out there and don’t make quick decisions, don’t be afraid to do something radically different like we did, with our father deciding to you know, let the next generation pick the leadership of this company, and the next president and CEO, and be unique.