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How to Move Under-Performers Up or Out of Your business

Take stock of the employees in your company; most likely you have already mentally classified them into categories of nonperformers, underperformers, average performers, or super performers. Hopefully, you have the majority of your people in the super performer bucket, but in all likelihood, you have a mix of all four types.

As the business environment becomes more complex and even more litigious, it's important to know how to deal with each of the 4 groups for two very different and yet related reasons: Risk Management and Productivity Management. With the concept in mind that you are only as strong as your weakest member the following will provide insight into how to address those in the non performer and under performer buckets.

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Keys to Preparing Your Successor

Just as there are many roads that lead to Rome, there are many paths that can be taken when it comes to preparing your successor. Many Dealers believe operational experience in the front and back ends of the business and participating in learning opportunities such as Dealer Academy are all that is necessary to become a successful auto dealer. Operational rotations and successfully completing industry education are extremely valuable steps in the successor preparation process. However, this approach often results in a false sense of security for both the Dealer and the aspiring successor as other critical developmental opportunities are omitted. So, what else can you do to ensure your successor is adequately prepared to lead your business in the future? Here are some tips to help ensure your successor is equipped to take the leadership baton and successfully run with it.

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Transfer Stock: Gift or Sale

Recently a business owner approached me with the following: I am considering transferring some company stock to my son and possibly some talented managers. He stated, each person has made significant contributions to the business and a few of them feel they have already earned the right to some of the stock via sweat equity. He asked, should I gift or sell the stock to them?

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How Do I Build Bench Strength in My Organization?

Talk about bench strength occupies quite a bit of time in board rooms and kitchens all around the world.  I’ve read some articles that talk about the “marriage” between succession planning and successor development; and I’ve read others that talk about how hard it is to find people suited to be the next generation of leaders.  Still others present business owners and leaders with something akin to “silver bullet” coaching that can get people ready overnight.

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Living in Dad's Shadow - When Kin Can Cash In

"I love coming to work every day!” exclaimed the 81- year old dealer. No doubt and he definitely still had plenty of gas left in his tank! Energetic and mentally sharp, his idea of “retirement” was to come in to work at 10:00 a.m. (“but I stay at least until 5:00 p.m.”). As the founder of his dealership empire, he was extremely proud of what he had accomplished and still felt he could contribute and run the business if he had to. So what’s the problem? 

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How to Use Your Business Processes to Build a Solid Reputation

A client and I were walking back to my car when she asked, “When should we start to get concerned about our business reputation?” After a few seconds of thought, I answered “Well, if you wait until you have one, it could be too late. So I suppose the best time to be concerned about your reputation is before you actually have one. Then you still have time to help shape it rather than recover from it.”

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Business Growth - Why Determining the Underlying Motivation is Critical to Success

I was interviewing the 4th generation son of a business owner recently and asked about his vision for the company. He described a very aggressive vision for growth through acquisitions and diversification into other locations and channels. This kid has been in the family business all of two years! The business has afforded him a very lucrative and flexible job during difficult economic conditions. Having never even been responsible for running a department within the business, I found this vision astounding. 

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Evaluating Successors - Have You Clearly Communicated Reasonable Expecations

For up-and-coming successor candidates in family businesses, oftentimes their evaluation is not altogether objective or even reasonable. Family member employees live in a fishbowl where nothing they do is seemingly ever good enough. The good stuff they do is seen simply as par for the course. And frankly, that's often because no one in the organization gets a lot of affirmation for their hard work, so why should the "heir apparent." Yet, the errors of successor candidates often become mountains rather than the molehills they are.

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Does the Perfect Successor Really Exist?

Many people have been told about “snipe hunts” or have experienced “wild goose chases.”   There’s a funny thing about those two expressions.  There really are wild geese; and snipes really do exist, but they are hard to find in the real world.  

Looking for the perfect succession candidate is much like the proverbial wild goose chase or the “hazing induced” snipe hunt.  In some cases, the perfect candidate just doesn’t exist, either within the family or within your traditional circle of candidates.  

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Successor Development and Talent Management: What Makes It So Hard?

Companies like to say that people are their greatest asset.  If that’s really true, why are so many organizations unprepared for facing the challenges associated with recruiting, selecting, and retaining the right people in the right seats?  

According to one COO I interviewed recently, “Talent management puts you under strain because it stops you from doing what you are rewarded for.”  This COO’s sentiment, one that I find many executives agree with, is one of the major obstacles to developing talent, family or otherwise: people simply don’t believe that’s what they’re paid to do.

Whether your business is privately held or publicly held, talent management and successor development in your organization probably share a common financial thread.  In both cases, development is expensed rather than capitalized.  Now you might be asking, “What difference does that make?”  Keep reading.

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Leadership Succession - Whom Do I Develop?

Not too long ago, I spoke to a fairly large gathering of people involved in Human Resources, Organizational Development, and Talent Management.  Some worked for privately held businesses, some worked for the publicly held sector, and some worked for the government sector.  Regardless of their affiliation, all had questions about what groups of people get the benefit of development dollars.

When this topic inevitably came up, I shared a story that goes back more than fifteen years.  My client and I were finishing the definition of the scope of the development project under negotiation.  Tom made it clear that he wanted family members involved, and then he added, “I don’t have to do everyone do I?”  To that I replied, “Of course not, Tom.  You just tell me whom you want to leave ineffective and non-productive; and we’ll skip right over them.”  Tom decided to include everyone.  

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Family Business Issues: How Do I Play with My Predecessor's Team?

At some point in time, the ownership and leadership batons are going to be passed to the next generation.  When that happens, there's going to be some level of trauma for everyone involved, including the new owner/leader.  When the company becomes "yours", it comes with a team of leaders and advisors that you may or may not like and whom you may or may not trust.  If you are the successor, how do you make the best of this situation?

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Successor Identification - Create A Program for Testing Them Out!

Shel Silverstein writes children’s books.  In one called The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, he covers the role of succession development with a simplicity and singleness of purpose.  For our purposes, the Big O is access to the legendary corner office; and the missing piece is the person who sits in that office after you are finished with it.

But, before there can be successor development, there must be a successor identification program in place.  That successor could be a family member, a key manager, or a partner.  Regardless of which, the person chosen must also be a leader.

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The Control Freak Culture and It's Impact on Successor Development

As I expressed in my previous post, the deployment of a succession plan should address the organizational and family issues that can impact the continued success of the business through the next generation of owners and managers.  Assuming a control freak has been at the helm, activities would include assessing the impact of the control freak and development of plans and processes that can discontinue the inherent handicaps to the continuation of success.

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When Is the Best Time To Give Someone Feedback?

Life seems to be full of “Goldilocks” moments.  You know, the time when whatever is going down is just right.  So, when it comes to giving family members, employees or partners the benefit of your counsel, when does that magic feedback moment actually occur?

Before we talk about the timing, however, let’s mention one or two things about the nature of the feedback.  If it is constructive criticism it may actually have more weight than positive reinforcement.  While positive comments may be good for morale, they do not appear to have much influence on actual performance.  It seems that we pay more attention to criticism than we do to “wonderful, wonderful.

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How to Develop Strong Family Business Successors - Don't Fall Victim to the "Rescue Syndrome"

I doubt there will be any disagreement that parenting is a challenge. Surely anyone who has been privileged with offspring will agree. As a succession planner who is uniquely positioned within many families who are collaborating in business, I can affirm that bringing children into a family business greatly elevates the challenge of parenting. Family business is an oxymoron because family is an institution of unconditional acceptance whereas business is a institution of conditional performance.  As a result, being a parent can become even more challenging because, you can’t run a family like a business and you can’t run a business like a family.  As if the challenge of raising a child were not enough, the family business environment creates a constantly changing rule book. This can often lead parents to believe that the only hope for a child’s success comes with divine guidance toward a prayerful balance between unconditional love and performance accountability.

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Likability or Accountability - Do You Have the Right People Driving Your Organization?

In my last two posts, Likability or Accountability: Leadership and The Right People- I discussed the idea that there are several businesses I’m currently working with that are performing and several that are not. The difference between the two is that they either have a culture of likability or a culture of accountability.  The immediate differences between the two suggested differences in leadership, people, and focus on results.

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What Activities Should Be Required In Your Pre-Employment Program for Family Member Employees

 A Family Member Development Curriculum is a key ingredient for effectively bringing in a Family Member Employee (FME) into the business. As I expressed in a previous post, this curriculum yields the highest results when it is developed, monitored and periodically refined by a team that includes: the family member employee, the working parent or senior officer, a business mentor who is not a supervisor, an independent Certified Succession Planner™ and the current supervisor of the organizational department that the family member aspires to work or is working in at the time.

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Why You Should Create A Family Member Employee Development Team

I am constantly being introduced to family business owners who are just “winging it” with respect to preparing their family members to assume greater responsibility, contribute to productivity and ultimately assume a command and control position. The net result of “winging it” is that the family member generally floats around without genuine accountability and never makes life complicated for managers who would otherwise be held responsible for his/her development. Unfortunately, the average aspiring family successor entering a business has no more clue as to what they will encounter, what is expected of them and what respect, rights, compensation, benefits, etc they should anticipate than a naïve freshman entering college.

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Why You Should Create A Family Member Employee Development Team

I am constantly being introduced to family business owners who are just “winging it” with respect to preparing their family members to assume greater responsibility, contribute to productivity and ultimately assume a command and control position. The net result of “winging it” is that the family member generally floats around without genuine accountability and never makes life complicated for managers who would otherwise be held responsible for his/her development. Unfortunately, the average aspiring family successor entering a business has no more clue as to what they will encounter, what is expected of them and what respect, rights, compensation, benefits, etc they should anticipate than a naïve freshman entering college.

Continue reading
1382 Hits