Building a talent machine in the family business

talent machine

A talent machine is essential for family businesses to thrive across generations.  Sooner or later, the successful family business grows, and the more it does, the more bright and talented people are needed to lead it.  The family business may or may not need to look outside the family circle for these talents.  But most heads of family enterprises would always the family would never run out of these talents.

So how does one build a talent machine for family enterprises?

Here are suggestions on how to build a talent machine from Joshua Baron of Banyan family Business Advisors, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

  1. Start early.  Build an emotional tie to your family enterprise from an early age.  Expose them to what you do and look for age-appropriate ways for them to get involved.
  2. Design a formal next generation education program.  Especially if you plan to pass ownership down to the next generation, think about what knowledge and experiences they will need to be effective owners at some point, especially if they do not work  for the core family business.
  3. Establish a family employment process.  Many family businesses have a policy about criteria to be met by those who want a job in the company, such as education and work experience.  It is critical to think how they will get feedback, be promoted or  get managed out if they are not performing.
  4. Don’t judge too early.  There is a tendency in some families to designate someone too early in life, sometimes at birth.  I have seen this backfire all too frequently as either the “clear winner” did not develop as expected or buckled under pressure.  And I have seen the opposite wherein the person no one expected became the leader.

Source:  “Succession Concerns Hound Family-run firms,” Philipppine Daily Inquirer, September 22, 2014, by Josiah Go, page B-4

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