“I never thought I would leave the family business.” says the 46 year old unemployed heir of a $20 million Texas based light manufacturing and distribution company. “But when Dad got an offer to sell, he took it; and the new owners replaced me with a new CFO within a week. It was only then that I discovered that my skills and experience were not enough to compete at the same level in the open market.”
I am sure that most of us can quickly identify someone that grew up in the family business working weekends, during vacations and throughout the summers as a child then after completing school, joined the business full-time. These individuals are typically very enthusiastic and dedicated and frequently intuitively know their business. Often they see things that effect the business before they occur. Working in the family business for these individuals is a liberating and fulfilling experience. However, they may become so specialized that they lose sight of a “bigger picture.” Their expertise may become “100 miles deep but only an inch wide.”
Lifetime employment is not guaranteed in any business: family or otherwise. Too often family members assume that because they are family, they are protected and will therefore have lifetime employment. Reality, however, tells quite a different story. Statistically, only about 1/3 of all family business survive during the 1st generation and only 10% ever successfully transfer into the third generation. Family members dependent upon a family business for a career should understand the importance of these facts as they plan for their long term career.
John Thompson, chairperson of IMCOR, in his book, The Portable Executive writes that “The only job security these days is one’s marketable skills and experiences.” Thompson adds that to gain these skills, “. . . all employees must become independent, self-directed, portable and must continually update their skills.”
Staying on top of trends and keeping your skills fresh can help you both at your current job and prepare you for whatever the future holds.
REGENERATION can help you and your business plan for the future.