Experienced Leaders of the baby boomer’s generation continue to retire and fewer potential successors are ready to take over, therefore successions are going to become increasingly problematic, especially in family businesses. This situation is even worse in the hotel industry, as many hotels, mainly family-owned, are already facing challenges and some of them will need to be handed over in the upcoming years.

This means we need to build the experience, knowledge, and wisdom necessary for subsequent generations of the leaders to successfully run their businesses and organizations. While knowledge is mostly gathered from learning and education, most of the wisdom is gathered from day-to-day experiences. Knowledge is merely having clarity of facts and truths, while wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions. Good decisions are based on perception and experience which require time to be developed; a time that maybe your successors don’t have as already they took over their leadership roles, and need to use the wisdom from difficult times they never had, to make the best decisions for your organization. These leaders need to overcome challenges that have never been faced before and they need to do it quickly.

Many Baby Boomer business owners retiring are in a dilemma trying to figure out if they should sell their business or pass it along to a successor.

Many underestimate the difficulty of handing over a business to the next generation as not every successor is ready to run a business or maybe the business is not ready for the successor, especially in case facing challenges of complexity.    

What can be done? 

We need to help emerging leaders gain the skills and competencies of their predecessors and develop their own capabilities that were not required of previous generations.

There is no universal solution but, following below Four Steps we can ensure emerging leaders are more prepared to sustain and improve their organization.

Succession Planning:

Set-up a Process and Strategy for replacement or passing on leadership roles, and develop new potential leaders who can move into leadership roles when they become vacant within your organization. Incoming generations must understand and accept the service-oriented side of the business, culture, and learn quickly about the industry.

Leadership Transition & Integration:

The appointment of any leader to a new role is critical, regardless of whether he or she is an internal or external hire and especially when we are facing an industry-wide shortage of qualified managers. Therefore, many companies are forced to reward internally or hire externally in management or supervisory positions, individuals which are actually not prepared to succeed in that role. 

Stakeholders expect new leaders to deliver results very quickly after beginning their roles. 

However, an expert must focus exclusively on helping them develop new skills required to adjust to their new roles, help them understand the current company culture, build trust in his or her team and work closely with these leaders in order to make a great impact to the organization.

Outside Help:

Working with a business Advisor or Mentor will help new generation leaders to improve their skills, competencies and develop their teams and organizations to sustain a successful business. Transition can be as smooth as possible as advisors can assist with strategic planning, identifying needs, and delivering results very quickly. New leaders can learn and grow faster and smarter by adapting to new trends and technologies, and enjoy a better life with fewer issues, less stress and much more time freedom. Advisors and Mentors by sharing their knowledge and experience can provide continuous support to help family business and organizations grow further and healthier. Building a long-term relationship with the ideal Trusted Advisor, leaders have the confidence and peace of mind to use valuable expertise when needed and provide continuous success to the organization.

Development Programs:

Family businesses and organizations must invest in Leadership and Organizational Development Programs, adjustable to their needs where they can accelerate the integration of emerging leaders. At the same time programs must be designed to improve organizational performance and build a healthy environment to ensure sustainability and development of the business. Leaders will expand their capacity to perform and deploy a winning mindset that affects organizational change and improves culture. Next-generation leaders need support and tools to solve potential complex problems, strengthen company’s mission and create a vision for their future.

As a rule of thumb, the required time for succession planning, transition and integration of emerging leaders is a 10-year period. Long-term process is required to allow the successors to acquire knowledge, experience and competencies which will help them to grow into the new role while developing an updated management style.

As Jerry West once said,

When time is running out and the score is close, most players are thinking, I don’t want to be the one to lose the game, but I’m thinking… What do I have to do to win?