Construction Company Maps Succession for a Fourth GenerationLeaving the company in a better place
After three generations and ninety years in operation, this family business is a major employer and is well-respected in the community. Their goal was to leave the company in a better place than when the current leadership started their own journey. They wanted to build a platform for sustainability and growth for the next hundred years, but no one was really clear about what that meant. Continuity, sustainability and growth were the objectives and a starting point of our journey with this client.
It started with strategic planning. There was general belief that they had the right people to take the company into the next phase of growth; all they needed was good strategy and execution. So, the first step was to look at the historical data. For the ten years prior, the company had experienced stagnant revenue and profits while under the management of the current leadership team. The team lacked the necessary data to support their choices when making strategic decisions. In fact, most decisions were driven by emotions and based on opinions and gut feelings. Additionally, the organization had become risk-averse. That was probably natural knowing where the leaders were in their own phases of life; there was comfort in status quo. As we peeled away layer after layer, the dialogue changed from “we have the right people” to “do we have the right people for growth?”
It was further challenging to attract and retain talent because career growth opportunities were few and far between. Business continued to come in due to past relations, but the market was changing. Mergers and acquisitions in the marketplace were creating fewer, but larger customers. Some of these customers had their corporate offices in other parts of the country and in some cases in Europe. Past relations were no more decision makers. Somewhere along the line, the business development process became nonexistent. There was plenty of work to be done.
Building the executive leadership was the first step. Strategies were developed for growth, with focus on attracting and retaining talent. Workforce training became a priority as did focusing on mentoring and coaching next generation leaders. Additionally, a new technology platform was adopted so real time data could be collected and analyzed for making decisions. It was complete business model reinvention.
Six years into the process, the company has grown one and half times. A strong leadership team and promising and talented bench strength of up-and-coming leaders are working together to achieve the organizational mission and vision. There is still plenty of work to be done, but a plan is in place for the fourth generation to take the reins within the next five to seven years. The company had their ups and downs and they will continue to have challenges, but overall, they are moving in the right direction. They are in much better place than when they started this journey.