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© 2017 by Conover Consulting

How to Successfully Transition Leadership in a Family-Owned Business

September 24, 2019

Some of the least happy people I have ever met are doing work their parents, or someone else, selected for them. Well-meaning parents think they are doing what’s best for their offspring without any regard for the innate wiring and interests of the son/daughter. Sometimes a person may not be doing what would make their heart sing, and what they may be best at, because their parents are predisposed against their child’s career choice.  Parents want their grown children to do something that would fill their hearts with pride—including taking over the family business. 


Work at What You Love

Some of my most rewarding work at Conover Consulting has been helping people find work that suits who they are. I specifically like to help people find their work swim lane—that career that is a perfect match and rarely feels like work. One tool that I use over and over which truly touches lives of individuals is the Harrison Assessment. No matter age--young people to not-so young, I use the assessment to help them discover a career for which they are specifically suited. I understand we need to do work that allows us to provide for ourselves and our families, but if we simply do work because “the money is good” or “my dad said a degree in X was a good one to have”, all the while dreading getting up in the morning, that’s a picture of an unfulfilling life. It’s also a picture of someone who will never be truly great in their career over the long run.


I thought this blog was about leadership transitions in family-owned businesses!!  What are you talking about?


Here it is:  In family-owned businesses, as well as those that aren’t, succession planning needs to include determining who has the specific training and experience to take next-level positions, and, who gets up excited every morning to do the work? We will never be great at work we have to force ourselves to do. When we do work that is a match for who we are, we want to do it, therefore we repeat behaviors which make us better at it, and we receive positive feedback from others and ourselves. It’s an upward spiral. 


If you are running a family-owned business, have a son or daughter who loves the mission and vision of your company, and they have the skills and experience necessary to receive a promotion, that’s great news. If, on the other hand, you want a family member to succeed you in leadership and their heart is not in the work, it would be better for them and for the business to select someone else. Either way, don’t put your head in the sand over succession planning just because your children don’t want or are incapable of running your business.


Family Business Succession Planning

Your son or daughter may be a ‘chip off of the old block,’ but it doesn’t mean they are suited or even want to run the family business. Conover Consulting has worked with generations of families to keep peace in the family while growing the business. Learn More.



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