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Case Study: Developing a Multi-Generational Family and Non-Family Leadership Team

Updated: Apr 1



Situation

  • A prominent family-owned water and wastewater solutions company.

  • The owners of the company, two brothers, had no succession plan in place.

  • The owners were considering their respective children; two cousins currently working for the company, one child who wanted to work for the company, and one child who had no interest in the company.

  • There was a large generational divide between leadership and the upcoming leadership.

  • The leadership consensus from the existing second generation leaders, family and non-family, is “They aren’t ready. They do not have what it takes. They don’t know this business as well as we do.”

Objectives

  • Assess the company’s current culture and the perception of the family members being considered for succession.

  • Discuss with GIII their current position with the company and define what they wish their future involvement to be with the company.

  • Advise the owners on the company’s current culture and the perspective of GIII leadership.

  • Align the owners, current leadership, and the younger generation of leadership.

Solution

  • Comprehensively interview owners, family and non-family leadership to compile a thematic Leadership Study Report capturing verbatim and unattributed responses of the interviewees.

  • Guide the owners through the Leadership Study Report with unpretentious and direct intimate conversations; advise on areas to close the gaps.

  • Align GIII and define their personal development.

  • Facilitate a five-day Strategy Advance to design the company’s philosophy, a strategic roadmap and an executable strategic plan to align the generations and close the cultural gaps.

  • Design the Organizational Structure with the owners by aligning the talents of upcoming leadership in the areas they have strengths.

Results

  • Having collected all the leaders and managers together for their Strategy Advance, we candidly but delicately pulled out the next generation leadership weaknesses and talents for the leadership team to see.

  • We pushed both generations to work together through uncomfortable situations and to make some tough decisions on how this company was going to operate moving forward.

  • The once unaligned group began to see a consensus develop for the future direction of the company and who the natural leaders are within the group.

  • The group picked leaders for strategic initiatives and developed measures to ensure accountability was assigned.

  • The company’s focus is clear—Develop the next generation into leadership roles that are best fit to each individual’s talents.

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