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Myths and Mortals: Family Business Leadership and Succession Planning



Myths and Mortals: Family Business Leadership and Succession Planning

Andrew Keyt

ISBN: 978-1-118-92896-7 July 2015 224 Pages

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Establish credibility as the new family business leader

Myths & Mortals, Family Business Leadership and Succession Planning provides insights and strategies for successors of family businesses.  Successors often find themselves in the shadow of their parents making it difficult to establish credibility in the family business and tap into their own strengths. The stress of emulating a parent begins to clash with who they are and who they want to be as a leader. 

Written by internationally known business strategist and succession planning expert Andrew Keyt, this guide shows you how to establish credibility, take your place at the head of the table, and run your business your way. In groundbreaking research, Keyt interviewed more than 25 successors of family business legends including Massimo Ferragamo, Bill Wrigley Jr., Christie Hefner, and John Tyson to find out how they overcame the challenges successors commonly face.The analysis from that study formed the basis for the strategies presented here—to help you win the loyalty of those stuck in the old way of doing business, and still focused on their former leader's vision. You'll learn how to take charge without sacrificing your own leadership style, and how to get everyone on board with your vision for the business.

Growing up in the shadow of legendary family business leaders creates a unique challenge for successors to the leadership position. You cannot remove the emotional power of family dynamics from the business, but you can change how you choose to react to it. To be successful, you need to create a sense of identity and credibility, and step out of the shadows of your forbears. This guide provides strategies for doing just that, so you can take the reins and be the effective leader your business needs.

  • Overcome the obstacles successors commonly face
  • Win over those still loyal to their former leader
  • Build your own credibility, separate from your parents
  • Develop your own leadership style and do business your way

 Credibility is elemental to business leadership, but establishing that credibility is the successor's biggest challenge. Myths & Mortals, Family Business Leadership and Succession Planning helps you plan around the obstacles and avoid common missteps so you can lead more effectively right out of the gate.

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Prologue: Born in the Shadows

Grappling with the humanity of the hero xix

Born in the Shadows xx

Definition of the Myth xxii

A Journey to Generative Leadership xxii

I Am Not My Father (Differentiation) xxvi

It Takes a Personal Vision xxvii

Moving the Past into the Future xxviii

Chapter 1 Making of a Myth

How stories of heroism help and harm a successor 1

The Power of the Myth 2

The Good Story 3

The Bad Story 4

Understanding the Reality of the Myth 6

Origins of the Myth 7

Feeding the Myth 8

If It Makes You Happy 9

Keeping the Next Generation in the Shadows 11

Idealization of the Child 11

Parentification of the Child 13

Infantalization of the Successor 13

Idealization’s Alter-Ego 14

Reality and True Truth 16

Chapter 2 Out of the Shadows

The journey of the successor to lead apart from the myth 19

Differentiation and the Life Cycle 22

Attending (0 to 18 months) 23

Power (18 to 36 Months) 23

Responsibility and Conscience (36 months to 5 years) 23

Competency and Latency (5 or 6 to 11 years) 24

Separation and Adolescence (12 to 23 years) 24

Early Adulthood (20s and 30s) 24

Overcoming the Successor’s Curse 25

From Hero to Human: Deconstructing the Myth of the Founder 27

When Successors Chart Their Own Course 31

When Idealization Interferes 32

Shining the Light Inward 33

Asserting the Self in the Family Legacy 37

Chapter 3 You Gotta Earn It

Earning your way to the top 41

Your Own Way 43

Be Honest with Yourself 44

I Go Blind 46

How Parents Can Help 47

Building Belief in Others 48

Building Resiliency 49

Show Up for Work 52

Chapter 4 The Strength of Failure

Running the obstacle course of success 57

Developing Gut Instincts: Learning through Action 60

The Hard Road to Leadership 61

No Mistakes; Just Learning 62

Supporting Failure 65

Obstacle Courses 68

The Family Launching Pad: Go Out and Get It 69

The Shape of Success 69

Chapter 5 “I Can See Clearly Now”

The origins of a fresh vision for the family business 73

A Story for the Future: Mission, Vision, and Values 75

Respect the Past; Do What’s Right for the Future 76

The Rudder of Conviction 78

Working through Personal Values 80

Family Planning 81

Mission 83

Back to the Future 84

Chapter 6 Nonstop Learning

Know your weakness and improve 89

Sustaining Credibility 91

Respectfully Pushing the Limits 93

Defining Success: Future Forward 94

Know Thy Motives 95

The Necessity of Continual Development 97

Disciple of the Disciplines 98

Staying Power 100

Chapter 7 Feed the Family

Caring for relationships, caring for the business 103

Dare to Be Different 105

Heart and Soul 107

Family Assets 110

How Competition Can Cripple 113

From the Founder to the Family 114

Next Generation 117

Chapter 8 Me versus We

Sharing the glory of the family business story 121

The “I” in the “We” 123

From Legendary to Ordinary 125

When the Magnetic Center Is Gone 126

Feels Like Family 127

More than Money 130

Dream Weaver 132

The Brick Wall 132

Re-Generation 133

Chapter 9 Decisions, Decisions

Decisiveness amidst ambiguity 135

The Great Differentiator 138

Cutting the Gordian Knot 139

One Decision after Another 141

Failure Makes the Business Hero 142

Trap of Perfectionism 143

Think and Do: The Decision-Making Process 145

Must-Have Courage 145

A Sense of Where You Are 147

Reorientation 148

The Orientation-Locked Family 149

A Decisive Workforce 150

Willing to Fail 151

Chapter 10 The Inner Light

A plan to illuminate a successor’s path 153

The Need for a Personal Strategic Plan 154

A Plan to Differentiate 156

True North 158

Values 159

Mission 160

Action Plan 161

A Flexible Plan 162

Let There Be Love 163

Let There Be Light 164

Epilogue: Stepping out of the Shadows and into the Light of Your Leadership 167

Identifying the Myths 167

Self 168

Building Internal Credibility 169

Building External Credibility 170

Appendix A Research Note 173

Appendix B A Generative Retreat: 1/3 Activity (Body), 1/3 Reflection (Self), 1/3 Planning (Future) 175

About the Author 177

Index 179

“It is a slim but fascinating book” (Forbes, October 2015)

“Who is it for: Next gens, or indeed anybody who wants to understand the big beasts in business dynasties and what makes them tick” (Business Family, February 2016)