The Hokey Pokey of Family Business

Being a leader can be the most challenging during times of transition. Perhaps the family business is in the middle of a succession plan, expanding into new markets or trying to open a new location. It could be that you're short-staffed or you’re in the process of leaving the business. Maybe you are brand new to a role that you are unsure yet how to fill.

Put your right foot in, and put your right foot out—if you do the hokey pokey, what’s it all about?

Your family business is close to your heart, and making changes can be difficult. It’s not easy to let go, but there’s a better way to do the dance!


Help rather than interfere.
Only have your hand in when it needs to be. Let the next generation make mistakes here and there, because it’s all part of their learning process. We must ask ourselves the right questions:

  • Am I contributing something of value?
  • Do I have the resources and time to commit to this?
  • Who is the best person(s) to complete this?
  • What will this achieve?

Don’t step on toes.
This is a widely known rule on the dance floor, but it applies to the business as well. Let the incoming generation run meetings, delegate tasks and make decisions. If you are still trying to wear everyone’s hat, employees will be less productive and you could potentially stunt growth in the business.

Teach them everything you know how to do.
This one may seem obvious. The trick is to be thorough and make sure that no stones are unturned. Consider that your successors will have new resources, technologies and tools to get the job done, so don’t be discouraged if they find a new and improved way to do something.

Think about the protocol we practice as members of the CFBC. Showing up for each other, respecting each other and building trust. It's important to have absolute trust in your employees and in the next generation of leaders. Believe that they can get things done with or without you.

Learn to put your whole self in until you and the successor(s) are ready. Then you can put your whole self out and shake it all about, because you’ve succeeded in setting the next generation up for success. You will feel a new momentum in your company as roles begin to change.

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