How to deal with inter-generational succession

Ed said (a phrase that will become a staple of Prime Minister’s Questions & the red tops) that his elevation was the end of New Labour and the takeover by a new generation. All suggestive of meaningful change to come.
Nowadays, inter-generational continuity is a dangerous policy as it suggests continued relevance of the current business model.
Most of us who have built successful businesses will have endured the turbulent adolescent and growth phases when survival was uncertain. Our objective was to reach that plateau of stability, where the rate change reduces and we are able to harvest the rewards of those early years of struggle.
Psychologically, owner managers want to capitalise on their work but are often reluctant to “risk the farm” on another adventure.
Transformative or revolutionary change are the province of the newcomer – the next-generation owner who must earn his or her right of passage not by building on the foundations of predecessors but by embarking on their own phase of risky adolescence. Progress largely depends on this appetite for risk and change.
Smooth transitions between generations should not be seamless. The new is heralded mainly be the abandonment of the current (after all, that’s why the leaves fall in autumn). It’s a natural phase that should not be resisted.

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