debrief

The Mission Objective

To grow and sustain a successful and profitable family business.

The Mission Profile

A sole proprietor precision machine shop in Texas. It grew to about 60 employees, mostly craftsmen running manual metal working machinery. The two sons worked as apprentices until they finished college. The boys were being trained to take over the business. They retained my company to implement effective quality management processes and self-directed work teams.

The Flight

The sons took over operations and engineering. They implemented our quality management system and began making changes based on new metrics of performance. Craftsmen began retiring. The sons replaced manual machines with computerized work stations and started hiring “machine operators.”

Houston, We Have a Problem!

The founder resisted any type of change. He refused to define and document his vision, mission and values to the sons or the organization. Family feuding became commonplace and visible to customers and employees. Class warfare broke out between the craftsmen and the machine operators. Quality deteriorated. Sub-organizations formed and disregarded operational procedures and training. Customer rejects became commonplace. The founder retired and left the sons fighting for control. The company gradually fell apart.

Think Outside the Globe

Family businesses that intend for future generations to carry on the legacy of the founder must define a master flight plan that creates a vision, mission, set of values and scalable growth plan. The successors must not only become experts in the products and services, but they must seamlessly continue the vision, mission and values while implementing the scalable growth plan, and revising it as conditions change. Infighting among the generations creates a dysfunctional environment and undermines what made the business great.

Create your personal mission plan and live it every day. Communicate it and model it for everyone. Measure results and be accountable to yourself, your customers and your employees.