As family business owners, we are a trustworthy group. We tend to be easy-going and get along well with others. Generally we are more sensitive to employees concerns, even treating them as extensions of our own family.
However, this trusting culture, can also leave us vulnerable to outside non-family executives who might take advantage of our unique corporate culture. If we aren’t careful, we may find our business being taken advantage of by individuals who seek out closely-held businesses where they can gain undue power and influence.
We’ll Never Do That Again, But We Did
Our first experiences bringing in outside non-family executives were horror stories. These hiring mistakes happened to us, embarrassingly, not once, but twice. The first instance was More…
We brought in our first non-family senior executive to help professionalize and grow the business. The senior manager performed his job well and was eager to take on more responsibility. Eager to keep him satisfied, and retain him, we continued to give him increased responsibility across other functional areas.
In a few years, we realized that he wasn’t as competent in the newer areas, as he was in his core responsibility for which he had been hired. It’s easy to fall into the thinking that someone who comes from a larger scale business is an expert in all areas. This proved wrong for us and we found the newer areas under his responsibility were hurting the business. We stopped adding responsibility and discussed ways to move him back to his core strength expertise area. This caused him to threaten leaving with his management staff, unless he continued to receive increased responsibility and compensation.
We decided to terminate the employee. But it was too late. This senior manager had assumed so much increased control and responsibility that they had become too important to fire. More…