Greg Vickers, on the other hand, has not developed or used formalized leadership training yet. He does recommend books for candidates to read, Ted Talks, and other Internet-based resources. “We have been working on this for a year and are still in the infant stage. But we have seen solid growth from the employees we groom as tomorrow’s leaders.”

It Doesn’t Happen Quickly

Creating the next generation of leaders for your company takes time. A lot of it. That is why many consultants and family business gurus strongly urge business owners to begin looking for their replacements sooner rather than later.

Jim Brown says that developing future leaders is a two-part transaction: an offer and an acceptance.

“If my son didn’t accept my offer (at first, he didn’t and left the company to become a state trooper), then I had only two choices: to continue in my capacity or try to find another candidate and start over.

“Luckily, in my case, my son returned to the business and committed his energy to help us grow. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Then the transition from parent to child has to take place, which can be very tricky. In Brown’s case, that transition is now complete.

“My son runs the company’s affairs, and I am the bookkeeper and CFO. He often asks for my opinion, and I am happy to provide it.“But two people cannot steer one vehicle, and I had to learn to let go. I had to back away and let my son solve his own problems. That was a great learning process for me.”

Identify Your Future Leaders Early

Greg Vickers adds that the smart thing to do is to identify future leaders as early as the hiring process and nurture them with experience.

“Then lead by example. Watch to see who drinks the Kool-aid. If they have leadership potential, send them to leadership training. Ask them who they admire as a leader and research that person or persons and how they got to where they are.”

“Don’t forget to ask questions,” Rob Basnett concludes. “Find out their interests and desires. See if they are passionate about them. There must be some passion. Then help them set personal goals. You now have the basis for planning for your business’ next generation of leaders.”