From the Crib to the Corner Office
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
For a friend of mine, the throne of the family business is in sight. While I am elated for her, I wonder how the company’s stakeholders perceive her? How must she brand herself to gain their trust?
I was amazed to
that family businesses comprise 35% of Fortune 500 companies, account for 50% of U.S. gross domestic product,
generate 60% of the country's employment and 78% of all new job creation.
Judging by these statistics, my friend is far from being alone
in her pursuits. Similar to
, CEO of Comcast, my friend has been immersed in the family business from a very young age. She has often said that she doesn’t know
where the family ends and where the company begins. Much like Mr. Roberts, she has gotten her
hands dirty at various company plants, has interacted with customers, small and
large, and has worked side-by-side with company leadership.
But, the questions remain…Can she gain the trust of
stakeholders as the company’s next leader?
How must she manage her own personal brand then and now in order to
exude competence and trustworthiness?
Stakeholders constantly examine leaders’ intellectual,
physical and emotional capacity. In my
opinion, as she prepares for succession, she must continually build and foster relationships
with stakeholders large and small. By
taking the time to build these relationships, she and others like her have an
inherent advantage over leaders that are brought in from other companies.
After all, if this approach worked for
it can work for anyone.
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