Hopping on to Dad’s throne: successful immersion strategies of Daughter’s into the family owned businesses

In the past, gender has been a particularly thorny issue when it comes to ascent of throne or board room. Catherine the great, or Elizabeth I and many princess had to manage male chauvinism and persecution to survive and manage their kingdoms. Fortunately, business owners across the world are recognizing that gender is a non-issue and are seeking a family champion for continuity.  Are you a business owner blessed with a daughter interested and capable of running your business and take to next stage.  How should your business plan and execute successful in immersion of daughter into family owned business.

Insights from successful entry and immersion of daughters into family business show there are some common principles that can be easily adopted.  First, the immersion is well planned ahead. For a large automotive seat manufacturer, the immersion started when the daughter was just 12 years old. She was encouraged to spend summer holidays in the plant, know the employees and their families and develop personal bonds with long standing respected non-family members. By the time she graduated from engineering she had helped design two innovative products.  The second principle is to bring them at appropriate level, preferably closer to market. A large construction company based out of Mumbai that has diversified into food parks, hospitality and related areas, asked the daughter to start with interning for an operational excellence team that had a charter to improve customer engagement. Working with the excellence team helped her understand the gaps from 10,000 sq.feet,  get a large picture view across various functions and what to change to make things happen in the company. A great advantage was she could tag along with the excellence team to all departments without being prying. Third principle is identify respected non-family mentors who would take the new ward under their umbrage and fill in “implicit knowledge”.   A manufacturing company in Ahmedabad placed the daughter who was going to take the overall mantle of the firm shortly from the founder under the guidance of sales and marketing chief stationed at Mumbai. The ward had an advantage of learning the ropes of business from an experienced hand, but away from the distraction of royal court. Fourth, but the most important one followed by most successful companies is to help the heir position as a winner by setting them to win, especially by focusing on related non-core business. An equipment manufacturer that has been in business for over two decades, after announcing the entry of the heir apparent in a normal way, asked her to work on areas of improvement with no investment but significant revenue upside. What the young heir went on to do for the first two quarters is to build successful aftermarket revenue of their existing business. A large construction house brought in the daughter as an marketing assistant,  pushed her to go through the grinds of sales and marketing. After an year the company asked her to come with ideas for related business areas that can be pursued. The heir came up with School and Interior decoration unit  that complemented the integrated real-estate development. The two business units now support 18% of the overall group revenue and with the successful running of the two enterprises, the daughter has gained the appreciation of all stakeholders.

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