As I said above, I'm fortunate in that the founder has not yet left. One thing that he has done is to step away from the day-to-day business to focus on strategy. He has also put together a board and leadership team that supports his vision for the company so I have hopes that it will survive when he leaves.
A strong "promote from within" culture helps as well. Likely one of the reasons family-owned businesses can survive through multiple generations.
Maybe someone knows of a case where the sucessor actually did wonderfully. I'd love to hear about it.
I can think of some cases, although my background means that they are not US based. In South Africa there is company called Premier Milling run by Tony Bloom (https://today.law.harvard.edu/a-conversation-with-tony-bloom/ ). I always remember when he was criticised for having an advantage when he was handed the business by his father. He commented that you don't sit on your a** and go uphill.
Another case is the Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna (http://www.magna.com/) whose founder, Frank Stronach left the company and it is still going strong under the control of his daughter Belinda. I think she also has now left the organization. It seems that family businesses can survive through several generations before the business undergoes the changes that lead to its transformation into an unrecognizable entity.
Yes, great input on all the situations where the entrepreneur is replaced by the business
type person. It's hard to think of any that have done well after this happens.
I wish there was a better way for sucession. Maybe someone knows of a case where the
sucessor actually did wonderfully. I'd love to hear about it.
A very similar story is told in the documentary "Silicon Cowboys" about Compaq (remember them?) computers. I see it is on You Tube as well, but I recently saw it on Netflix. The series "Halt and Catch Fire" is based on Compaq's story (also now on Netflix).
@FillG Sorry, didn't mean to give you a heart attack, and I should have worded my post better....I do realise that the problem is not all on the employee's side (in fact with some companies it's not at all on their side, as you point out). But I do think that some of the problem of companies treating employees as commodities comes from some employees jumping ship at the drop of a hat for more pay. I'm lucky enoough to have worked at a few good companies in my life and I only left when things changed for the worse, though some of those times I have regrets.
I very much agree with you that companies should reward loyalty rather than chucking out older employees, and many of them are blind to the advantages of doing so (and have suffered for it). I also agree that the disparity between the top and the bottom is growing, and I'm not quite sure if anything can be done about that. I'd plump for legislation (if the disparity between the most lowly and the most highly paid employees in a company is over (eg) 25 times, then the top ones pay a huge tax rate. But I can't imaging governments in the US (or here in Australia) haveing the guts to do anything like that.....
David, this is a reply to your comment that takes us off the main line. But when I read your comment regarding the younger generation job hopping, it pinched a main artery. I don't blame the young ones for job hopping. After all, how has the company treated its employees? Like commodiities. Why would you stay at a company that gave 15% pay increases when hiring, compared to the 5% you got. It is generally recognized that job hopping is the fastest way to increase pay, with the proviso that it should stop after age 40. Who gets the credit and big pay when a project completes and begins earning money for the company? The VP of course, not the inventive, hard working engineer who worked minor miracles designing and then working and re-working problems. The VP got a yearly bonus of $200K, the ME/EE/SE/PE got a 6% raise. I am a retired engineer, one of the old guys. I am not just holding a grudge, just saying!
I count myself fortunate to be working for a company where the founder is still involved. He voluntarily stepped down as CEO a few years back but is still president and has continued to shape the direction of R&D.
One advantage that we have over HP is that we're a privately-held employee-owned company so we don't have to play to the stock market.
I haven't read the book but I have read plenty of Bill and Dave stories. It would have been a great place to work for the likes of me, or Martin, or Max. But I sometimes think today's workers don't look for the same things, they tend to job hop a LOT more for one, and the privilege of working for a great company might be lost on them (apart from being a stepping stone to another job. Am I right?