Preparing for Approximately 3 - 5 Years Forward…..

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By Sid Chadwick

“None of us is as smart as all of us”….J. Robert Oppenheimer Head of the Manhattan Project.


leadership visionSuccessful leadership and talent are required for successful ownership…..Talent and leadership require time to develop.

Too many owners do not have anyone designated as their probable successor. Penalties for that omission are multiple, including one less important reason for your average employee… to stay.

Hiring needed talent and potential leadership I believe requires organizational participation, which includes a thoughtful perspective of your future talent needs.

For example, “What are the forward-looking needs of your top 3-5 ‘Value-Added’ customers…?”

Examples of organizational participation:

  1. Recognizing that your organization has profound influence on acceptance and success of any Intern or full-time candidate hired, what are the qualities and experience you and they want in potential candidates to be interviewed, and possibly hired?  Shouldn’t they be involved in the Interview process?
  2. Given that you are probably hiring someone with some technical and production experience, what types of involvement with your different departments seem required – to be meaningful? In what order?
  3. Business Development competence in my opinion is critical for an owner. Learning a new employee’s background in this area is helpful, but live experiences with your organization may be the only way to provide credibility and leadership. These qualities require instruction, patience, motivation on the part of your candidate, and time. Importantly, as an opinion, these experiences and development of your candidate are critical. Address them early on. Do not procrastinate. (For improved communications, get your candidate involved with Toastmasters.)
  4. Have potential candidates visit your organization. Quietly but keenly be observant of interactions with your employees. Ask for feedback – from both your candidate(s) and your employees.
  5. Create a Position Description that requires a written Performance Review every six months. Feedback and objectives need to be clear: What’s expected to be learned, demonstrated, and accomplished – every 6 months.. (When you put this information in writing, it becomes important.)
  6. As Internships allow you to observe many qualities of your candidate, pay them for what they are expected to contribute, so that they can afford your temporary employment, and are grateful for the experience with your organization. (They can be ambassadors for your company at the university.)  Remember, this is a courtship.
  7. I’m a believer in multiple candidates, for hedging a successful outcome. Your investment is designed to develop a long-term employee, whose presence elevates the value of your organization to  (a) your customers, (b) fellow employees, and (c) to you.


Too many company owners don’t want a succession plan…. because:

--- they like being president, and don’t have a “Plan B” for their life…

--- that’s a subject they’ve been able to avoid…

--- they plan to work on that….soon…

--- none of their current employees are up to what the job requires, with its many nuances…

--- they haven’t found the person they would feel good turning their company over to….yet…..

--- etc., etc…..

Grad with hire me signAfter about the age of 55, investments in technology, capital equipment, and training….. “tail-off”….

When the company is finally absorbed by a local competitor, there’s not much left.

A good friend calls it “…a slow, steady glide into the side of a mountain.”

Our last column offered two Graphic Communications Programs – that offer unusually talented graduates, looking for a company they can move into - and earn – Cal-Poly and The U. of Houston.

Candidates… and Interviews – are available – at both schools.

Give their Department Chairs… a call…for setting up Interviews…!

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”…………..Steve Jobs



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