Growing the Next Generation Leader

Growing The Next Generation Leader | Client Success

It’s no secret that family businesses can struggle with governance, leadership transitions and even survival issues. According to the Family Business Institute, only 30% of family businesses last into a second generation, 12% remain viable into a third, and 3% operate into the fourth generation or beyond.

So, when Scott Jarden, President of The Bullen Companies, an industry leader of specialty private brand chemicals for over 40 years based in Philadelphia told me about his plan to develop their next generation leader, I knew coaching could be an integral component to The Bullen Companies success.  But, would his millennial son Alex have the capacity to change, learn, and grow into a leader with increasing responsibilities and complexities that we might not envision today?

Alex Jarden awaiting the start of Wildwood Tri.

Alex Jarden awaiting the start of Wildwood Tri.

When we started our coaching partnership, Alex wanted to be a more effective communicator, a solid team contributor, and have greater satisfaction from his work.  I knew Alex needed to approach this game of business with a shift in his mindset and be the triathlete who wants to improve at his sport in every way he can.

Within the first month of our coaching, we needed to identify behaviors and habits that could either interfere or accelerate Alex’s productivity and performance.  He chose to engage the support of Bullen’s executive and leadership teams for feedback. His request, “help me get better.” Our simple “keep, start, stop” assessment provided the framework to create his leadership development plan.

Here’s our approach for receiving feedback from the team:

  1.  Start by focusing on the positive behavior that you want to reinforce or maintain.  That’s your “keep.”  What does Alex need to keep doing?
  2.  Identify one new way of approaching a situation that you may not even have thought of before. That’s your “start.”  What does Alex need to start doing in the future?
  3.  What specific behavior could be sabotaging you from reaching your potential?  That’s your “stop.”  What does Alex need to stop doing in the future?

Instead of finding excuses or rationalizing, Alex appreciated his colleagues’ perceptions and comments to make real changes.  What occurred to me was Alex’s capacity to be vulnerable and trust the process.  So much that, this week I asked Alex, “what are your biggest accomplishments of 2015?”  With lots of enthusiasm, he said “ Being a member of the executive team; I’m on target to reach my sales goal; and a new PR in my triathlon.”

Growing next generation leaders require commitment, perseverance and discipline to continuously improve and learn this great game of family business.




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