Succession planning and smooth handovers of power were on the agenda at a recent meeting of young managers preparing for the day when they will take over the reins from long-serving company bosses. In this case, the spotlight was on label-based businesses, but recommendations for transitioning and moving forward under a new leader, arguably, could work for almost any sector.
Companies in southern Europe are more likely than their northerly cousins, including those in the UK and the Baltic states, to face the prospect of choosing, grooming and installing a next-generation leader. Often built on the dynasty model, firms in France, Italy and to some extent Germany, among others, cherish a long and continuing history of family ownership. The alternatives of transition by acquisition and hiring from outside come with a different set of challenges, but a strategic approach to change management comes with the territory, whatever the circumstances.
Perhaps a more daunting takeaway message for the networking forum set up by the European label association FINAT is this one – to maintain current levels of success ,the next generation of label company bosses will need strong personal qualities and sharp leadership skills in addition to entrepreneurialflair and ambition to innovate. That’s a lotto
ask a younger, less experienced successor. Who is and who is not a natural born leader, and how many styles of good leadership are there?
How to win the generation game – or, what is key to successful leader succession – was a topic close to the heart of delegates at the Young Managers Club Global Summit held in Hungary’s capital city, Budapest. YMC supports the successors of current founders, owners and managers of Europe’s self-adhesive label print industry, giving them opportunities to
learn, interact and develop management expertise. Getting promoted and avoiding pitfalls of leadership, the pain points for a named successor, how to balance work and personal life in a family business, managing expectations and priorities, were debated.
Making changes in a company begins with ‘knowing yourself,’ according to management consultants from Liverpool, UK and using a common psychological test, delegates built a picture of their individual personality. Self-knowledge can improve relationships, self-confidence, personal effectiveness and growth, manage change and conflict, Elaine Eades and Fiona McNamara told their audience.
Keeping up with technical advances is another essential for business leaders. Those relating to self-adhesive labelling were explained by Mike Fairley, industry expert and champion of a modular study programme that leads to formal certification. The Label Academy, as it is known, has been endorsed by LMAI in India and TLMI in the USA as well as FINAT.
FINAT managing director Jules Lejeune focussed on the sector’s capacity to renew and innovate and underlying reasons forits growth atrates above GDP (gross domestic product), and concluded, “Forthis growth to successfully continue developing, energised business leadership is essential, and this summit provided some of the industry’s leading talent with insight, knowledge and practical advice that they can immediately put into everyday use.” FINAT YMC president Dana Kilarksa and recently appointed second-generation managing director of Slovakian label printers Purgina, added, “We are all the leaders of tomorrow – and our task is to be better than yesterday.”