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Succession Planning: Mabry’s Father Overcompensates

Updated: May 28


Mabry looking somber because his father overcompensated.
Mabry's Father overcompensates...

Leaders often fail to make room for their successors to flourish and lead the business to the next phase of success. Mabry’s story illustrates this.

Mabry leaves Wharton with an MBA and starts in the warehouse of his father's business. Mabry has ideas for multiplying sales and profits, adding jobs, investing in the community, leading the industry, and becoming a significant purchaser of local goods. But, Mabry's father is sensitive about being accused of showing his son favoritism. Holding to an irrational value, he overcompensates and rebuffs all attempts by his son to transform the company. This happens for decades.

In time, his father passes, and Mabry inherits the business. The third generation arrives, and he does the opposite of his father. Mabry allows the new generation of leadership to take risks with new ideas. He allows them to succeed and fail. They even adopt a new mission statement: Building successful customer relationships, which provide its people opportunities for growth and generating a profit to reward stakeholders and build sustainability.

The third generation adopts a model where every team member who can be compensated for performance is rewarded for accuracy and productivity. Drivers, selectors, loaders, sales reps, buyers, and leaders explode their growth in earnings when moved from hourly to incentive-based compensation. They serve the customers with greater excellence. Route drivers improve their productivity and grow their pay by over fifty percent.

They have many successes and failures, learning from them all. The business multiplies in sales and jobs. Making a profit, blessing the community, and advancing their purpose is maximized.

Mabry was not given the opportunity to flourish and lead the family business to the next phase of success. Under his leadership, he made sure the third generation was given that opportunity. It made all the difference in the world.

Business leaders are stewards in a relay race. Four things must be valid for them to win:

  1. Trust - Runners must trust other runners on the team

  2. Speed - The runners must be fast

  3. Baton Pass - Runners must pass the baton at top speed

  4. Handoff - Successful handoff is the key to winning

The third-generation leadership had all four aspects of a winning relay team; Mabry had none.

Succession planning begins with conversations and grows from there. To help initiate these strategic conversations, I have created a resource to help. It is my gift to you, Fourteen Questions To Fuel Succession Planning Conversations. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

Harry T. Jones

*Like all my stories, Mabry's story is real; names and some particulars are changed to protect the individuals involved.

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