Dilemma in generational change - traditional values vs. digital world?


How can traditional values be combined with the digital world without selling the "soul of the company"?

Many owners of family-run businesses are currently facing this challenge. These decision-makers, most of whom belong to the post-war generation, are in the process of preparing for the generational change and are faced with a significant area of tension:

How do I transport digitalisation with the associated values of modern leadership into my tradition-rich company?

A crucial task for entrepreneurs in this phase is to arrange their own succession at an early stage. In doing so, you should deal with the following questions:

  • How do I want to arrange my succession? Through my own family or an external appointment?
  • What is the economic situation of the company? What is the current market situation? And the associated decision: Restructure or manage?
  • If I decide on a family appointment: How do I appoint my successor? How do I build her/him up step by step, also with regard to the strategic external and internal presentation? In what time frame should this take place?
  • In the case of an external appointment: How do I communicate this internally or externally? Which consultant with which expertise do I call in? Here, too, it is important to clarify the timing and the strategic orientation of the company. Another question is: How do I tie the external manager to the company? (through participation or similar)

Nicolaus von Heyden-Linden is an executive search consultant at division one. His focus is on medium-sized family businesses and corporate groups. This makes him a companion for optimal succession planning when owners retire from the business and at the same time a witness, mediator and observer in the generational change. He acts as an important sparring partner in this entrepreneurial decision-making process and knows the obstacles, conflicts and fears when the final decisions are about to be made:

"Where do I go from here with my company?"

His experience: Succession planning is often complicated by the different, also generational, levels of experience, backgrounds and perspectives of the job holders and the new candidates - a frequent cause is the lack of understanding towards the other person - be it one's own family or external managers. This is further complicated by the right of family branches, advisory boards, foundations or banks to have a say, which is why law firms or management consultancies are usually involved in the decision-making process of succession planning.

Personnel consultants like von Heyden-Linden accompany this process from start to finish with many years of experience and expertise. The prerequisite for successful cooperation: a 100 percent basis of trust, communication and discretion between the consultant and the owner.

Go back