July 11, 2012
In April I had the pleasure of attending the FCSI The Americas Conference in Kansas City, Mo. In one of the sessions, consultants, allied members, students and the media had an open discussion about “what keeps you up at night?” Succession planning came up pretty early in the conversation.
In our industry, we tend to stick around for decades! And why not; this is a wonderful industry. With every passing year and every experience we gain, the prospect of trying to teach some new, younger person what we know becomes more and more daunting. Who has the time to really train someone right? How can you possibly entrust your business to a neophyte who hasn’t learned all the nuances, the history, the processes or industry politics that you just know?
“It’s like trying to shoe a running horse.”
That’s a quote from David Foster, a consultant friend whose comments during that FCSI session really got me thinking. He hired a wonderful young woman, Amber, four years ago, and far from bemoaning the difficulty of training her for the job, he wanted us to know what he’s learned from her.
“If they’re bright and have genuine interest, younger hires bring a refreshing new perspective to your business,” he says. “They question why you do things the way you do, they adapt to change more quickly and their ability to navigate emerging technologies is simply intuitive.” With his succession plan in place, he’s sleeping better these days.
Now we’re embarking on our own succession plan and as I take up the day-to-day running of Foodservice Equipment Reports in addition to producing FCSI The Americas Quarterly. I’m in the midst of adding some bright young talents to our team of seasoned veterans. We will take the time to teach them the business; and I am certain they will teach us as well. I can’t wait