Letting Go

DURING the last years of succession planning, while a family company is developing and testing candidates for leadership in the next generation, another drama is unfolding. As the juniors rise to positions of major responsibility and prominence in the organization, the seniors become increasingly aware that their tenure as leaders is drawing to a close. Regardless of their particular mixture of genes, diet, and exercise, business leaders in their mid-sixties and seventies are showing inevitable signs of physical and mental decline. The prospect of an imminent generational changeover in leadership almost invariably unleashes powerful emotional undercurrents. This is the stuff of Shakespeare’s King Lear and Henry V. Both are ...

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