FEATURE
LEADERSHIP
KEY TO
BUSINESS
GROWTH:
New Leadership
Paradigms
22 INDUSTRY TODAY
HEN A NEW VENTURE
is just a twinkle in
their eyes, most busi-
ness founders don’t
realize that their lead-
ership assets likely won’t meet the chang-
ing needs of their expanding enterprise.
Realities of leadership and ownership
succession were clear in the observation
of one specific company.
Richards Corporation: An Example
Take the Richards Corporation, for ex-
ample. Sustained success brought this
family-owned aerospace products man-
ufacturer to a critical juncture.
Stan Richards, who was chairman and
a long-term owner of the business, fore-
saw the need to transform the leadership
team to sustain the organization’s growth
and better position the company to ac-
commodate his family’s eventual, suc-
cessful exit. This included an agonizing
acknowledgement: A positioned leader-
ship team might not be the right team.
As such, Richards hired new execu-
tives – to enhance the close-knit staff (a
big asset). On an exit note, Richards ob-
served, “It was important for me to deal
with my real value in this changing enter-
prise – as non-executive chairman.”
This involved a hard realization. “Going
forward, I knew I was not the right guy to
be CEO,” he says. “Sure, it would
have been easier to stay the course. But
playing the right game with the wrong
team would have eventually forced us to
the same decisions, but on someone
else’s terms.”
From that recognition, The Richards
Company engaged new executives
who repositioned the business for
accelerated growth. Subsequently, the
company became an appealing property
for a business suitor who acquired
the company on mutually beneficial
terms. Additionally, the new executives
were retained (and even through the
recent recession, the unit’s profitability
was sustained).
INDUSTRY TODAY 23
FEATURE
LEADERSHIP
Ventures – both new and old – need
forward-thinking leaders, both humbled by
and respondent to prevalent challenges.
True, that’s a difficult equation, but solvable –
as examples demonstrate.
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