My father was a government officer under the administrative service and his retirement age was 58. He was pretty young when he retired. He was already into his writings and got involved in it. These days, people retire mostly at 65. A clean 7 years more. What about people like me who have invested last 30+ years into building, creating, developing, failing, re-building, growing, stabilising……an enterprise, in a truthful, professional manner and given it all you could. The enterprise over all these years has grown manifold and diverse. More difficult still in my case, as both my sons, joined my business and I had to fix several things, like their roles, responsibilities, reporting structure, positioning, work ethics, culture, relationship with people and accountability among others. All these take time, energy, astuteness, understanding and make things happen in a manner which becomes acceptable to most by and large.
In my Dad’s time, the retirement age being 58, had a reason. I kept thinking on these, as I was going through that period in my life. We use a word loosely “generation gap”, which I have used with my Dad’s thinking against mine and now with my son’s thinking against mine. I have now realised, those situations happen, as over several years you have learnt to do things in a particular way and you have been hugely successful. So, maybe you continue to do the same way over years. In business, at times it is also not possible to disassociate with everything you do, so there will be interventions, overlaps, mostly at some stages in decision making. There is also this issue of “over exposure” in all matters with your sons, which in modern day’s jargon, looks fine with the concept of a horizontal structure, but that comes in the way, particularly when there are issues of personal interest.
A family business enterprise has one major strength, which is its primary weakness too, because apart from professional understandings, “emotions” come into play in addition and that is very difficult to address. A combination of professional issues, getting mixed with emotions, creates complexities in decision making and deliberation. This can take serious proportions as days go by, but the emotional bond tells you to forget and forgive and go on, though it leaves a taste which may not be palatable always. This is perhaps the single most important reason felt, perhaps there should be a transition at 58 years, and now it has come to 65 years.
It is good to exit from all generational gap points as early as possible. Particularly for families which is also working in the same environment. What is the reason? The work data points have changed. The organisational structure has changed. Priorities have also changed. So, the organisation which has this mix comes under attack on priorities and ways of operation. The work culture, relationship dynamics at work, all have changed and both the generations keep making adjustments to be together at work, with one single policy for employees, but there will be occasions and situations where there is bound to be a different approach.
The new generation has a future. They are looking ahead in life and expected to do so. They must get the priority. So, whenever the earlier generation feels, that this is happening at a regular interval and is creating professional approach disonance, the earlier generation must QUIT. Quit gracefully with dignity and genuinely handing over all decision making responsibility, financial responsibility, collaborative and administrative responsibilities to the next generation. Create a new, different vista for self and move on.
Possible? Ofcourse it is. Difficult? Sure, it is. But that is the right way.
MOVE ON WHEN YOUR TIME IS UP…………
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