After 27 years of leading Grandview, Al Blanchard is intent on retiring from his position as President. After Al announces his plan to retire on New Year’s Eve, the family is forced to come up with a succession plan. At the time of the announcement, the company did not have a succession plan in place. Al and his brother Morris are now fraught with concerns about who will lead Grandview in the future. They sought help through their friend Peter Franklin and established an appointed committee to determine the next leader of Grandview Industries.
Since the family dynamics are so complex and saturated with personal agendas and conflicts of interest. Although Peter is the chair of the succession committee, Al and Morris have the final say. The personal conflicts are ubiquitous. Al regards his son, Joe as the best candidate while Morris believes his son Bill is the future of the company. Al and Morris also have three other siblings: Sarah, Germaine and Arnold. Sarah’s husband Sam Chafee was a member of the company in the 70s but left on bitter terms with Al and Morris after he accused them of sidetracking his career. Sam and Sarah have a son, Edward, who is already an established entrepreneur with a small, growing company. Edward’s career in the family business was stymied by his parents but Peter regards Edward as a very capable candidate.
The continued success of Grandview Industries is Al’s goal, yet he is faced with three pivotal challenges:
1) The company is completely unprepared for the future after Al since they have no succession planning, and haven’t determined who will be involved in succession process. Although Al is responsible for the gradual success of Grandview, he hasn’t put any thought towards who will continue the success. He is timid to present anything to the family due to the inevitable rift it will cause in the family since all of them want their respective children to take over the business. Al will have to prioritize the business over personal agendas including his own yearning for his son to take over.
2) Many family members have active roles in the business and will not want to be left out of the candidate process. While some family members have served many years and proved their commitment to the company, other family members are younger and more inexperienced but have proven themselves through creativity, strategic planning and effective management in their respective roles. Al must be careful to preserve the business mindset he has established and not drive family members astray by rash decisions.
3) Al is unwilling to continue as President of the company past a few years give or take. Many family members are satisfied with Al’s leadership and urge him to stay on a couple more years. Since the company is tremendously behind on planning for the future, Al is in a precarious position which he seeks to get out of yet simply can’t.
The dynamics of Grandview and the Blanchard family are indicative of problems many family-controlled companies face. Sibling and spouse rivalry loom heavily and many of the decisions Al makes about the future of the business aggravate the family members.