Legacy Building: 3 Strategies to Ensure Longevity for Your Business

  • Published on:
    May 13, 2024
  • Reading time by:
    4 minutes
Legacy Building: 3 Strategies to Ensure Longevity for Your Business

Who is going to be your next you?

The current market needs capable and adaptable professionals who can ensure the continuity of great ideas. But it seems that once the ‘great mind’ of a company is ceased, brands risk losing part of their profit, success, reputation, identity, and impact.

Legacy doesn’t arrive overnight at the end of your career; it’s built gradually over time. Every action, decision, and interaction contributes to the legacy you’re shaping. The challenge lies in crafting a value chain that can continue expanding, even after the initial leadership has moved on. 

Many entrepreneurs struggle to predict the fate of their legacy once they step back from active involvement. And a family-owned business is not always working for harmonic expansion. The Family Business Institute (2019) reports that only about 30% of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation, and only about 12% make it to the third generation. Market disruptions make it challenging to maintain relevance and continuity over time, and identifying suitable successors can be a complex and time-consuming process, especially in large organizations with diverse talent pools.

This is why creating a business legacy, along with a strategic organizational chart plan, emerges as an effective approach to ensure the sustainability of successful, replicable business models renowned for their operational excellence.

3 Keys for Building A Business Legacy

  • Transgenerational Entrepreneurial Values

Leaders set the tone for their company’s core values through actions and relationships. XYZ Corporation (MMA Global member) has maintained its core values of integrity and innovation across multiple generations. The current CEO, John Smith, attributes the company’s longevity to its commitment to these values, instilled by his grandfather, the company’s founder. 

Founded in 1886, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has maintained a commitment to innovation, quality, and social responsibility across multiple generations of leadership. This commitment helped them sustain their position during the Tylenol crisis in 1982 until now.

The Walt Disney Company has remained dedicated to creativity, innovation, and storytelling across generations since its foundation in 1923. Despite Walt Disney’s passing in 1966, his core values continue to guide the company’s decisions. Under the leadership of subsequent CEOs such as Michael Eisner and Bob Iger, Disney has expanded its reach into diverse entertainment sectors while staying aligned with its founder’s vision.

These examples showcase how important it is to instill timeless values within a business that can withstand generational shifts. Building a culture rooted in resilience, creativity, problem-solving, reliability, collaboration, and forward-thinking vision is crucial for maintaining continuity beyond the initial leadership.

  • Training and Mentorship 

One of the primary objectives of the older generation of business leaders is cultivating and nurturing the next generation. The emphasis on training and mentorship is key for transferring knowledge and experience to the next generation of leaders. By empowering them to leverage their strengths and address areas of improvement, businesses can ensure a smooth transition of leadership while fostering growth and development within the organization.

Apple’s transition from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook demonstrates the effectiveness of guidelines. Jobs groomed Cook for leadership over several years, ensuring a smooth handover of responsibilities and maintaining the company’s momentum.

As an example of thinking outside the box in this sense, Google’s “20% time” policy allows employees to spend a portion of their workweek on projects outside their main responsibilities. This initiative not only fosters innovation but also serves as a form of mentorship. Ensuring that the next generation of leaders possesses the necessary skills, experience, and wisdom requires assessment and the right space.

  • The Relay Race Method

Running while you prepare others to run in your stead. The analogy of the relay race illustrates succession planning. Identifying next-in-line ensures the business can properly transition from one leader to the next, maintaining its momentum and continuity. According to a study by Harvard Business Review (2016), businesses that prioritize succession planning are 2.5 times more likely to outperform their competitors financially. This method underscores the importance of strategic arrangement and teamwork in securing the future of the business by passing the baton (or responsibility) to the next one (or ones) for the best.

Howard Schultz, the visionary leader who transformed Starbucks into a global coffee franchise, groomed Kevin Johnson, who had served as president and COO, to take over as CEO. Before officially stepping down, Schultz remained actively involved in mentoring Johnson and guiding the company’s direction. This deliberate planning allowed Starbucks to maintain its growth trajectory under new leadership while preserving its core values and customer-centric culture.

At the end of the journey, as finite beings, we tend to value the history and added value behind each branding. We all enjoy seeing that “since 1995” or stepping into a physical space where images of the origin can be seen. By gradually adding steps and choosing the right people, you ensure that your business identity will continue over time and adapt to market preferences without losing its unique and irreplaceable traits. The goal? navigating change with purpose and fostering a legacy that inspires both our teams and the global market.

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Women on Topp Magazine

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Ester Mbomio Lagar

Ester is an Executive Journalist with significant experience in communications, international affairs, diplomacy, and public administration. She has a passion for cultures, sustainable development, and innovation. On Women on Topp, she promotes a healthy success and a balanced lifestyle for empowering businesswomen.

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