I was introduced to Anita at a trade lunch where she was the guest speaker. Anita outlined the difficulties facing family businesses, in particular the transition from one generation to the next.
This struck a chord as our own two children, having previously worked within the second generation business, had moved to Australia. My wife and I were contemplating the way forward as we sought to ease away from daily involvement. At that time, it seemed unlikely that there would be a third generation of family participation.
On a brief visit to England our son met with Anita and from there she established his and our wishes and desires for the future. Anita then patiently used her skills and experience to work with the whole family in England and in Australia to define potential future roles, achieve a consensus, help to get our son excited about joining the family business whilst also helping him understand what it meant to be accountable and to hit the ground running – it’s not about entitlement, rather proving his worth.
Our son had to grasp the concept of making money to keep jobs afloat in a challenging market on a daily basis.
Everything began with independent conversations in order for Anita to be able to grasp the issues and then getting the family together to begin the hard journey of entering into an honest, open relationship whereby every person could have their say.
This was no easy task for everyone. Anita’s skills had to be a mixture of diplomacy and empathy; asking the hard questions, telling a few home truths; encouraging everyone’s input; make a plan and being able to stand back as the relationships began to take shape and gain strength through building trust and a vision for the future.
Throughout Anita showed great dedication and empathy and surmounted what were at times considerable challenges. All businesses are faced with challenges, it’s what we expect, and any business is a work in progress.
In our experience, Anita achieved a positive outcome which seemed at one time unlikely.
I can highly commended Anita and her own family business.