Skip to main content

Britain's Queen Elizabeth stands with her husband Prince Philip, son Prince Charles and grandson's princes William and Harry during the unveiling of a memorial fountain dedicated to the late Princess Diana at Hyde Park in London, July 6, 2004.

DAVID BEBBER

A big chunk of Canada's family firms will be dealing with the retirement of their founders in the next five to 10 years. Will these individuals, who formed the backbone of their businesses, have different exit styles? Research suggests they will, and that some approaches are more effective than others.

Ride into the sunset

These are the individuals that retire gracefully, excited about life and the opportunities that lie ahead. They tend to become ambassadors for their enterprises and take pride in the success of junior-generation leaders, continuing to be available to assist without being overbearing.

Story continues below advertisement

Not on your life

Others want to die in the saddle, and they will only leave kicking and screaming when health or other unfortunate circumstances force them into retirement. They tend to despise the idea of giving up long working hours, frustrated with a sense of emptiness. This is the first generation of business owners in history experiencing good health into their 70s, and it's creating a succession backlog, with two generations often waiting in the wings. Even when these younger leaders finally take over, a lot of founders wind up shadowing them. They can be found 'at hand,' chiming in with their opinions on decisions made by their successors. It's no good for the family or the business.

Learn from the past

Research conducted at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business reveals that leaders of progressive entrepreneurial family firms focus on what they are retiring into, rather than what they are retiring from. They make provisions to ensure continuity of the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. And, most important, they have a plan for their time - tasks they can devote themselves to, which can be a mix of mentoring, educational endeavours, travel, community and family activities. An ambassadorial style of retirement is healthy for the individual, the family, and the firm.

Special to the Globe and Mail

Dr. Pramodita Sharma teaches at the John Molson School of Business at Montreal's Concordia University.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter