Good Career Advice For a Family-Owned Business (Or Any Business)

fordAs I have mentioned before, I am writing a novel about a family-owned business, in which succession planning for the CEO becomes important. So I was interested in the recent Wall Street Journal article on the Ford family’s involvement into the fifth generation in Ford Motor Company. See Henry Ford’s Great-Great Grandchildren Join the Family Business, by Mike Ramsey, published in the Wall Street Journal on June 26, 2013

There are advantages to having the founder’s family involved in the management of the company. Ford Chairman Bill Ford, Jr., is quoted as saying

“[Shareholders] know there is going to be someone there through thick and thin who isn’t going to take a golden parachute and run somewhere.”

I was impressed that the current generation of Ford family members are subject to the same hiring process that every other employee is. The article discussed Calvin Ford, who is now a zone sales manager for Ford. But he held jobs outside of Ford first.

Businessmen Lunching TogetherAlso, Bill Ford, Jr., remembers his father, William Clay Ford, Sr., telling him

“Join the company only if you love it, and don’t expect to make it to the top.”

That is good career advice for anyone. A career lasts a long time, and will take many twists and turns. No one should go into a job not loving the work and the company they work for. And no one – even a founder’s child – should have any expectations of a next position or ending role.

Just do the job you’re hired to do to the best of your abilities. And prepare yourself to take on more responsibility, whatever seems most needed in the business and most suited to your skills.

What is the best career advice you ever received?



Filed under Leadership, Management, Workplace, Writing

5 responses to “Good Career Advice For a Family-Owned Business (Or Any Business)

  1. Do your job so well that a person offering a better position will seek to hire you. The woman who told me that said she had never hunted for a job. She was offered better positions all her life.

  2. When I took my first job working in a grocery store deli, my dad told me to give them three dollars worth of work for every two dollars they paid me.

  3. Pingback: Succession Planning in a Family Business: When No One Is Ready | Sara Rickover, Behind the Corporate Veil

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