So, let’s talk quickly about that new Carl’s Jr and Hardees Ad. Ditching the provocative ads of the past full of nearly naked models, the company has a new push to focus on “food not boobs” which includes a family business twist that we weren’t expecting.
In the new spots, Carl Hardee Sr. has come back to the company to fix what his son Carl Jr. did to it — turned a wholesome business into his wild playground.
Here’s what anybody working with family can take away from this:
We see it all the time: a business founder passes on the family company to the first in line – the first-born son. But, also see that this can quickly turn into a disaster. Just because he is the first-born and the natural heir, it doesn’t mean he should be running the business. The first step to successfully hiring a family member is to hire based on instinct, not birth order or gender myths. Each of us has a natural set of talents and a sustainable family business hires based on the right fit of instinctive capabilities and available roles.
Before your child, or any family member, joins the business, you must be able to answer “Yes” to these questions:
These questions should serve as the starting point for any family-work relationship. We generally recommend that before a child joins a family business, he or she should go do something else – outside the family company – first and see if it makes sense to join the family later.
The other thing we noticed about the Carl’s Jr Ads is that the company founder came back to the company to straighten things out. In this case it may make the most sense — Carl Jr did seem to make a mess of things and who better to take the company back to its roots but the founder himself. But, more often than not, a founder creeps back into the family business because he didn’t make a graceful exit up front.
We’ve seen that getting out of a family business can be harder than starting it. There are some Dos and Don’ts to consider:
It’s important for a founder to know when to leave the party and to exit with a plan. It requires that there’s a wise alternative and that both the founder and the next generation agree on the capability of those who will take over.
In our new book, Business is Business: Reality Checks for Family-Owned Companies, Kathy Kolbe and I tackle issues like birth-order and how a founder should exit the company they founded.
Let me know what tips and tricks have worked in your family business.