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Successfully shaping the generation change

Brand & Corporate Communication

For family businesses, company succession is often associated with major challenges – stumbling blocks within the family, the clashing of generations, or simply not wanting to let go of one's life's work.

This is understandable, because in many cases values have been built over a period of decades through a sustainable leadership culture that now needs to be questioned and enriched with fresh ideas for innovation. In order to successfully shape the generational change and set the course for a sustainable company future, early and careful preparation is needed. A clearly structured succession process and the right communication with all relevant stakeholders play a central role.

Strategic vision and the courage to change

In order to prevent conflicts and quarrels between family members, it is important to plan the succession as early as possible. For this, it is advisable to define a clear succession process, starting with a comprehensive analysis that examines the company and family structure, defines the senior member's future role, and identifies innovative future trends that will ensure the sustainable success of the company. Topics such as digitalisation, flexible working hour models and Industry 4.0 are rarely part of long-established family businesses today. Progress must be made in these areas in order to make the company fit for the future, relevant in the market and attractive to young workers. In addition, successors have the chance to show what they are capable of and how they can succeed in breathing some fresh life into the family business.

A decisive factor in all this is communication, both internally and externally: family members, employees, customers and suppliers must be involved at an early stage and kept informed about the company's future. This helps prevent uncertainties and allows trust in the new management to be built up.

Best practice: Stuber team generation change

A successful example of corporate succession is Stuber Team AG in Rotkreuz. With over 60 employees, the family business has been designing and creating everything from individual pieces of furniture to complex, customised interior and kitchen fittings since 1963. Twenty-five years ago, Roger and Gerd Stuber took over management from their parents. When Simone Stuber took the reins in January 2021, this marked the third generation to take over management of the company. Using its comprehensive expertise, the BLC was able to support the family business for the second time as it passed to a new generation. The aim was to respect the different needs of the generations and put them to constructive use to ensure a successful future.

Together with our sister company Hotz Brand Consultants, Calydo reflected and revised the existing brand strategy and positioning. In the course of the company's succession, it was adapted to the needs of the target groups and translated into a contemporary, modern design. This was rolled out to all relevant touchpoints. A comprehensive communication concept was also created and this enabled relevant stakeholders to be approached in a transparent, consistent and targeted manner once the succession plan had been completed. First and foremost, employees were to be provided with accurate information so that any uncertainties could be cleared up and trust in the new management could be built. Together with Stuber Team, Calydo planned a staff event and created communication materials for it. In terms of external communications, letters to customers and suppliers as well as a media release were produced. This allowed Gerd Stuber to gradually withdraw from operational management and concentrate more on strategic considerations as Chairman of the Board of Directors, in line with what one would expect of a sustainable organisation undergoing succession. The careful preparation of the succession plan and the optimal solution for the new management also allowed Roger Stuber to leave the management and Board of Directors of Stuber Team AG.

The Stuber Team generation change shows how a carefully worked out company succession can ensure trust and confidence among all contact groups. It even more clearly demonstrates how a company can be led towards a sustainably successful future based on its identity-forming traditional values coupled with innovative ideas.

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