Can there be anything more annoying than a backseat driver? “Look out for this” and “look out for that” and “slow down, you’re driving too fast”, and “I usually turn left here” or “Oh dear, you’re not going to park here are you? That’s far too far from the entrance.”
Ironically probably the most annoying backseat drivers are the ones that turn out to be right! you can fool yourself into believing that you are adjusting your behavior to please them but when you have to admit that they are better placed or more knowledgeable than you, then not only do you suffer the indignation of subserviation but you also have to eat rather large pieces of humble pie.
But there comes a time in every career when you find yourself having to step into the backseat and to let the youngsters take the wheel. It’s hard watching others do something that you believe you are better at. The years of experience one has spent an entire career accumulating suddenly seem so difficult to share.
So what are the options? Wisdom tells us that the worst thing is to do is to have two drivers. The next worse thing is to have a puppet for a driver, it might work in some aspects of political leadership but it sure as hell doesn’t do anything to advance entrepreneurship. So the only option left is for the backseat driver to bite ones lip and pray to whichever God they believe in that things will somehow work out right!
No matter what you do, if you are passionate about doing it, it is very unlikely that you will ever enjoy the process of handing it over to someone else.
Even in businesses where the speed of change is a little slower than in others, such as farming, the hand over from one generation to the next can still be fraught with infighting, disrespect, and emotional turmoil. I recently heard of a business leader who found the handover of his business to his son so difficult that he refuses to speak to him anymore, not even around the family dinner table.
You can say it’s about trust and training and that if the next generation is well prepared, then things will go smoothly. And that might be true but somehow reality often takes unexpected turns.
Whether you are the part of the fading out generation or part of the fading in generation. It is logical to assume that one needs to facilitate the other and that some of the old traditions will need to be forgotten to be replaced by new ones.
I believe that in many ways our youngsters will do business in much the same way as we do but they will use different channels and other forms of communication. The frustrating thing is learning to get used to the feeling of believing that disaster is looming and being able to do little about it.
Have a good week,