Making a success of succession

ONE of the biggest issues in any business is that of succession.

Finding the right person to take the reins under any circumstances is tough, whether it’s a public company whose CEO has been at the helm for just a few years or a family business handed down through the generations.

To kick off our succession and success networking series, WA Business News has been lucky enough to find two speakers who have dealt with that issue in different ways.

Next week, one of WA Business News’ 40under40 winners, Manny Papadoulis will share the stage with Harold Clough, a doyen of WA industry.

While both have been involved in family businesses, their stage in that evolution is different.

Mr Clough joined his father’s business, took it over and then stepped away from day-to-day control as the company became a public-listed entity.

Mr Papadoulis is, perhaps, in the middle of that process, having assumed control of the family company Feature Tours and grown it substantially.

Both play significant roles in public life, particularly in the industries they are involved in.

I look forward to hearing some of the lessons they have learned.

A matter of resources

WHY the need for such a lot of debate on public versus private ownership of assets and provision of services?

The State Government is right to explore what it calls public-private partnerships.

Government is there to ensure our society runs smoothly. It should look at everything as community service obligations, that is, basically the expectations of the electorate.

Making sure those obligations are met is its task, not having thousands of people on the payroll.

Years ago, roads were built by Main Roads. These days most work is subcontracted out. Does anyone notice the difference when they drive?

Of course, government has to be vigilant. It has to ensure services entrusted to the private sector are monitored and delivered more efficiently than by the public sector.

A century ago our water supplies were taken over by the State because of the shambles created by the private sector. That does not mean circumstances haven’t changed in 100 years.

I am not advocating any specific change, simply that there are times when government is the only organisation with the resources to get a job done. And there are times when its focus should be elsewhere.

Yet another industry reeling

ANOTHER industry is reeling from the collapse of a major insurer!

This time it’s the medical profession and many Australians are being told that surgery and other much-needed help is off the agenda until the government finds a solution.

Fortunately, WA’s sick and infirm appear to be better off due to some good decisions made five or six years ago.

The recent experience in the insurance market, led by the failure of HIH, is further proof that bigger is not necessarily better, and that those chasing growth for growth’s sake may be jeopardising their own financial futures.

The best business models are those with a sensible approach to growth, building on a secure platform and continually revising their strategy and operations.

But it is not just up to the business operator to determine this.

The customer must play their role too.

If something is too good to be true, or a product unbelievably cheap, then it might be worth getting it checked out.

If you are buying a car a key factor will be reliability.

The more expensive the car the better off you will be in the longer term, right?

Not always, but in the highly competitive world of automotive manufacturing few lemons make it to the level of Rolls Royce.

So how come when people move to paying for services they so often take the cheapest option?

Insurance is, perhaps, the worst. For many it is something they don’t believe they will ever need. So they take the best deal that comes along.

Maybe the customer is not always right!

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