Why 4×100m Relay Finals Will be Crucial This time.

Why 4×100m Relay Finals Will be Crucial This time.

Why It Matters To win the 4x100 relay, just as in succession, there is no room for vagueness, assumptions and guesswork. May I seek your indulge

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Why It Matters

To win the 4×100 relay, just as in succession, there is no room for vagueness, assumptions and guesswork.

May I seek your indulgence, good people, and request to stay in the athletics space, for just a while?

Earlier, we shared a blow-by-blow Family Business 101 short snackable story from the parents of olympic and world 800m champion David Rudisha, the Senior Rudisha [Daniel] and his mother Naomi – they were all outstanding athletes. We cited how the World and Olympic 800m champion, had received, and was now transmitting values to his daughter.

And to maximize gains – transmitting values to the NextGen – we mentioned, it has to be rolled out in a consistent, structured and sustainable manner.  We wish to explore the lesson in yet another athletics event, which has significant lessons. 

Lessons from 4×100 Relay; This is yet another athletics event, and an inexhaustible goldmine of insights!…

management lessons from athletics 4x100 relay and successon oumamuga.com family business consultants

4x100m relay baton exchange in progress [Photo Courtesy]

Drawing from a 4x100m relay, this team event requires more than just fast runners to win.  

Teamwork and precise timing are key ingredients in getting the baton around the track. If these are off, a team’s hopes – along with the baton – can come crashing down onto the track. So to win the 4x100m relay, just as in succession, there is no room for vagueness, assumptions and guesswork.

Intriguing similarities exist in the tactics for winning the relay, and for succession in a multi-generational family enterprise. ...

management lessons from athletics 4x100 relay and successon oumamuga.com family business consultants

4x100m Relay baton exchange & Succession Lessons [Photo Courtesy]

And here are just a few;

  • During the 4×100 relay, the baton exchange process starts in a 10-metre fly zone. It’s in here, that the outgoing runner gets up to speed before entering the 20-metre exchange zone, a zone clearly marked and designated for transfer of the baton. When planning for succession, ideally the transition shouldn’t start too early [nor too late], the process needs to be carefully managed within an ideal period spread over time.
  • And perhaps you may have noticed the Jamaican men’s relay team prepare. They usually place a tape marker on the track 26 to 29 steps before the start of their fly zone. This marker signals at what point the receiving runner should start sprinting, as the incoming runner steps on the piece of tape. To maximize succession gains; (i) the succeeding generation must be prepared well in advance – succession is not an event, but a process. (ii) the succession process must be structured with clear milestones.
  • Each leg of the relay places peculiar demands on the sprinter, and requires the sprinter on the specific leg to possess a certain skill-set. And so the 2nd leg, of the relay, for instance, is the longest leg, and demands great speed and endurance. And usually goes to a strong 200-metre runner. Since they receive and pass the baton with their left hand, they must also be very good at handling the baton. Just as much holds true for successful transition in family business, it’s important that a successor possesses certain key skills. Besides, the scope and options adopted for successful transition will vary with the family vision and from business to business.
  • And finally, ever wondered why it’s always Usain Bolt on the 4th leg? Well, tactics dictate that this leg is best served by the fastest runner; one who has a competitive nature and can hold off challengers or chase down competitors if the team is behind. This part of the race requires one who can stay focused in the final high-traffic exchange zone, where tension is at its peak. Whereas family values dictate that children should not be subject to a selection process, and should be loved and treated equally. The choice of a successor however ought to be based on competence for it to succeed.

To win the 4×100 relay, just as in succession, there is no room for vagueness, assumptions and guesswork.

And so it’s a sure recipe for disaster, for a family enterprise not to plan for succession.

Yet, going by the frequency of reported disruptive family incidences in the media, it still seems many owners, appear reluctant [or are unaware] of how to engage in succession, and prefer to live with ambiguity, perhaps deciding that avoiding the issue is the best cause.

Solutions exist though, and Institute For Family Business (IFFB), supports entrepreneurial multi-generational families prepare and implement family enterprise and legacy management plans through a Four Phased propriety process; Family Business Sustainability Canvas™

…..And so, a multi-generational family enterprise has no reason to drop the baton, and should transition successfully [and harmoniously] for generations.

.…the baton is yours ….

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