“A generation that sows without having time to reap
it is worth much more than a generation that reap without having sown. "
Today, in psychology, "Intelligent Behavior" is considered to be driven by the design of future possibilities, rather than by models of experience. This fact that sums up, although indirectly, what has been said so far about the idea of self in the future, is very important when intervening in situations that need change and restructuring, both with an individual in psychotherapy and in the case of a company and an entrepreneur who are in the inevitable need to manage the transition (a transformation, a change) for better adaptation in the future.
The life of the systems is marked by passages and, consequently, by crises that, although they are radical restructurings, are also, more or less implicitly, opportunities for improvement, survival, and development. Every crisis then is also, “yes”, an opportunity.
We note that some situations allow us more degrees of freedom of action (free willing situations) and thought and, therefore, the feeling of crisis and the anxiety of not knowing how to manage it will be less, while the opportunity for change will be greater. Other situations are characterized, by composition or time, by a lower degree of freedom, and more easily generate profound upheavals in the balance acquired (for example in an SME the serious illness or sudden death of an entrepreneur bring out strong conditionings to the power of choice of those who – even if interim – must have urgent solutions).
An inescapable variable on the perception of freedom of action and intensity of the crisis is precisely the individual variable, that is, the intimate perception of the quality of change and its danger to both individual and corporate integrity. If in a company the perception of an imminent transition generated scenarios of disaster or failure, this probably means that little has been done in terms of strategic planning for the future; the family members, if present in the company, may have been inserted not following the company's plans, but based on internal relational issues that have little to do with productivity, but which have a significant influence on the business dynamics themselves.
We reiterate that each person brings with him his vision of things composed of elements stable over time and other contingents. Greater adaptability (so plasticity and elasticity) is equivalent to greater freedom of initiative, both in the actions to be taken to deal with a crisis and in imagining continuity in time and projection in the future. Thus, the capacity for adaptation is directly proportional to freedom of action, just as freedom of action itself guarantees greater adaptation. Thus, a virtuous circle is generated where the adaptation generated by freedom of action reinforces precisely the freedom of action in the present as in the planning of the future and therefore, following what has been said so far, goes to reinforce the experimental attitude.
As a result, depending on the degree of freedom of action that a subject enjoys, there is a scale of greater or lesser efficiency and ability to represent himself in different future scenarios, therefore an l greater or lesser ability to manage expectations and wills concerning resources and experience.
When measuring the survival capability of a company in a crisis of family succession, it is necessary to assess, through careful investigations and research, its historical ability to go through the transformations and analyze the previous crises faced. This historicization allows us to quantify based on past scenarios a part of the degrees of freedom in being able to predict future scenarios. We will thus be able to evaluate the adaptability of a company by assessing the foreshadowing of scenarios, its plasticity, and the quality of this foreshadowing.
The more a system has adapted in previous transformations, the greater the foreshadowing and actual chances of survival perceived by the protagonists themselves. Faced with a generational shift, it will not be so much the (albeit useful) rejection of the choices passed to give strength and hope for change, but a consolidated transformative experience or a natural ability to predict future scenarios. Investigate and track these variables we can work on the passage with a few more tools.
A manager who is facing the management of a family succession will analyze and examine the previous experience and, at the same time, examine and estimate the capability of those who are preparing to face the transformations and evolutions of the case. Assessing adaptability is key to outlining future scenarios and temporarily guiding the system in the transition and likely crisis that will result.
It is in the ability to draw continuity scenarios over time that you outline the control of the transformation process, such that the crisis presents itself as opportunities for transformation and not as the opening up of inoperable and definitive perspectives.
*Text by Pier Christian Verde, an excerpt from the book "How to Manage the Family Succession in Italian SMEs", by Gian Andrea Oberegelsbacher & Leading Network, published by WKI (Ipsoa) 2017