Today, it’s fair to say that if I applied to get a job at Black Enterprise with the skills I had 20 years ago, I would probably not be hired. The majority of people who work at BE now were not even born when I founded our magazine. I now see my grandchildren’s peers in the halls of the company. (In fact, two of my grandchildren have worked in the business: Earl III with our television group, and Kristin with our digital team.) And I couldn’t be more proud, excited, and encouraged, because they are bringing the new ideas, skill sets, talent, and energy that are necessary for Black Enterprise to move forward and serve our Wealth for Life mission for decades to come.
If you believe in your company and are passionate about the product or service it provides and the market it serves, it is your responsibility to do what’s best for your business, including succession planning. Success breeds change. Your business will evolve, and the top priority as the CEO must be to evolve with it—even if that means becoming the former CEO. When the time comes, you must know when to say when—and have the courage to act.