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The Conference Room: Pass it On

by Editorial Staff--South Jersey Biz

South Jersey is home to many family businesses that are generations strong. While the chemistry among relatives can help build up the strength of the business, things can get tricky when it comes time to divvy up responsibilities. So we asked these two local professionals for advice on how to delegate, especially when it comes time to pass on the reins.

Ray Rastelli (pictured, left), Owner, Rastelli Foods Group
“When you build a company from the ground up, you take on all tasks necessary to make it successful. Family members should do the same—learning every facet of responsibility within the business. If they understand what it takes to build and sustain your family business, they won’t take your success for granted. When it comes time to pass the reins, I want to be sure that my family members are adequately prepared to take on the necessary responsibilities and understand the importance of each task. My son and niece have worked in every capacity at Rastelli Foods Group. His responsibilities have ranged from overnight stockroom shifts to checking cattle operations in South Dakota. She has done everything from food prep at our market to planning major corporate events. Each experience was vital to their ability to perform in their current executive roles and to the future of our company.”

Anthony K. Bellia (pictured, right), President, Bellia Office Furniture
“We started the process of passing the reins about five years ago. Then this time last year, we made our first leap into our new leadership roles. It’s clearly not something that happened with a flick of a switch but something that was carefully executed through substantive dialogue with my business partners and succession planning coach. When the time came to delegate responsibilities, we started with a conversation about how individuals in these roles operate at maximum effectiveness. It was clear to me from this dialogue that I was not entitled to my position as president just because my name ended in Bellia. You need a GAP analysis to ensure that the person you are delegating possesses the necessary skill sets. The analysis is meant to shore up areas for your success in that area of responsibility, and without this analysis there is nothing to hold each other accountable for, which is critical for an effective transition.”

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 3, Issue 5 (May, 2013).
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