Queen Elizabeth was the leader of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s most successful brands, the British Royal Family for over 70 years. During her record reign, she held steadfast to long-standing traditions as she carefully modernized over the decades. The Queen kept her emotions in check and spoke positively in public about the other leaders she met — whether she liked them or disagreed with their policies. To the royal family and the British people, she was the ‘face of the franchise’.
Looking at the Royal Family, as a multimillion-dollar family business that influences trade, travel and other facets of the British economy, Queen Elizabeth was indeed a CEO like no other. There are a number of lessons entrepreneurs can learn from her life.
Recognize the importance of a global perspective
As early as 1952, Queen Elizabeth understood the importance and benefits of a global perspective. She spent seven decades touring the world on behalf of the British Commonwealth, visiting countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, America and the Pacific. In every way she enjoyed experiencing different cultures, and her travels were often diplomatic efforts to bridge dividing lines and ease tensions. Most of them were considered successes.
CNN reported that the monarch had traveled to 60% of the world’s 196 countries. Among them were Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Russia , Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Scotland, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United States, Vatican City and Zambia. According to an estimate of The TelegraphElizabeth covered 1,032,513 miles during her reign.
Stay positive in times of adversity
One of Queen Elizabeth’s most memorable quotes was relatively recent. In April 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, she addressed her country in what was then only the fifth special TV broadcast that she had created during her seven-decade reign.
“I speak to you at a time which I know is becoming more and more challenging. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has grieved some, financial difficulties for many and enormous changes in the daily lives of all of us…
“We should take comfort in the fact that we may have more to endure, but better days will come: we’ll be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.
The then 93-year-old monarch took care to acknowledge the hardships people faced, thank frontline health workers, take pride in her people’s “self-discipline” and “quiet good-humoured determination” and emphasize that better days are ahead. layers.
“While we’ve faced challenges before, this one is different…Using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal, we will succeed—and that success will belong to each of us. We should take comfort in the fact that we may have more to endure, but that better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
A great leader tries to live up to the morale of others. Queen Elizabeth did just that as a young woman during World War II and, much later in her life, during the COVID pandemic.
Have a succession plan
For the royal family, which is a family business after all, succession plan already existed and for years. But that is not the case for most family businesses. One of the challenges for small business succession plans is the founders’ own shortcomings.
“The founder may be very good at one aspect of the business (e.g. creativity/creating products), but not the best leader in the entire company, but can’t ‘give up’ leadership,” said Mary Kier, managing partner and co-leader of a global talent consultancy ZRGglobal consumer practice.
Kier says family businesses often fear that no one will run the business as current or previous generations would. They also sometimes worry that a non-family successor may be too gentle or will push for old employees to be replaced. Other times, companies wait until the founder or another family leader is past his or her prime to find a successor. In such cases, the leader may not be aware of the current trends and the business begins to falter.
Therefore, Kier says, companies need to start thinking about succession planning, not just for the CEO, but for all members of the executive leadership team. They also need to start mentoring the next level sooner rather than later. Furthermore, the family business must be willing to boldly move forward with new people at the helm. Ultimately, business leaders should be open to new ideas or concepts to move the business forward and not be surprised that the best ideas can come from non-traditional sources.
“Open your mind to whatever lies ahead and the business will not only survive, but prosper,” says Kier. “And always remember the ‘why’ behind the whole reason the family business started in the first place.”
Now the royal family must chart a course to move forward without Queen Elizabeth, who served as the CEO of the family business for more than 70 years.
“The Queen was without doubt one of the world’s greatest leaders,” said London-based Richard Draper, director of the UK’s ZRG office. “She ruled with grace and humility, never demanding attention, yet ubiquitous – and always with her hand very soft on the tiller! She guided prime ministers and presidents. In many ways she was decades ahead of her time.”
It is important for the successor in a thriving business to plan for the inevitability that individuals will eventually need to be replaced in order for the business to survive and prosper.
Of course, most small businesses do not and often have to have the enormous financial resources of the British Royal Family safe capitalbut nevertheless, there are many business lessons to be learned from the late British monarch.