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Posts Tagged ‘On The Edge’

An Unfortunate Side Effect Of Late Retirement?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Too Old To Be The BossIn Welding & Gases Today’s On The Edge column, we write about controversial, divisive and otherwise discussion-worthy topics. The topics come out of news and current events, or sometimes they come from a particularly poignant comment made in a conversation with a GAWDA member.

Such is the case with the recent article, “Too Old To Be The Boss,” which looks at the challenge of knowing when the time is right to turn the business over to the next generation. As one distributor put it, “It’s unfortunate that in some companies, the leaders just hang on to the reins too late.” Distributors at several companies had some very interesting things to say on both sides of the issue.

Undoubtedly, this is an issue businesses have struggled with for decades. But I began to wonder if maybe the issue has been exacerbated by the recent downturn in the economy. Last year, Welding & Gases Today conducted a survey of GAWDA members and found out that an overwhelming majority—77%—of GAWDA members have changed their retirement plans due to the economy. In other words, a lot of business owners are sticking around longer, and longer.

So is it at the expense of the next generation of leaders? The distributor whose comment spawned the recent On The Edge article would seem to suggest just that: “I came to the realization that I could actually hinder my company more than help it if I don’t make a change. We all have egos, but every leader reaches a point where fresh ideas aren’t fresh anymore.”

It may be hard to measure the right time for an owner to retire and let the next generation take over; and that number is one that shifts from situation to situation. But what we can measure is when GAWDA members say they actually plan to retire. In the 2011 survey, 0% of respondents said they could realistically retire before age 65. The greatest percentage was split between 66-69 and 70-75, while a few members said they would never retire.

The economy has been a setback for a lot of businesses in financial terms. But all of this leads me to wonder whether it could wind up being a setback in the development of the next generation of leaders. What do you think? Will the changing landscape of retirement have any lasting impact on the industry’s future leaders?

Giving GAWDA Members The Edge

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The phrase “No news is good news” no longer applies in today’s world, because the truth is there is always news. With the ease of sharing information on the Internet, it’s simply a matter of whether you choose to hear the latest news. The marketplace is constantly changing, and the gases and welding industry is no exception. Keeping up with important industry news becomes more than personal interest; it can be a true competitive advantage.

Among the features of Welding & Gases Today Online is a weekly On The Edge column, featuring controversial and hot industry topics. Show here in the upper right.

Welding & Gases Today’s On The Edge column is an incredible resource for GAWDA members. These online-exclusive articles break down current events and hot topics in the gases and welding industry and share different views from distributors and suppliers. Recent articles have looked at different angles relating to the helium shortage and helium pricing, the embezzlement of a Colorado distributor that drove it to bankruptcy and FMCSA’s controversial tank vehicle definition.

New On The Edge articles are now posted every week. This is great news for GAWDA members. The articles are available on the home page of WeldingAndGasesToday.org under the heading “On The Edge.” You can explore the full archive with almost two years of On The Edge articles by clicking on the words “On The Edge.” Go back to the controversial look at a large business fulfilling government contracts reserved for small businesses; then see both sides of the debate on whether the sales territory model or market segmentation is better suited for the gases and welding industry.

Being part of GAWDA is a great way to stay on top of news. GAWDA’s mission statement states the goal of publishing and promoting information for safety and environmentally responsible practices, as well as providing analysis on current issues and disseminating relevant information to the membership. This information serves member companies so they may better serve their customers, employees and society.

Now members don’t have to wait for Welding & Gases Today to arrive in their mailbox. I invite you to check back every week for interactive On The Edge articles where you can share your opinion about the latest industry news.