This is a part of a story series that examines how local family businesses plan for the succession to their next generation. You can read more in the OBJ weekly edition for April 14-20 2023.
Don't be like your father - and don't even try.
It was advice his mother gave to him when he became president and CEO of Orlando's Massey Services Inc. two years ago, after taking over from his father Harvey Massey, who is now deceased.
Even for Central Florida's largest employers, running a business is a challenging task. The addition of family to the mix can make it more difficult. Massey Services, in fact, is one of Orlando's fastest-growing businesses and the largest pest control company in the country. Massey Services and its subsidiaries employ over 2,800 people. The firm's revenue has increased by 7,900% and its physical footprint by 4,150% in the last 37 years.
Andrea Massey Ferrell is the president of the Harvey & Carol Massey Foundation. Harvey Massey died in January, aged 81.
Tony discusses the succession planning process at Massey Services, how it went and his biggest challenge as a new leader.
When did Massey Services start succession planning?
From the very beginning, it was. I'd assume that a parent's greatest dream is for their child to join a business, and eventually take over. I don't know if my dad wanted me to join him in business, or if he wanted to do something else. It was probably his dream that I would come back to the business and take it over.
How did succession planning work?
When you talk about succession planning in the family, you need to set up a plan that will help make the second and third generations successful. You should also test their willingness and ability to succeed. Everyone thinks that they want to lead until the anvil is placed on their shoulders. You have to perform small tasks over a long time. I never graduated from college, but was given the reins when I turned 25. I was given little tasks, responsibilities and responsibilities. If I could do them, manage them and grow doing these things, I was given more responsibilities and duties. My father looked at everyone in succession, not just me. All good managers look for people who they can give more.
When you first received the CEO title, what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Combining two people with two jobs. I was the president of this company for many years, managing the operations as well as many other functions. What I now had to do was take over the role of CEO, and the patriarchal attitude that my father had not only within the company but also in our family and community. It was the biggest challenge. How can you combine two full-time jobs into one and still be able to accomplish everything?
What was your response to the challenge?
I will not say that I drink a great deal. You have to decide what will not be a priority. What matters is not which ball you drop but what you don't even bring into play before you start juggling. You can also start delegating more of your duties to the executives of the company. This will make them take on a bit more responsibility. I'm literally not enough to go around.
What are the differences between your leadership style and that of your father?
Leadership style is influenced by your personality. My father and I shared many similarities but also had some differences. Our styles will be different. My father was raised in a time and place where corporate business was different. His thought process is different. Harvey Massey was not me, and this was the best advice I ever received in my career.
What is your vision for the legacy of the company?
Both of us wanted the same thing. We both wanted the exact same thing. We become successful when we achieve that. Doing exactly what I was taught is my mark. This is how I really feel. We will be fine if I do exactly what I have been taught.
What is the best advice that your father has ever given you regarding Massey Services as a business?
My father taught me so much over the past 30 years. The No. My sisters and I have been able to repeat the same lesson since we were old enough. It is that discipline means doing what you should do at the right time, regardless of whether you like it or not. This lesson will stick with you because you'll have to be disciplined to do many things in business or in life you may not want to do.
Since founding, there have been two generations of ownership
Contact: (407) 645-2440; masseyservices.com