Quick Start Succession – Three Ways

It’s too early to tell, but a shift in perspective on succession may be playing out in organizations all across the country. Over the last few months, the magnitude of a global crisis has caused many leaders to re-examine their priorities. In some companies, next generation leaders have risen beautifully to the occasion, demonstrating how ready they are to lead. In others, the pandemic has highlighted just the opposite – rising leaders are nowhere near ready and it’s time to get serious about preparing them. 

A lot of things have changed lately, but one thing is still true: Succession is a process, not an event. We’d never advise you to skip over the critical steps involved in succession, but we can offer three ways to get the process off to a quick start. 

  1. Start with Strategy. Well-crafted business strategy informs succession issues, such as how the company will grow to support additional owners or what brand of leadership is needed for the future. A strategic planning process is also the perfect opportunity to engage and develop rising leaders and other key stakeholders. Two birds, one stone. 
  1. Start with Family. Very often, succession plans focus on increasing owner return on investment or choosing a successor. Those things are essential, but it’s just as important to work on family values, communication and relationships. In fact, succession depends on it. When it comes down to it, longevity is in the family, not the business. 
  1. Start with Yourself. If you’re an incumbent leader, the transition of your business depends on you. Or rather, it depends on not depending on you. You’re in the driver’s seat as to when you’ll take a step back. But when you do make the call, be intentional about it. “Letting go” may sound passive, when in fact it involves rigorous reflection and deliberate development.  

History tells us that crisis can accelerate change. If recent events have brought your succession plans into sharper focus, consider this an opportunity to work on the hardest part – getting started.  



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