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Dancing in Succession

Written by KV on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 21:23.

I recently presented to a groups of business owners about practice succession planning. Most business owners who are nearing or are already engaged in this phase of business planning are looking for a process - almost like a recipe to follow. That's normal. Smart people know there is a lot to learn from peers about what has worked, or not worked, before starting anything that has the potential to cost lots of time and money. However, as much as there are fundamental initiatives found within almost all plans (i.e. efficiencies, profitability, customer relations) when we look at how each business much approach these initiatives the similarities end. Just as fingerprints are comprised of the same elements, yet are unique and distinct, so is each plan from business to business. When it comes to Succession Planning, this is especially true. As my working relationships with clients mature, an increasing number of them are identifying Succession Planning as a critical success factor in their business strategy plans. As we determine how to impact this initiative, they are discovering the very unique and individual nature of their situations. And rather than panic or procrastinate from thinking that what they envision just does;t fit any pre-cut process, they are embracing the fact that they can make their transition be whatever works best for them and the people they care about. However, to do this demands time and attention of a different kind and may include addressing things that are difficult to address, like not knowing how one will spend new-found time, or realizing that difficult conversations have to take place in order to move ahead.

More than any other business strategy, the succession of leadership and ownership of a business is about human relationships and how those relationships are initiated, nurtured, and maintained. Selecting a good candidate at the start is certainly part of the challenge, but what comes after is


"Plans are not important.
Planning is."

Dwight D. Eisenhower