Grooming Your Successors

It is easiest to take the path of least resistance and to choose a candidate just like yourself. But, as we discuss in the Business Expansion section, growth and management require different skills than start-up businesses.

There are many, many resources on business leadership and management for you to refer to. Typical leadership qualities are:

  • Global thinking
  • Focus on results that get to the main goal, with the ability to think analytically
  • Source of inspiration and good motivator of the team
  • Performance of tasks and projects with speed and accuracy, especially in times of uncertainty
  • Enthusiasm for the business, its products and services
  • Trustworthy
  • Lives with integrity and honesty
  • Respect for people
  • Capacity for hard work and commitment to excellence
  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • The source of calm and reason during crises

Creating the climate for leaders to develop to their fullest potential is the real challenge at hand. The pitfalls of creating business leaders are many, and this even more prevalent in a family-led business. Finding the right person, whether a family member or not, is a process that can take minimally six months.

Here are some signals that you are off-track with your leadership and/or the incumbent's leadership:

  • Lack of high level leadership skills - strategic visioning and effective communications
  • Continually caught up in the day-to-day of the business and inability to focus on the big picture
  • No feedback - learn to "take it" from family, employees and customers
  • Limited ability to adapt to changing conditions, or change the corporate culture, or adapt to global technologies, if need be
  • Habit of avoiding conflict
  • Failure to hold people accountable

Most business owners are strong-willed and independent. It may be hard for you to step away, especially if you still have a financial stake. But, once you decide to leave, it will be best for all if you do so gracefully. Enjoy the next chapter in your life as a business expert. You can even volunteer with our organization (or others) and contribute to help growing businesses in your community!

The next page in this section will provide additional outside resources on business succession planning and where to find some experts in the speciality business planning area.

- Business Succession -


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