Succession Planning

Family Business Succession

The nature of planning itself can be overwhelming; therefore, it is often avoided or done poorly.  The idea of succession planning is even more daunting, given the inherent complexity, resistance to change, and potential for conflict and breakdowns.

In June 2012, Alberta Business Family Institute published these statistics on Alberta Business families:

• 10% have a formal plan

• 38% have an informal plan

• 52% have no plan at all

The odds are against you.  Statistics show it’s not the transactional structures that derail a succession plan; it is the soft or transformational issues – the human dimension of family, business and ownership.

Common Problems Resolved

• No plan for succession

• Lack of structure, governance, and process for succession

• Stalled decisions and poor communication

Family Business Consulting

Meaningful Dialogue™ Resolves Family Business Conflicts

While a family who is strong and united does not guarantee a thriving and successful business and/or the successful management of assets; it significantly increases fulfilling that possibility.  A family that does not deal with conflict effectively; and is not united and actively engaged in strengthening family relationships, guarantees the eventual failure of a business and/or the mismanagement and loss of assets.

At the source of family business issues and family stress are unresolved family conflicts.  Often, families tend to procrastinate on improving the health of family relationships and communication.  There is history at play that can leave family members resigned and cynical that anything can be different in the future.

Continuity Research Identifies Success Factors

Family Organization

• Family meetings to engage, educate and bond

• Family governance including family vision, mission, values, and succession principles

Consensus on Business Direction

Outside Accountability

• Active independent advisory board

Common Problems Resolved

• Poor communication, low listening levels, and a lack of understanding

• Lack of trust, blame, and resentment

• Unresolved family history

Next Gen Leadership

Creating a New Future

Most family businesses are run by a single dominant leader – the founder. The business and managers themselves generally develop around the strengths and weaknesses of that one central leader, who most likely has a directive leadership style.

The transition of a business to the next generation calls for a collaborative leadership style. New skills are needed when a group of leaders who have been working one-on-one with the owner, strive to become an interdependent team. Collaboration and peer-to-peer accountability demands different conversations, higher levels of listening and well-developed leadership skills. The roles in problem-solving, conflict resolution, negotiation and consensus building require new thinking and a different approach.

The responsibility of leading a successful business today and growing it to the next level of success can be a big mountain to climb. A multi-dimensional approach to preparing the founder to relinquish control and the incoming leaders are critical to a successful transition and securing the future of the business and the family legacy.

Common Problems Resolved

• Lack of trust and confidence

• Avoidance in letting go and planning; for both generations

• Stalled decisions and communication breakdown