Many family business leaders I speak with are confused about how all the various advisors fit into the transition and succession picture, and how the process and components connect (Unanimous Shareholder Agreements, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning, Wealth Management, Insurance, and so on). The business owner has usually not gone through transition before, and so how it all works, and how various supporting experts add value, can be a bit of a mystery.
Family businesses have many strengths which generally flow from their values of loyalty, harmony and long-term views of ownership. I believe these values account for a large part of the success in family firms, and also are part of the reason that family-owned enterprises typically out-perform non-family businesses globally.
When we meet with business owners, we tend to ask questions relating to what they want to have happen when they transition out of their role and/or ownership of their company. The responses tend to break down into 2 categories. There are those who feel they “have it all figured out” and those that know they don’t or are at least concerned about it.
I love the beginning of a new year, and the opportunity to pause and think about where I am going with the one life I have to live. While I am not a big “resolution” guy, I definitely see the value in taking the time in this calendar pivot to take stock of where things stand and where I would like to direct my energies in the coming year.
One of the first things to note on next-generation leadership and preparation is that they actually do need to be prepared though (they may not “know how”), and they cannot do it alone. In fact, some of the most critical development pieces need to be facilitated and led by the current leadership (often the founder).