There is nothing more heartwarming than the story of a successful multi-generational family business. Carrying on the legacy of one’s parents, grandparents, or sometimes even great grandparents is an honor.
I have had the privilege of being on both sides of this equation – the person learning and eventually taking over my mother’s role; and, the person transitioning out of a leadership role. I learned a lot through the process. I learned that there is a technical side to succession planning. I also learned that there are some very real personal elements to consider and think through:
- What will my new life be like without work? Some of us can hardly wait to get out on the golf course, spend more time with loved ones, or finally read those books that have been piling up on our nightstands. But, often after a short time, we find ourselves caught up on all of those things.
- Where will I find new purpose? We all need to know that we’re making a difference. A business is a tangible way to make a difference in the lives of employees, customers and future generations.
- Am I financially prepared to retire? It can be difficult to discern the financial capacity needed to continue our customary lifestyle. Uncertainty can cause fear and concern.
- Is there an appropriate role for me in the business to ensure my investment (and buyout) is safe and sound? If you’re being paid out over time, the need to stay in touch with the financial results of the business is real. It can be challenging to develop a healthy balance of staying informed without meddling.
In addition to working through these questions individually, it is also essential to:
- Take the time for authentic, honest and caring conversations between the new leadership and the prior owners.
- Create transparency in business results so that everyone’s perspective is kept in alignment.
- Empower a leadership team that honors the past while responding to the realities of the present and the challenges of the future.
At North Group, we consider it a privilege to walk alongside clients in this stage of the business transition process. We’d love to walk alongside you as you put healthy thought into what will inspire you to be the same kind of leader “outside” the work world as you were in your former leadership role.
By the way, it’s also okay to just take up golf or travel to those places you always dreamed of visiting!