The Danger of Waiting to Create a Succession Planning Strategy
I’d like to apologize off the bat for using the word “danger” in the headline. It’s a fear tactic, which is probably what got you reading this. But from what I’ve seen in the past, there is a great deal to fear by delaying your succession planning strategy.
What’s the problem? The problem is that far too many CEOs think like teenagers. They believe they’re invincible, that nothing will ever happen to them. Or, perhaps more accurately, they don’t think about the future at all, because they’re so completely focused on the present.
If you think you’re invincible, and your business is invincible, then you’re not just endangering yourself. You’re endangering your employees; the vendors you like to work with; the customers you’ve befriended over the years; and oh yeah, your family - which just may include one of those teenagers.
Why is it dangerous to wait on creating a succession planning strategy? Here are a few reasons.
You don’t put a seatbelt on right before a car crash. No one knows when a car accident is going to occur, which is why you buckle up the minute you get behind the wheel. You can’t pinpoint exactly when you’re going to need a succession plan. Taking care of tough issues up front can prevent a lot of pain down the road, a point which will be apparent in the next few examples.
You can’t let your family sort it out on their own. If you want to have a family member succeed you, there could be huge internal fights for control if you haven’t established a succession process. Business owners fear setting up a clear succession plan because they don’t want to initiate any kind of conflict, but I guarantee you, the battle will pale in comparison to what will occur if your family is left to its own devices.
You need a plan when cooler heads are prevailing. The last thing you want is to have to create a plan when an emergency necessitates it. Creating it when things are going well allows you to make rational, reasonable decisions that will benefit the company and your family over the long run.
Your plan will take time to create and implement. No succession plan occurs overnight. Selecting the right successor, and ensuring the training and support is in place, is a lengthy process. You need the succession plan ready to go so when it’s needed, you can implement without delay.
How do you avoid the dangers of waiting to create a succession plan? You get the ball rolling. Today. Start by downloading my free report, Succession Planning Simplified, where I detail how planning works no matter what stage of life your company - or you - are in.
(Photo by johnharveytolson)
Rock LaManna is the President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance. The LaManna Alliance helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic transition – including mergers, acquisitions, organic growth, and exit / succession plans.