I'm a smaller company . . . .
So is Succession Planning for us? I noticed that much of the reading I was doing on the topic was from consulting companies that referred to global organizations. Most businesses, while doing work outside of their own geography, are not of the scope/scale of the organizations referenced.
We do not have the 'stomach' for major programsIt our last Blog post, we referenced that Succession Planning is a process. The research that addresses small/medium companies and/or family businesses use that word as well. Ivan Landsberg, a Yale University expert in family businesses, coined the term Succession Conspiracy. Forces against a company's leadership starting this process include:
- Reluctance to let go
- Personal loss of identity
- Fear of change
- Norms against discussing 'mortality'
Start with CommunicationTo make succession work, the process needs to be discussed - pointing out (in actual truth) that this is a long-term process - 3 to 6 years in advance. Talking and actual planning can then be done in small but planful steps - with a timeline. The goals of the long timeframe are anything but transparent and very important:
- Pass the business along successfully
- Reassure employees, suppliers and customers (and family members if appropriate) that the business will continue