This is an excerpt from an article we authored for Family Business Magazine. You can read the full-length article HERE.
In 2012, our family business began a healthy succession process – but do not mistake “healthy” for “painless.” We did all the right things — planned, brought in outside advisers. However, while the emotions were expected, they were woefully underestimated. Succession is a mind game with opposing views from one generation to the next. Here are 8 things we learned about the emotional challenges that come with the process.
8 Emotional Lessons of Succession
1. An outside adviser is essential for cutting through emotions.
2. Differing timelines can be a great source of frustration.
3. As successful as the current business strategies have been, the next generation will make changes.
4. Decisions impact more than the incoming and outgoing president.
5. A sense of obligation is not a good reason to be the successor.
6. Other family members need to be part of the succession process.
7. Emotions cause you to make bad decisions.
8. A heaviness comes with leadership.
There are many more lessons we learned through the process, but it was the emotions that were the obstacle. They often keep people from making tough decisions and applying the appropriate level of detail. Now, we see the process as a blessing because we know many don’t have the opportunity to plan for succession as we did. Six years later, we can look back and say that our transition has been a good one.
Mike Sipple, Jr. is president of Centennial Talent Strategy & Executive Search and co-founder and CEO of Talent Magnet Institute; Mike Sipple, Sr. is chairman and CEO of Centennial Talent Strategy & Executive Search and co-founder of Talent Magnet Institute.