You’ve spent years (perhaps even decades) establishing and growing a successful firm, including an experienced, high performance team and clients who rely on your high quality, unique services.  But the time has come when you’re ready for something new.  Maybe it’s a different role at your current firm or a new venture altogether, or maybe it’s time to work less and enjoy more time with family, on a cherished hobby, or traveling.  If so, it’s time to consider succession planning.

Why engage in succession planning?  Any transition brings change, and anticipating and planning for change minimizes the inevitable anxiety that it triggers.  That anxiety could be that of your staff and/or partners, vendors, and customers who fear the uncertainty of new leadership.  It could be your own fear of the legacy you leave behind.  But with change also comes opportunity – for example, a change (minor or major) in direction for the company that could bring new markets or new revenues.

Succession planning asks the questions that help a leader prepare the firm for future success under new leadership.

For example:

  1. What are the strengths the firm can leverage for future success?
  2. What systems or practices need improvement before your exit?
  3. Who needs to be involved in this transition – internally and externally?
  4. How do you best communicate the transition internally and externally?
  5. Are there emerging leaders here now that you can coach and prep for greater leadership?
  6. When do you want to leave? Is the timeline realistic, i.e. will the firm and you be ready – operationally, financially, and emotionally?
  7. What are other obstacles you should anticipate and plan for, e.g. costs; executive recruitment, selection; and onboarding; your ownership stakes moving forward?

No transition will be challenge-free, but succession planning establishes a sense of direction, stability and a plan of action for your future and your firm’s.

If you’re thinking about succession planning, let’s talk more.

Betsy Wallace
Betsy is committed to strategic growth and leadership strategies for small businesses. Prior to joining the CSR team and founding E. Wallace Strategies, Betsy was a Senior Relationship Manager with NeighborWorks America, the country’s preeminent leader in affordable housing and community development. In her nineteen years with NeighborWorks, Betsy consulted with network members developing growth strategies and sustaining partnerships, collaborations, and alliances to expand their impact in communities across the United States. She honed almost two decades of expertise in organizational development, executive transition, program evaluation, and governance as well. Betsy co-managed and served as a Coach for NeighborWorks America’s national Excellence in Governance program and served on the Faculty of the NeighborWorks Training Institute.