THE SUCCESSION PLANNING CROSS ROAD
By John Moor
Let me start by asking you a question:
We will all get to a point in our lives where we will look back on what we have achieved and done: we will be extremely proud of certain things we have done and there will be other areas of our past in which we know we could have done better. When it comes to succession planning did, we or will we choose a road that leads to opportunity and prosperity for our families or one that leads to family destruction and division???
There are many names one can use for the plans we have for our future: succession planning, continuity planning, transition planning, preferred future planning… interestingly they all have a common word; you guessed it – PLANNING !!. Just like planning a journey, it takes time and effort and a few key decisions on how to reach your destination.
Let us use the analogy of a crossroads. No matter from which direction we approach the intersection we only have 3 choices: left, right and straight ahead. No matter which one we choose we would need to stop, assess the situation, and then proceed with caution. This is not that different with succession planning.
We always have choices.
When you get to the “crossroads of Succession planning” what are you going to do??
Let us briefly explore the 3 possible options and some practical steps we can take to get us down the bumpy road!!
1.The Road of Denial:
The easiest option would be to go straight on ahead without so much as a brief pause, failing to see the traffic coming down the side roads hooting and shouting for your attention as you single mindedly cross the intersection. This I believe is the “road of denial” the “my way or no way track”, the “dead end” and will almost always lead to a pile up of broken relationships, divided families, and hardship.
Fortunately, you still have 2 other option at the “crossroads of succession” turn left this time and you will find …
2. The Road of Good Intentions:
A family willing to discuss their plans for the future, their needs, aspirations and dreams. A family that is more interested in the collective needs of everyone rather than those of themselves. They all have great plans and are prepared to meet to discuss the future, include all stake holders. Their one misguided decision, however, is the belief that they can do this all on their own.
The first meeting is called held around the dining room table in Mum and Dad’s house and to their dismay things don’t go according to plan, emotions run high, words are difficult to find and things are said that will be regretted later, someone storms out and the meeting is OVER.
Down the road a second meeting is called to try and fix what happened at the first meeting and no one is prepared to attend, leaving everyone feeling like it would have been easier to just proceed straight at the Cross road and get on with my life.
So, what is down the “right” turn at the “succession cross road”
3.The Road less travelled
It is the same willing family, only this time there are sign boards all along the road before the family farm entrance.
My advice is to turn down each of these in turn, use the professional advice of trusted associates and over time with a trained professional facilitator at each meeting build a robust succession plan that is both flexible and tough enough to withstand change as and when change comes and it will!!
The first sign reads Professional facilitator. I specialize in
- Communication skills.
- Conflict resolution.
- Meeting procedures.
- Strategic planning.
- Options and new ideas.
- Family meeting facilitation.
- Succession education and training.
- Business viability analysis.
- Great referrals to others down the road…
The second sign board reads Legal eagles’ retreat. They specialize in
- Business structures, trusts, companies,
- partnerships etcFamily law.
- Business law.
- Estate planning, wills and POA.
The third sign board reads, Financial advisors. They specialize in
- Investment advice and personalized planning.
- Retirement planning.
The last sign board reads Rural Business accountants, specialists in
- Tax planning.
- Estate planning.
- Rural business bookkeeping.
You need all these peoples input to build a robust time tested and flexible Succession Plan.
Let me help you start the journey with a facilitated family meeting to get everything said that needs to be said in a safe environment. I have helped with over 200 families around the world start and deal with succession planning. It takes time and commitment, the rewards however far outweigh the effort.
0449 887 875