We’ve spent the past few weeks discussing whom will succeed you and how they’ll be prepared. We’ve discussed communication and the importance of putting dates on your plan. All of those things work together to get you and your business through the succession process. But what about you? Ask yourself this: What is your role after the transition takes place?
Are you leaving the business completely? For many family business owners, it’s hard to quit cold turkey. Even if they wanted to walk away entirely, most of them wouldn’t be able to do it. So what will your role be? Is there some specific area of the business you’d like to stay involved in? What are you really passionate about? This is your chance to focus on the things that get you really excited about the business. Where can you add the most value?
One thing to keep in mind: You can’t give up your leadership position without giving up control. Too many family business owners try to have it both ways. The put together a great succession plan, they execute it, and then they don’t actually leave. They keep coming around telling the successor how to do their job. You have to give up control. You aren’t in charge any more. When you act like you are, you undermine the authority of those that are still there, and you confuse the employees. If you’re going to give it up, then give it up.
Just like with your written succession plan, it’s a good idea to have your new role in writing too. What specifically am I going to do? What specifically am I not going to do? Too often family members think, “Oh, we’ll just work something out”, and then they end up fighting about it later. Don’t set yourself, your family, and your business up for failure. Agree on what you’re going to do, and then stick to it.
So what will your role be? What are you really passionate about? What do you want the next chapter in your life to look like?