Business success, more than just “getting by,” is an essential first step to succession planning. Success is a key ingredient to Succession. It drives momentum, culture, purpose and profits that create business value.

As I work my way around the patch, I am often asked, “Swami of Succession, how do I build a level of success to justify succession planning?” It should come as no surprise to you that I don’t have a “silver bullet” answer. However, I can definitely share some “do’s” and “don’ts” of leadership and management that I have consistently witnessed as having a direct impact on success. 


  • Understand the source of success

    When it comes to being successful; franchises, incentives, hot merchandise, locations, buildings and processes are not the answer, otherwise success would be easy. Your people are your most influential resource. Depending upon their motivation, they can either fuel your business or weigh it down. Unfortunately, you cannot make your people achieve the extraordinary. You can only inspire through teaching, coaching and encouragement.

    Your employees must choose to work together as a team, go the extra mile and seek success. Every choice by every employee has an impact on your success, good or bad. As a leader, your “assignment” is to inspire and motivate them to choose success. 

  • Be a role model for the behavior, attitude, passion and commitment you expect

    Every supervisor sets the standards for those below them. Optimism breeds optimism; energy breeds energy; passion breeds passion. Unfortunately you can also reverse the formula – laziness breeds laziness and pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. On days when you or one of your managers don’t have the right stuff, stay home; go pound a golf ball or hang out with someone who can help you regain your focus and purpose. 

  • Demand teamwork

    You cannot compete without being able to do “more with less”.  A task master with a whip cannot create magic whereas teamwork is the key to achieving extraordinary results. 

  • Praise the good

    Don’t let above-and-beyond effort go unacknowledged. If you spend the time affirming the good of your employees, the “force” will influence those in the dark side  to either go the extra mile or be starved off the lot through lack of recognition.


  • Use “but”

    If you are motivated to give praise, let the seed of affirmation germinate into confidence before following with “but you can do better.” Otherwise, you are just wasting your breath and building frustration. No one hears a praise followed by a “but”. Minimally, use two sentences and lose the “but”; or be prepared to be known as a butt.

  • Think you can do the extraordinary by continuing to do the ordinary

    Different results require you to come out of your comfort zone. Minimally, that means new approaches, processes, ideas and probably new people who are receptive and motivated to try new things.

  • Tolerate mediocrity

    Those who aren’t willing to strive for extra ordinary have no long term place in a successful business. Successful organizations are always in search of team members who will give their best. You can’t make room for dedicated team players or make them feel comfortable if slackers are hanging on.

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