There are many elements that are key to a successful business and it is not a walk in the park. Most often, some of these characteristics include:

  • A strong leader who is on top of their business
  • Someone who is able to wear many hats and put out fires as they arise
  • Someone who has earned the respect of their managers who would follow them anywhere
  • And someone who is aware of the daily activities of their business and operates with an open-door policy their managers are happy to take advantage of

While this leadership style is currently an asset to operations, it is also a liability to succession.

There is no doubt that you have dedicated yourself to acquiring the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to elevate your business to reach optimum performance levels.  This is  a big accomplishment, so naturally, you want to closely monitor operations in an effort to protect and fine-tune the business for your successor.  This admirable approach in getting directly involved in low-level matters, unfortunately only strengthens your role as that of a Succession Liability.  The truth is, the strength of your direct leadership weakens the team.  Your successor will naturally benefit greatly from a high-performing business, but equally important will be a high-performing management team who has been empowered to operate the business with little to no reliability on you.  Your successor will need to rely on a strong team as he/she learns how to navigate the waters and become the leader in your absence.   One of the best ways to accomplish this is to adopt a stewardship mentality, empowering the management team to carry the successor through the leadership transition period. 

One of the greatest contributions a business owner can make to the succession process is the development and communication of a strategic plan.   Providing direction and empowering your team to see it through will not only allow you to take off a few hats, it will transition you from a succession liability to a succession asset.