Take a close look at the run together letters above?  Now, without changing the sequence of the letters, break those twenty letters into a sentence.

If you’ve had a particularly difficult day or few days, your sentence might read “Opportunity is nowhere.”  That’s most likely the case if you’ve gotten disappointing results after completing the “Where Are My People” (WAMP) analysis discussed in my previous blog post.  All of a sudden, you have no successor and things aren’t looking real bright when it comes to the key managers and leaders within your organization either.  You might be thinking, “What have I done with that list of business brokers?  I know it’s around here somewhere.”

Tempting as that broker search might be, don’t jump at it.  Those same twenty letters above can create another sentence:  “Opportunity is now here.”  Same twenty letters, same results on the WAMP analysis, and yet a completely different approach to finding a solution.

If you really don’t want to sell your business, you have the opportunity to begin recruiting some additional talent to come in and lead the business through what at first seemed to be a wilderness with only one way out.  There is always a possibility that you will find someone in the twice removed generation who has the complete BASKE (Behavior, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge, and Experience) package that it takes to achieve Succession Success™.

So, how do you find such a person?  You may need to use a professional recruiter; you may be able to tap into your network; or you may have what one of my partners calls an “AGOG” (A Gift Of God) walk into your facility and express an interest in working with/for you.  In any case, you’ve got to be able to describe and recognize someone who’s got the right stuff.

The step by step approach goes something like this:

  1. Identify the characteristics of the people you need or want in key positions.
  2. Look within to see if there are internal candidates that you may have overlooked.
  3. Spread the word that you’re in the market.  Use your network.  If you don’t have one, develop one.
  4. Recruit rather than accept resumes.
  5. Interview with an eye toward culture first and skills second.
  6. Conduct multiple interviews with the people you think fit the mold.  Include spouses or life partners in the process.
  7. Make them an offer that is inspiring and provides for autonomy and self direction, education, and a means of open channel communications.
  8. Pay them obscenely.
  9. Coach them for success. Do that and you may find that “opportunity is now here.”

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