family-business-succession-planningSuccession planning in a family business involves much more than drafting wills and trusts. While these legal aspects are crucial, they represent only a small fraction of the overall picture. To ensure the long-term success and sustainability of your family business, you must consider various factors, including culture, strategic growth, and the intricate dynamics of your team. In this article, we explore the essential elements of effective family business succession planning, focusing on building emotional intelligence and strategic growth.

Emotional Intelligence in Succession Planning:

Successful family business succession planning goes beyond financial and legal matters; it delves into the realm of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence encompasses the ability to recognize and manage emotions in oneself and others. In a family business environment, understanding the emotional landscape of your team is crucial for smooth transitions and harmonious relationships.

Building Trust: Effective succession planning involves building trust within the team. When team members understand each other’s motivations, emotions, and communication styles, trust can flourish. Trust is the foundation of successful teamwork and leadership.

Addressing Relational Baggage: Family businesses often carry relational baggage and past frustrations. Patience is essential when dealing with these issues. Open communication and empathy can help family members and team members overcome roadblocks in their relationships.

Conflict Resolution Styles: Understanding conflict resolution styles is vital. Thomas Killman identified five conflict styles: Accommodating, Avoiding, Compromising, Competing, and Collaborating. Each individual leans on one or more of these styles. Recognizing your preferred style and those of your team members can lead to more effective conflict resolution.

Creating Flexibility: Emotional intelligence provides the tools to create flexibility in interactions. By knowing yourself and your team members better, you can adapt to different circumstances and relate to each other more effectively.

Strategic Growth and Business Value:

Beyond the emotional aspects, strategic growth is another key component of family business succession planning. A successful transition requires a well-thought-out plan that considers the following factors:

Culture: Your business’s culture plays a vital role in attracting and retaining talent. A positive and inclusive culture fosters loyalty and commitment among employees, reducing turnover rates.

Key Leader Retention: Identify and retain key leaders who can help steer the business through transitions. Their experience and expertise are invaluable during succession.

Strategic Planning: Develop a clear strategic plan that outlines the business’s long-term goals and how to achieve them. A robust strategy provides a roadmap for the future and ensures business continuity.

Teamwork: Effective teamwork is essential for business success. Encourage collaboration, communication, and a shared vision among your team members.

Customer Service: Satisfied customers are the lifeblood of any business. Ensure that your customer service remains consistent and aligned with your brand values during transitions.

Processes and Procedures: Streamline and document your business processes and procedures to ensure continuity and efficiency. Well-defined processes reduce uncertainty during transitions.


Family business succession planning is a multifaceted endeavor that combines legal and emotional aspects with strategic growth considerations. Building emotional intelligence within your team can lead to better relationships, trust, and conflict resolution. Additionally, strategic growth factors, such as culture, key leader retention, and customer service, are vital for long-term success.

In today’s business landscape, where people are the heart of any organization, addressing the dynamics of your team, culture, and family relationships is paramount. By taking a holistic approach to succession planning, you can pave the way for a successful transition and the continued prosperity of your family business. Remember, it’s not just about wills and trusts; it’s about creating a sustainable legacy.

For more insights, check out the video below from Joe Chastang of Chastang Ford. 


  • Joe Chastang Succession Success Stories
  • Succession Readiness Survey:  A 7-minute investment in time will put you in an informed position of opportunities many business owners overlook, impacting business value, growth, lifestyle, and ultimately achieving your vision.
  • Contact Us: We can help you with insights and other resources and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business immediately.

The Succession Planning Matrix

Many people put off succession planning because they think it means retirement, exit, and the end. However; succession planning is just the beginning. It gives the owner options in terms of what “their next” looks like, whether that be growth, philanthropy, or a new business venture. Our process focuses are addressing 10 key areas of what we call the Succession

Click the following link for more drill-down resources on The Succession Matrix, or check out our Facebook post.

Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay informed on how to overcome related succession planning issues.

We can help you with insights, other resources, and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business right away.