During the Christmas season, people still sing about Frosty the Snowman and that old silk hat the children found and placed on his head. For when the kids put it on his head, Frosty began to dance around. There was magic in the air.

I like magic. I Iike it so much that I actually believe in it. I’ve seen it transform individuals and organizations and take them from average to head of the class. MAGIC can be especially important with succession planning.

MAGIC does have its drawbacks, however. You see, it simply won’t occur unless you work at making it happen. It takes a lot of discipline. And balance. And focus. And, most importantly, it takes a lot of courage.

If you want it to work, it helps to think of the word itself – MAGIC – as an acronym for these five words: Must Always Get In Close. There are no exceptions to this principle. If you want to see magic work, you must always get in close.

That’s really what happens with succession planning: you get in close and personal with what and who is important to you. Try it out for yourself with these 10 questions, listed in no particular order of importance:

  1. What do I want to achieve?
  2. Will it take incremental or monumental progress?
  3. What one thing could kill or give birth to this achievement?
  4. If successfully undertaken, how will it build value in my life?
  5. What changes are required to get from where you are to where you want to be?
  6. What’s the timeline for executing the strategies required for success?
  7. Do I have the resources required to make this work?
  8. Are new resources (people, ideas, attitudes, processes and procedures) needed?
  9. Is this achievement aligned with my values?
  10. How do I keep this simple?

A well-developed succession plan answers all ten of these questions for you. It directs your attention to personal and professional satisfaction; decreases the level of stress and anxiety in your life; and helps build strong relationships with your blood and business families. Do those benefits make it worth your while to take a chance?

The real work in all of this, some might say the real risk, is that you can’t give magic just half of your attention. You can’t walk it half the way home. If you are not all in, you might as well stay home.

Think of succession planning as your personal magic act. You are the star of the show, and everyone else has a supporting role. You can write the script based on the answers to the ten questions above. Focus on what you want to accomplish and the natural law of attraction will work to your advantage – everything will seem to magically conspire to take you where you want to go. But first, you Must Always Get In Close. Then you will know what it feels like to discover the use of fire.

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