Building a business that will continue and succeed through multiple generations requires a focus on successor identification and development. There are six key attributes for evaluating your potential successors: availability, competence, character, commitment, capacity, and community.

Some successors are obvious based upon their demonstrated performance and potential. However, most successor candidates have to be identified and reviewed based upon their talent and past behaviors. Successor candidates may be key managers or family members; whomever you identify and ultimately select should be a representation and leader of success.

To prevent unreasonable “heir to the throne” assumptions of potential family member successors, it is critical that you establish reasonable expectations for full time employment and performance accountability. The best way to confirm reasonable expectations is through a personalized and well-developed successor training curriculum that details their path for gaining experience in all critical departments of the business. This career development path, not only sets expectations and accountability for growth, but also helps them earn the respect of key managers. In all circumstances, a well thought out development and training program provides progressive challenges to confirm that a successor is a worthy steward for leadership and management responsibility.

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