“Who’s going to lead my company in the future?”
Leading shines the spot light on you for a season. Your time at the helm may be that as the founder of the company and spans a career. Perhaps, you’ve been promoted to lead from within leader or hired from the outside. Regardless, you are the leader! And your day in the spotlight will one day end and another person will have their turn in the spotlight.
The On-Purpose Business Person is a story of succession… a poorly planned one that required a turnaround. Here’s a hidden secret about succession planning – done right it grows the business regardless of whether a succession happens or not. It’s the attitude of stewardship, forward thinking, and emphasis on people development that makes it perform better than annual business planning. By cleaning up the company for the next person, the business invariably runs more smoothly.
Cancer struck too close to home. He was a mid-50s CEO of $100 million per year company with 49 employees. After 20+ years of being in business, they could close the business, wind down some few remaining contracts, and be together at home and to see the world with what time she had remaining. They remained optimistic for her health, but he was ready to sell it all to be with her should these be her last days.
But it wasn’t that easy. While the business was extraordinarily well organized and managed, there was no succession plan in place plus the business relied heavily on the financial statement and personality of the CEO/founder. Not only did it make sense to keep the business operating, the CEO and his wife felt a duty to do right by the 49 people with who they served and served them. These were honorable people through and through.
On-Purpose Partners was engaged to confidentially explore all the succession options and to effect a positive end result. After months of analysis, the decision was to promote from within and to transfer stock through a combination of sweat equity and buy-in earned via bonuses. From this decision, our work involved:
- Providing leadership succession assessment, planning, identification, and selection
- Organizational development
- Trained identified rising leader on personal, business, and leadership competencies
- Collaborated with financial and legal team to effect a wise and smooth transition
Sadly, she died within 4 years. Fortunately, the succession plan has been successful. He remains as a minority stock holder Chairman of the Board who mentors the five person leadership team and their increasing financial ability to carry the credit of the company.
Tip: Download and listen to this podcast interview with Kevin W. McCarthy by Ryan Tansom, an expert on succession planning for business owners and founders. Go to episode 62: Find Your Purpose in Business and Life. Check out Ryan’s podcast series called Life After Business.