A lot has been said and reams of paper have been dedicated to what is popularly known as the “founder’s syndrome.” When everything related to important decision making and the very profile of an organization become so associated with one person or small group of people, it is time we need to sit back and think about the future. In such a case, proactive succession planning becomes imperative to keep the most special qualities of the founder’s original vision alive in the future.
The bottom line: the founder, the inventor, the one who started it all – whose brains, innovation, entrepreneurial drive, sweat, tears, and money went into building success—must think about the future, plan for his or her replacement, and ultimately move aside for the good of the organization.
Here are four important steps to begin succession planning:
Have a contingency plan
Think of a hypothetical situation and start with a contingency succession plan. A contingency plan sketches out a potential individual who has decision-making authority if the leader is suddenly unable or unwilling to serve. This plan also describes the process the organization will use to determine a permanent successor.
Put the plan in writing
A well-documented and written plan gives a definite shape to the business owner’s intentions, and creates legal documentation of what the future should hold. Attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors should be consulted in this process.
Have the conversation
Just like sex, talking about death becomes uncomfortable and awkward. But that shouldn’t mean that it’s not pursued or left to be figured out later. A plan in place and the future of business depends on a heart-to-heart conversation between the founder and his/her progeny.
Teach, train and foster
While the plan puts a context in place, nothing can be more helpful than hands-on-experience and a comprehensive documentation. A lot of founders recommend creating a booklet for life that contains the company’s most important information: corporate documents, wills, lists of vendors, friends of the business, and other important contacts.
We at Sellosphere believe that the founder however helpless he feels or can’t let go of the control, there comes a time when s/he will need to move on. Better now than never. Time to put a successor in place so that things become easier for one and all.