One of the first roadblocks to successful succession planning is procrastination. "We have plenty of time" is used by the majority of senior generations when it comes to succession. Viewing succession as an event and not a process is also a big roadblock to the long-term survival of the family business as is poor family communication.
is not something we can control. None of us know how much time we have left in our lives. Succession planning is always more successful when families can work together in planning for the future of the business and the family. Families change, people change. That is why succession has to be a
. A process that is reviewed by the family every year.
Begin the process with open, honest
by each working family member concerning their intentions for the future. Without this regularly scheduled and on-going communication the unspeakables take over. The unspeakables are those issues the family avoids yet create stress and even mistrust among the family. Communication of working family members begins with weekly meetings. Meetings with an agenda, where respect for one another is the guiding principle of all meetings. Communication and interaction based on the firm belief that the success of the family depends upon helping one another be as successful as possible. Communication that consists of keeping one another informed and never taking for granted that others know what you are doing. Communication that keeps non-working family members, who may have an interest in the estate of the senior generation, in the loop. Communication that consists of at least once a year family information meetings to help head off any misconceptions that can cause stress and a breakdown in family relationships.