Call Us Toll Free: (877) 523-7411
Don't Know Where to Start?
By Kevin Spafford, for Farm Progress Magazines
By the time they contacted me, this well-intended couple was nearly to the end of their patience. As so many do, they’d been to attorneys, asked their accountant, and talked to the banker, but they couldn’t get any definitive suggestions about where to start planning for succession. They felt like they were running in circles, asking a variety of questions and getting an even bigger range of expert opinions---often about topics completely unrelated to their concerns.
What they really wanted to know was, “Based on our situation:
- Do the owners, the family, and the operation have the justification for succession planning?
- Do members of the family share common goals? If so, what are they?
- Are there any concerns that will unduly inhibit the family’s ability to implement a plan?”
Family meetings are relatively easy to plan. We suggest you follow an agenda and meet in a neutral location. Everyone, from grandparents to sons/daughters-in-law, should be invited to attend. Someone should keep notes and if possible record the entire event. Reading the ‘minutes’ of a previous meeting will save time, short-cut potential arguments, and encourage clarity. A family meeting allows all to hear what’s said, when it’s said, how it’s said, and in context.
As a run-up to the retreat, consider using an assessment tool to learn more about each attendee. Assessment tools can be used to define the motivations, personality, work character, abilities, etc. of a participant. The information can be used for discussion, for a variety of activities, as a way to form work teams, and/or to assign job responsibilities. The organization can use an assessment to measure the leadership culture.
Using the results from the assessments above, compare and contrast the current leadership culture with the desired leadership culture of the organization and then explore opportunities to improve the culture, based on the clearly defined objectives. Create teams of like and opposite personality types and design activities that test abilities to work through a variety of challenging activities. Results, in and of themselves, can be revealing. Applied to team events, participants can learn a lot about themselves, others, and their reaction to situations.
From there you can devise action plans that may improve the culture, promote communication around common objectives, and grow understanding throughout the family. In a recent consultation, we convened for a two day leadership retreat designed to:
- Build trust across the leadership team.
- Promote open communication and shared responsibility.
- Pull the team together around a shared experience.
Using the retreat setting, develop communication and create opportunities that build on learning activities. Allow time for each person to write a professional development/personal improvement action plan. Make sure to have each participant share their plan and commit to achievement in front of the group.
Then encourage attendees to become accountable to each other. Invite them to follow up from time-to-time and add a bit of peer pressure to the commitment. Most people respond well to shared commitment and mutual follow-up.
Following our last retreat, the client family enjoyed the interaction and the shared experience has helped them to come together as a team, committed to preserving the family farming operation and creating a lasting legacy.
Published as 'How to Start Succession Planning', by Kevin Spafford for "Farm Progress" magazines, May 2015.
Photo courtesy of Hawks Angus (unrelated to article content).
Levitra is a drug that has been recommended for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. In fact, it has been in the market for quite a long period of time now. Whenever you are shopping for the drug, it is very important to note that not all the drug stores can offer quality products. There are various kinds of Order Levitra online drugs in the market, thus, you should take time to find the right one for you.