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Whose Responsibility Is It?
American Soybean Association
Posted - October 23, 2014
Not mine, theirs or yours: three dissimilar ways of approaching the succession planning process. Which way do you see it?
An attitude of “not mine” implies that you assume someone else will control the outcome. Are you sitting by, anticipating the succession planning outcome will align with your goals?
Is it “their” responsibility? If that’s the case, you can’t expect much and certainly shouldn’t be surprised when the outcome is not the result you would have chosen.
If you approach the succession planning process as “your” responsibility, you can make a difference. You control the agenda, affect the decisions and react to the actions of others from a position of strength. When it’s yours, you might not always win, but you’ll be stronger for the challenge and better prepared to succeed.
Each generation active in operation has a responsibility to prepare for transition to the future. The biggest challenge, and probably the most critical factor in succession, is developing well-prepared next generation leaders. The senior generation must model the actions and behaviors they want the next gen leaders to adopt.
As the family begins the succession planning process, talk about all aspects of the transition.The first priority is a plan that enhances the integrity of the operation. The second is to ensure each active family’s financial security. Succession is about making things better and more certain. Finally, the plan should include preparing a next generation for leadership. A professional development plan may include education, experience and a growing network of professional resources.
So, rather than wonder whose responsibility it is, step forward and proclaim it’s yours. A great place to begin is ASA’s succession planning workshops in Moline, Ill. and Columbus, Ohio, sponsored in part by Farm Credit, AGCO, Illinois Soybean Association, Michigan Soybean Association and Ohio Soybean Association. The six hour events, in partnership with eLegacyConnect, are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4 (Moline, Ill.) and Jan 15 (Columbus, Ohio). Through sharing five keys to effectively plan for succession, I’ll help you gain the confidence to begin the conversation and the process to pass your family farm to a well-prepared next generation. It’s simple to learn more or register—just go to SoyGrowers.com, and click on Succession Planning Workshops in the page header.
The decision is yours; choose to make 2015 a year of commitment and action for your farm, family, and future. Take the initiative; a year from now, you’ll be glad you got started today. I look forward to seeing you in Moline or Columbus.
Kevin Spafford’s firm, Legacy by Design (Legacy-by-Design.com), exclusively serves the succession planning needs of farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness owners. eLegacyConnect (eLegacyConnect.com), is an online community, providing succession solutions for farm families. To contact Kevin, call (877) 523-7411 or Kevin@Legacy-by-Design.com.
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