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Emotions in Business

October 6, 2015, 1


Kevin Spafford, CFP®

We’ve all done it - lashed out at something or someone for no particular reason. Emotions are inconsistent and uncontrollable. Although they often direct our actions, emotions should not be used to determine the suitability of a business decision. One of the biggest blunders any business owner can make is allowing emotion to dictate business decisions.

Non-emotional, objective decisions promote rational, consistent, and fair outcomes. Emotion as a motivator is necessary but, to maintain a sound business endeavor, it must be tempered by rational thought.  Emotional decisions are especially evident as one chooses a successor to manage the business or farm, and have the power to make or break the future of your operation.


A plethora of emotional choices loom as one considers a successor. The potential perils include:

  • Multiple family members are involved in the farming operation.
  • The child who works in the business does not have the requisite skills to manage the operation.
  • You have several children, yet not all of them work in the business.
  • Despite the allegiance of an exceptionally loyal employee, you feel compelled to choose a child as successor. 

The emotional ties that bind are not simple and, coupled with an unwillingness to let go, thwart your transition objectives.

How do you make decisions?  Although there is no single best way to handle decision-making for your farming operation, being aware of your own inclinations may help you more effectively communicate with others. (eLegacyConnect tool available for public access - with no login required - through October 29, 2015.)

Subscribe to LegacyConnection, our free weekly eNewsletter, for planning tips, tools, and more.

Note: We also invite you to follow Legacy by Design's company page on LinkedIn, highlighting a new succession-related topic each month.

Have questions specific to your family?  We’re always happy to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to discuss your family’s succession objectives, review potential next steps, and determine how we can help.


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