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It's That Time Of Year! - Blog | Official Site for Legacy by Design - Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners

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It's That Time of Year!

December 10, 2015, 1


Kevin Spafford, CFP®

For farmers, late fall is for harvest, for families it’s for holiday dinners, and for family agribusiness owners it’s for planning. Like planting in the spring, farmers should think of planning in autumn. A comprehensive succession plan is your opportunity for renewal. Fall is a time of optimism and rejuvenation.

As autumn now wanes and winter begins, it's a good time to gather the family and review your succession plan. If you don’t have one, this is a great opportunity to start. The warm feelings of family and the close of another year’s harvest fill us with positive thoughts and encourage us to think about the future.

If I may, don’t just think about the future. Do something about it... Follow these five suggestions to begin the process:

  1. Schedule a planning meeting with your management team. Before the meeting, distribute pertinent business/financial/market information that may help to inform the family and encourage constructive conversations.
  2. Establish a set of planning meeting behavior guidelines. The meeting should not become a management-driven diatribe, but rather a dialogue among a mutually respectful family.
  3. Allow each attendee the opportunity to participate. Carefully consider each person’s input; as a part of the family, their input may be valuable. Remember, they see the world differently than you. Listen and learn.
  4. Consider utilizing an outside facilitator and meeting in an offsite (neutral) location. Both of these factors promote open communication well beyond a hierarchal chain of command. People, especially younger generations, need to feel safe in order to speak freely and willingly offer suggestions.
  5. Conclude the meeting with a strategy for follow-up. Divide follow-up actions around the family. Including others encourages them to be part of the solution and take ownership in the outcome.

Get started today.  A year from now, you'll be glad you did.


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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