The Key Ingredients for Family Business Succession Success  ( 2min read)

“Vision without execution is hallucination.” Thomas A. Edison

85% of family businesses that fail in transition do so because of poor communication and insufficient preparation. That’s why, every day, we work with family business owners to ensure they’re having the key conversations needed to plan for the future.

As much as we emphasize those essential elements, we know there is one ingredient without which no succession plan will ever get off the ground: execution.

On the one hand, execution should be the easiest part of the process. Long hours have been spent engaging in tense yet crucial conversations. Even more time has been invested in strategizing and putting plans in writing. All that’s left is to follow the plan, right?

Not exactly.

Helmuth von Moltke—Chief of Staff of the Prussian army before World War 1—once said, “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.” In the same way, no succession plan survives first contact with the messy realities of transition.

That may be a slight overstatement. But when key positions begin to change over, and authority structures shift from one generation to the next, even the best-laid succession plans come under intense pressure from multiple angles.

The key to forging ahead through the transition is to stand on first principles. Point stakeholders back to the alignment conversations that took place in advance of the transition. Remind employees who your company is, why they’re a part of it, and how this succession plan arose from an in-depth consideration of the previous generation’s vision and values.

Before I forget, this free assessment will help you learn if your family business is prepared to transition from the owner. 


Succession Strength Logo representing seamless transition from generation to generationSuccession Strength, Inc helps entrepreneurs and family business owners pass the business smoothly from owner to heir. Take our free survey today to assess your succession readiness.