Family business succession is never simple; there could be a lot to account for when transitioning from one generation to the next. That process gets even more complicated when there are multiple successors set to take over leadership of the company.
There can be many complexities to navigate in the distribution of succession. However, the key to executing a smooth transition is maintaining balance in three dimensions:
- Operational — There will likely be a tension between those successors with a penchant for innovation and those who favor the status quo. It’s important that operational responsibilities are distributed and expectations set in order that each type of successor can thrive in his or her own arena—whether that’s in maintaining operational stability or finding new ways to grow and thrive.
- Ownership — Not all successors are created equal. The balance of responsibility may fall unevenly upon the next generation of leaders. That said, equity must be allocated to offer each successor a stake equal to his or her value.
- Communication — For as long as your business has existed, informal communication channels have developed amongst employees. These relational “back channels” are the glue that holds an organization together. Each successor will need to be plugged into the channel that serves his or her new function.
Are you struggling to decide how to dole out ownership or management responsibility to multiple successors? As messy as it may seem, the fact that you have multiple qualified individuals primed to take over the ownership or management of the company should be a great encouragement. With careful communication and preparation, this new class of leaders can take the company into new and exciting areas.
By the way, if you need help sorting out this complex issue, this step-by-step conversation guide from a psychologist could help. Check it out.