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25 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning for Succession

September 20, 2011
By: Kevin Spafford, Farm Journal Columnist

1.    It’s up to you to initiate the process. Exercise your responsibility as a leader and commit to engage.

2.    Or, if someone else initiates the process, support their efforts and agree to action.

3.    Create a safe environment for others to express their ideas, thoughts and/or desires.

4.    Listen to learn. Learning is the basis for all growth, and a large part of succession is growing the operation forward.

5.    Appreciate differences. Other perspectives and differing points of view are not "being wrong."

6.    Grow your relationships. The transition from parent/child to working colleague is an all-the-time effort.

7.    Lead by example. Model the behaviors you hope to teach the next generation.

8.    Don’t impose preconceived ideas on others. Our best intentions are not always welcome and/or correct. Children must be allowed to respond to their interests.


9.    Follow a defined succession planning model and process. Using proven methods and trusted techniques is the most efficient way to achieve your goals.

10.    Confront conflict. Don’t allow the possibility of dissent to impede your progress. Most of the things people worry about never happen.

11.    Employ formal business structures and tools. The right systems encourage objectivity and eliminate subjective decisions.

12.    Mentor someone not related to you. Mentoring is an excellent exercise to learn how to better communicate, teach others and learn from a younger generation.

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