Leave a Legacy
Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project. He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.
Simple and Effective
Jul 23, 2012
From Legacy Moment (07/20/2012).
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Benjamin Franklin had a simple if not excellent method for making decisions. He used a "T" bar to compare and contrast the pros and cons of any decision. Whether you label him a statesman, founding father, inventor, printer, or publisher, he was a genius. His depth of pragmatic understanding is evident in everything he accomplished. As Americans, we’re the living beneficiaries of his legacy.
Albert Einstein said everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. Franklin’s "T" to articulate the advantages and disadvantages of a particular decision certainly fits the bill. Try it the next time you’re faced with a tough choice and indecision seems to rule the day. Literally draw a "T" on a sheet of paper, with "Pros" and "Cons" on either side of the page. Then, allowing your mind to simmer on the question, begin listing each pro or con that comes to mind.
After you’ve compiled the list, Franklin recommends you go with the alternative that has the most entries. If advantage outweighs disadvantage, your path is clear—go for it. If disadvantage outweighs advantage—decline it. In the following example, I’ve used Franklin’s decision-making model to decide if a person should engage in the succession planning process.
Engaging in succession planning:
|Control the outcome
||Pay a planning fee
|Include family in the decisions
||Loss of privacy
|Allow next generation to prepare
||Limit options/ability to change course
|Plan for the future
||Upset family harmony/cause conflict
Eliminate estate tax/transfer
|Disagreements about the recommendations/results
|Save money and wealth
|Pass along family values/farming wisdom/ valuable experiences
|Leave a lasting legacy
News & Resources for You:
As you begin to consider succession planning objectives, these 20 statements may help you identify your key priorities and potential first steps.