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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

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.

Lots of Money Doesn't Make It Easier

Sep 24, 2013

iStock Wheat SunsetFrom Legacy Moment (09.20.2013).
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"...I hope for their sake that they'll be able to get along," says Donald Trump in "Trump Trio Eyes Succession" in the Wall Street Journal. If you think succession would be easier if you had a bit more money, a bigger farm or any number of excuses for not taking action, you're mistaken. With five kids and a net worth approaching $3 billion, Mr. Trump has plenty to go around, but like other family business owners, he recognizes that, "Succession is usually a disaster..."

The story explains three of his children are grown and actively involved in the business. Two others are still too young. Today, each of the three active children have separate interests and complementary capabilities, which should translate well to create a strong leadership team. Mr. Trump's plan includes equal decision-making power, and the kids seem to agree. Regarding future business transactions, such as an acquisition, Trump's 31-year-old daughter Ivanka says, "If...one of my siblings felt very strongly about not doing it, that would mean something very important to me."

Succession is about money, business and career. Yet, at the root, it's about legacy. It's about building something bigger than self. It's about raising children to be leaders—business owners, parents, siblings, team members, employees and part of a family. Succession is a natural next step for a going concern. It is a process of preserving, promoting and passing a viable operation to a well-prepared next generation. However, it won't happen until you make a commitment and acknowledge that more money or a bigger farm won't make it any easier.

News & Resources for You:

 

Trump Trio Eyes Succession (Robbie Whelan for Wall Street Journal, Sept. 15, 2013).

How are American farm families handling their succession decisions? Take a peek via archived episodes of 'Leave a Legacy TV.'

Interested in peer advisory groups to provide multiple vantage points and constructive feedback? Exclusive to eLegacyConnect, Dr. Danny Klinefelter presents a webinar on Sept. 26. Pre-registration required; no cost, but space is limited. 

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

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