CHAPTER 14Succession

A leadership development plan is moot without an understanding of the future of the organization to which professionals are committing their careers. It is unrealistic for a firm to ask for the talent, commitment, effort, and heart of G2 professionals without providing a credible plan for the exit of the founders, especially if that exit is visible and necessary (i.e., in the foreseeable future).

A succession plan does not always have to be limited to transactions internal to the organization. A good succession plan should be flexible and open to the possibility that not every future owner will come from within the firm. In many cases, the succession plan may involve a combination of internal and external transactions. A good plan, however, defines the values and goals of the organization to be preserved and realistically addresses the steps the firm can take to protect those values.

For example, the statement “We will never sell the firm to anyone who does not work at the firm” may be premature and unrealistic. As many founders have found out, G2 professionals are not always interested in buying all of the firm. “We will ensure that future owners share in the same values that we live by as an organization and will not consider organizations or people who have not proven that they live by the same values” is better stated.

Internal succession is always a critical process, even if the ultimate exit of the founders is facilitated through an external transaction. ...

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