Succession Planning Today: Why Wait for the Push?
When it comes to strategic planning, many RIA founders put it off. Decision-making around succession or exit strategies isn’t fun, and it’s easy to feel like it can be taken care of “later.”
This was certainly my experience. It felt easier, for a while at least, to just go with the flow of how the business was naturally unfolding. After all, our asset levels and revenues were up! Dealing with the more urgent, day-to-day tasks filled my days, so it was easy to be the queen of avoidance and procrastination.
Until we were pushed.
A push is not a plan
For the record, I hate being pushed! Most people do.
But my firm was pushed into thinking about succession by both external and internal events. There was unexpected staff turnover, a partner’s illness, and another’s untimely retirement. You can read more about that experience here.
When it comes to succession planning, a push could be any number of things that are happening to (and within) your business. A push could also be personal: your health, your marriage, your family. But whatever the circumstance or event, a push means that you’ve been forced toward a succession plan when you aren’t ready to take action—or when it’s not what you thought you wanted.
Luckily, you can avoid having a push blindside you by starting to develop your vision for succession now.
Craft a vision to pull you through
In an earlier post, “Why Succession Planning Should Start in the Mirror,” [LINK to July 11, 2017 blog post] I spoke about the importance of self-reflection. It’s critical to truly understand what your own personal “win” is relative to your business, as well as to the next chapter of your life and career.
For me, gaining clarity around the vision I had for our business and for my own next chapter was key to experiencing a major shift in perspective. It was the discovery of my “Win-Win.” It made me excited about what was coming next and truly pulled me forward.
The feeling of being pulled by my vision (rather than pushed by circumstance) helped to erase the worry and anxiety that had been making me resist the process of negotiation. I stopped second-guessing the sale of our business and embraced the next chapter.
Clarity is key
“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim.
When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
When you choose a powerful mindset, you can design what you want. And the key to choosing a powerful mindset is clarity about your “win.” What do you truly desire?
This insight—your clear vision of your “win”—is a huge motivator. It is rocket fuel for getting you to take action—even when you don’t feel like it. To program your personal GPS, you must know where you’re going. Find your harbor!
An exciting, clear vision for the future will pull you forward into your next chapter.
Is your vision pulling you?
Do you have a vision so clear that you’re excited to chase it? Is it enough to make the achievement of your goals feel effortless and natural?
Or, are you waiting to be pushed?
Today is a fresh opportunity to understand more about what your personal WIN looks like and feels like. When it comes to succession planning and designing your next chapter, there are a few key questions to ask yourself:
- What would excite me to get up every day?
- What thoughts or beliefs are holding me back from clearing space in my calendar and creating the time to consider an ideal plan?
- Why do I do this work, and what is the legacy I want to experience and leave?
- What would be different if my perspective shifted from “I have to do strategic planning” to “I want to create a legacy”?
Imagine what it will feel like when you’re fired up and taking steps to create a situation that works for you, your family, your clients, and your team. That’s the feeling of pursuing your win. No matter who you are or how old you are, no matter how big or small your firm is—it’s only too late if you don’t start now!
Start with yourself, your vision, your plan. But know that you don’t have to start alone.