Succession: Who Is the Best Match for Your Business?
Posted by Robert Dougan on May. 10, 2016
You’ve worked hard your entire career to build a successful business that you are proud of. So when it comes time to plan for a successor for your business, it is understandable that you wouldn’t want to pass your legacy over to just anyone!
One of the most important steps in succession planning is finding the right match for your business and your clients – someone who can complement what you have built. A great deal of trust is involved during the succession planning process to transition the business over to a person with the same values, beliefs, business philosophy, and acumen. Hence, building that trust is a critical ingredient to success when looking for the ideal match for your business.
The Importance of Trust in the Matching Process
With over 35 years of research in the area of matching people in business, we’ve found three levels of trust that are important in any business relationship:
The first level of trust is commonality between the owner and the buyer, their clients, core values, etc. In any relationship, especially when meeting someone for the first time, establishing a sense of having something in common bridges the first level of trust.
For your clients, this common ground is very important. Once they get word that you are bringing in a successor, they will be concerned. Is this person is similar to you in personality? Do they have the same values, and the integrity to work with them? Time and time again, clients turn over because they fear the change when this first level of trust has not been established.
The second level of trust is built on competence. In order to have a trusting relationship, the owner must feel that the successor is competent enough to take care of the business and ensure it will continue to run smoothly. This sense of competence is not only critical for meeting clients’ needs, but also for staff. The employees will want the same or higher level of competence from the person who takes over the business. If not, the successor will surely see some degree of staff turnover as well.
The third level of trust is commitment, which essentially is doing the things you say you are going to do. It’s never easy to hand over something you’ve worked your entire career to build, into which you have poured your hard work and energy for years. Therefore, making sure this person has a history of high commitment to running the business is important. Remember, your whole legacy was built on doing the things you said you were going to do to help your clients and customers.
Use Personality Profiles to Help in the Matching Process
Now, you may think these aforementioned areas are hard to tap into in order to understand someone at this level. It might take years of getting to know someone! However, the key to matching and understanding your potential successor is to use a personality profile to help match the right person to you, your business, your clients, and your team.
Over the last decades, thousands of companies around the world have used personality profiles in their hiring practices to help match future employees to the top performers in the organization. In succession planning, these profiles provide the same “line of sight” for you about whether this is the right type of person who has the ideal traits for you and your business.
Many business owners use personality profiles in successor selection to help them go into a business relationship with their “head up”. What this means is they can better understand each the potential successor’s strengths, how well they complement the business, and how to better work with each other through the transition. Furthermore, profiling the entire team for a successor helps in the team building process, highlighting how they can effectively communicate and work together.
Ultimately, a profile is an extremely valuable tool for getting the right match and the right successor, as it gives you a ton of information at your fingertips that you otherwise would not have known.
Always Keep Your Clients’ Interests at Heart
If your clients know ahead of time that you have done your due diligence in hand-selecting your successor, this actually has a direct correlation with client retention. Clients appreciate being considered in the process. So in this context, not only should you be aware of this as a best practice, but your successor will find the process quite valuable to help them retain these clients.
Remember, you have spent many years building trust with your clients; educating them that the succession was approached with their interests at heart is vital.
The Right Match!
When looking for the right match for you and your business, using the science of proven personality assessments will help:
- Match buyers and sellers
- The successor transition with the current team
- Succeed your business to someone with your clients’ interests at heart
- Retain your clients for both the seller and buyer
For more than 35 years, Self Management Group has worked with businesses all over the world to help them select and retain the best talent through the use of normative psychometric profiling. Contact us today to learn more about these predictive, leading-edge psychometric tools to help you make the right decision.
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