We like to practice what we preach here at The Mann Group, and that applies in particular to our big-picture practices like strategic and succession plans. Our own experience and dedication to these plans in turn makes us experts on the topics, vesting us with the expertise to help our clients with their own longterm planning.
Enter: succession plans. As most of you know, Dan Mann’s our founder, president, speaker, leader, author, head trainer, and bourbon expert, but someday, he’d like to ditch all those titles for one: retiree (ok, and bourbon expert). Dan is also a father, so his chosen succession plan, inheritance was pretty easy to land upon.
In our 2017 strategic planning meeting, we set a goal for Dan to retire by 2022. In an effort to accomplish this goal, we checked off two big action items, bringing on Dan’s sons Kent and Hank in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Our next goal was to have Kent and Hank progressively escalate their travel and tasks so that Dan could minimize his—all part of a good succession plan, right?
Well, that goal was very quickly ditched. We found that by increasing our staff, and thus our payroll, we also had to increase our workload. That meant the extra bandwidth afforded by two new employees went straight back into the company, rather than alleviating the role of our president.
What lessons can our clients (and you) learn from our mistake?
- It’s not a mistake. Though succession plans are, in fact, plans, they’re adaptable, and every “mistake” is actually a lesson learned.
- Adaptation is key. If something in your succession plan falls flat, be prepared to pivot, whether that means adjusting your timeline or your entire approach.
- Account for additional expenses necessitated by transition. Succession might require extra labor, consulting, etc.—be prepared to pay that price.
- The longterm reward is worth it. Our goal is still the same: to help build a retirement plan for our founder—and we’re still on track. For business owners who have invested their lives in their companies, the reward of a retirement is always worth the extra work of succession planning.