Pam Paquet, the Change Officer of Pam Paquet & Associates, was the speaker for the "succession planning – what every business leader needs to know" session held February 26 at Buildex Vancouver.
Paquet began by saying the objectives of succession planning are to make succession intentional rather than accidental or reactive, learn to balance business needs with people needs, and explore strategies necessary to phase change.
There are two types of success, Paquet said, strategic planning and an exit strategy. Strategic planning encompasses every aspect of business and should cover at least a two to five year span.
Strategic planning should also have measures and be done on a regular, continual basis.
An exit strategy by contrast is a plan for the owner to leave the business. In order to do so, it is necessary to assess the tasks, position and responsibilities of the owner, and to begin planning about three years before the exit date.
The plan also usually involved a successor, whether it's a member of the family, a manager or a new buyer.
Your succession plan should also have a start and end date.
Readiness to exiting is usually on a scale, Paquet said. But it's important to move from "I should" to "I want" to "I must."
There are plenty of reasons one may have to deal with "I must" including health, finances, mortality and the economy.
"It's not about numbers, it's about trust" Paquet added.
It's important to message properly as well, Paquet said. "People don't want to take away the message 'you're not needed anymore.'"
There's an attitude amongst boomers that "if they had their druthers they'd hire another boomer," Paquet said.
But there are new business leaders waiting in Generations X and Y, despite the boomer reticence to hand the business over to them.
"But sometimes an exit isn't complete; you can still be a consultant," Paquet said.
Retirement sounds great, but it's actually one of the most stressful events in life, she added.
With succession planning, personal must proceed business.
"You have to shift focus from 'we' to 'me," Paquet said.
If you have not done the work to create your personal plan, it is near impossible to create a succession plan.
It's important to create actionable items to find the answers to what you want to do post-retirement.
"Everyone has an inkling of what they want retirement to look like, but until you get to the details of it you won't be satisfied," she said.