In this fourth and last article in the series the question of timing is put in the spotlight. This probably is the one issue that causes the largest amount of stress.
When is the right time?
Leave it too long and the next generation can become de-motivated and frustrated.
Or make the transition too early and the company can be put under pressure that may even put its very survival into question.
So, timing is critical but there can be no hard and fast rules. Its certainly not a time for abdication. It must ultimately be down to judgment. However, succession should be a process and not an event. So as with most things it needs careful planning and communicating the plan to all the stakeholders involved.
The fear that the successor is not yet ready and needs to gain experience can lead to delaying so long that the next generation has to wait for their turn they then block the following generation, the Prince Charles conundrum. Indeed, how can someone gain your experience without doing the hard yards. This mindset can put the successor in a no win situation. I have been told “They are not ready they still need to ripen,” but this thinking can just lead to them just becoming old, wrinkled and sour!
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