A successful business succession plan has to be so many things. It must be smart, it must be strategic, and it must be simple. By simple I mean, feel natural— as if it were always given, as if it had hardly taken any thought or effort… Handing something off seems like it would be an easy thing to do, after all; brushing your hands, dropping the mic, and walking off stage. Easy, right? It’s not.
Simple is not easy.
Simple requires thought— and a lot of it. Simple requires planning and reworking. Simple requires elbow grease. Often, things that appear effortless require the most effort.
One person getting out of the way, while another is simultaneously stepping in— that’s hard work. Mentally and emotionally, it’s difficult to watch others flounder with something you’d know just how to handle. It’s also hard, maybe even harder, to watch others be more successful in an area where you thought you were killing it. It’s messy— people can have a hard time letting go and, sometimes, feelings can get hurt— but it’s necessary for organizational success and sustainability. For a business to foster new ideas and remain vibrant and healthy, leadership needs to change hands. It needs to be nurtured and given away. This sort of transition is gradual, taking years for everything to fall into place. Succession planning is not a one-time event, it’s a process.
In our process, we’ve been working at creating fair and equal ownership roles and building a strong management team. People at M3 have recently been asked to step up into new leadership roles. We’re taking the thinking and turning it into doing. We’re bringing up the next generation of M3 leadership.
The future of M3 is secure because we don’t take things like succession lightly. We’re not about to ‘wait and see’ how it goes. We’re doing it— and as challenging as it is— we’re going to keep on doing it. Because M3 is worth it.