Succession Planning: Both An Art and A Science

BY: Jordon Geiger

What is a legacy? Is it the continuing operation of your business? It can be. Your personal wealth? Your family’s wealth? The brand image and reputation you’ve built? The lifestyles and careers of your children or other successors? Yes to all.

There is no formula a business owner can use to address the emotional side of succession. But there are strategies and leading practices an owner can use to confirm that his or her legacy isn’t left to chance.

A lot of effort goes into every part of succession planning. None of it would be necessary if business lifespans and human lifespans aligned perfectly. The whole point of succession is to determine how one of those processes will continue after it disengages from the other. All of which is a clinical-sounding way to express a deeply personal thought: Business succession planning is about what persists of your effort, your stamp, your principles, and your hard work after you are no longer there to continue to shape it.  That’s why legacy is such a multifaceted concept to address.

Here are seven dimensions of succession, each of which is worth considering if leaving a legacy is important to you:

  • Succession of leadership
  • Succession of management
  • Succession of authority
  • Succession of values
  • Succession of knowledge
  • Succession of relationships
  • Succession of ownership
Legacy is many things to many people. For one business, the term may mean nothing more than a continuation of sustainable operations. For another, it may extend beyond that into community relevance, reputation, or family involvement.

Whatever the meaning is for you, it may be worth considering each of the seven dimensions of succession as you plan your exit.

If you would like to discuss any of these topics, or anything else related to succession, please feel free to visit us online at or contact us at (608) 826-3570

Jordon Geiger

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