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Succession Planning in Family Offices Ensuring a Lasting Legacy

No one wants to think about dying or even handing over the reins of one’s business to others – sometimes especially when you have known and raised those others and are all too aware of their faults and foibles! But any large institution or wealthy family should absolutely draw up a plan of succession, and it is something that should be in place long before it is needed. After all, the unexpected can happen at any time… Here’s how to plan your succession, and how using a family office can help with the process.

First Steps Your first step should be to consult your family office representative – or to find a good family office agency if you don’t yet have one! A family office representative will guide you through processes and eliminations that could, without impartial advice, become contentious and possibly even end up fracturing the family. Check out some reputable family office recruitment here to find a good ally for your succession plans.

Conducting Feasibility Studies

Family office representatives will be able to take on board all the future plans and hopes of the various heirs and conduct feasibility studies on how they will play out. This is a good way to avoid the risk that a charming but inexperienced relative can rise to the front of the race based on flawed business plans and proposals. The reverse is also true – the slightly boring, but very worthy, relative who is always overlooked might benefit from being assessed by someone who is outside the family dynamic!

Finding Out Who’s the Best

In fact, a family office can help the head of a company assess all their potential successors and they will do so in a purely impartial manner as the reputation of a high-quality recruitment agent will always trump any other considerations. And oftentimes, heads of families are surprised at who proves themselves to be most worthy of promotion in the family business – there is a tendency, unconscious but significant, to give more weight to the pronouncements and ideas of older children and siblings, whereas occasionally, younger members of the family can have excellent, thought-provoking and – importantly – profitable ideas that would bear nurturing to bring them to fruition. Family office recruiters are experts in assessing the soft skills that people bring to their careers: not the hard qualifications and experience, but things like innovative thinking, an ability to get on with people and find an agreeable compromise on tricky matters and even good management which makes lower level employees enjoy their work and stay loyal to the company.

Reducing Family Friction

Further to the above, the sibling dynamic is often set in stone – or so those with the power would like to think. This can also be seen in stagnant company hierarchies, where those with seniority feel that they ‘deserve’ promotion more than people who have not been at the company for the same length of time – even though they have not contributed meaningfully to the company’s growth in any way, while their subordinate might have revolutionised systems and practices!

Finding a worthwhile replacement is bound to cause some upset and ruffled feathers, but if the process can be done fairly, is explained concisely by the head of the family before any major changes take place, and is expressed as a calm and considered done deal, then there will be time for acceptance of the new way to take hold. This is infinitely better than allowing everyone to find out the new structure after it is too late for them to question the process and perhaps even plead their case.