Why Did We Write a Book About Succession Planning for Small Businesses?


9781477266939_COVER.inddPart 3: On December 4th, Dave Franzetta, co-author of Changing Places, talked with radio host, Michael Dresser, on the Michael Dresser Show, broadcast on CRN Digital Talk Radio. This is Part 3 of a 5-part edited version of the radio interview.
MICHAEL DRESSER: Another area of concern is communications. We toss the word around like it’s nothing, yet it’s so critically important. In my years of doing whatever I’ve done in my life, a lot of what I’ve done is consulting–as you do, Dave, with your consultancy firm, Designed Outcomes. So often I would go into a business and I say to the CEO, “Okay, write down what this person’s job is.” And then, you go to that person and you have them write down what they believe their job is, and 9 out of 10 times it’s a completely different answer.
DAVE FRANZETTA: That’s true, Michael, what is happening over and over again–as in the situations you’re describing with entrepreneurs and with family businesses–is that the founder has so much of his identity tied up in the business itself that he can’t think about the business as being anything other than him, out in front, running the business.
MICHAEL: By the way I have your book, Changing Places, right here in front of me, and here’s what I really like about it; you’re dealing with something that outlines a process. In most instances what happens is the people running the business lose their focus. They don’t realize that when a business is just starting off there is a process involved, and to start the process they’ve got to get held by the hand and go step-by-step to make it happen. But we’ve said enough on that subject. Tell me, David, back when you first decided to put pen to paper and write your book, what caused you to sit down and write what you did?
DAVE: Well, my business partner, Dr Moss Jackson, and I had been working with a number of smaller companies, and a few of them had owners about our age, baby boomers, and they were beginning to think about retiring. They had been very successful: they created business plans, they had a process in mind and a business model, and so they knew how to build a business. But once they had built the business, they didn’t know how to get themselves out of it without causing a lot of harm, even potentially destroying the company. So we worked with these business owners to lay out the plans to make sure that they had in place the right next generation of leaders, people with the skills and the abilities to take over the company after the current generation of owners leave. The more that we looked, the more that we found that the bulk of the work–particularly the academic work–that had been written about succession planning was focused on very large companies – big, corporate Fortune 1000/500 companies that had functional human resources departments. There was very little written that was helpful for smaller companies that didn’t have a human resources department at all, where people in the senior positions of the company wore many hats. So we tried to put together a book that would help them develop and execute a process for arranging an orderly succession from one generation to the next generation of leaders, whether within a family, or involving a transfer of responsibility to existing managers, or even the sale of the company to an outside party.
To be continued…stay tuned for Part 4 in the next blog post!
Dave Franzetta and Moss Jackson pen, Changing Places, a helpful guide for small business owners planning to retire.
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners”(published by AuthorHouse).
Feedback please to: dfranzetta@gmail.com

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