Its July 2019, and I am in a strategy meeting with an MD of a medium-sized business and I asked the fateful question – what he would do if one of the directors became sick.

Nervous twitching and then silence.

An honest discussion followed as we had not discussed succession planning before.

As it happens, no plans were in place.

July 2023. The Finance Director became ill suddenly, and the MD is unclear how long he will be off as it’s pretty serious.

Contingency plans are still not in place and now with some urgency it needs to happen.

Now, this disruption is linked with worry because the director fiercely protects their division.

In part 1, I discussed the importance of early succession planning which included eking professional advice before formalising your plan, and outlining roles, responsibilities, and timelines.

That said, I want to highlight the utmost importance of the following steps as, to some ey are the most difficult steps as many business owners/MDs struggle with this:

✳️ Recognising when it’s time to hand over. This can be hard, especially if you’ve spent years building the business- sacrificing family time, taking risks, and focusing on growth.

✳️ Being clear about the business areas that need to be focused on before identifying and transitioning to the new MD/FD or CEO.

✳️ Giving yourself a timeline – 12 months or 2-3 years?

✳️ Looking in rather than out when looking for a successor – research has stated that internal succession is much more successful as they already understand the nuances and culture of the organisation.

These are meaningful conversations to have with your business partner(s) and your board.

In the final part, I will briefly discuss how PropertyGuru, Southeast Asia’s leading property technology company, implemented a successful succession strategy.