Changing Places
Changing Places
Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners
Perfect Bound Softcover
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You've built your company up and made it a success. How can you be sure that the next generation of company leadership will sustain your success? What role will you play in that evolution? And where can you, the small business owner, look for help with succession planning, when most of the literature on the subject is aimed at the HR departments of Fortune 500 companies?

Changing Places is written for you, filling that gap by preparing you to deal with the complex web of emotionally charged situations that arise from conflicting personal, family and business goals. Throughout the book, Dave Franzetta and Moss Jackson emphasize the importance of managing not only the structural changes that you set in place, but also the personal, transitional challenges that arise from changing circumstances. They take you through all the important components of planning your exit and managing the transitions, beginning with preparing for your own, personal transition by creating your personal succession planning roadmap and building a transition advisory team. Other chapters are devoted to critical topics, such as hiring, leader selection and leadership development for smaller firms, leading to a discussion of options for changeover and buyout funding, concluding with advice on preparing your company for sale to outsiders when that is your best option.

Whether you are ready to step down soon, or ten years down the road, Changing Places is your essential guide. Every topic is thoroughly informed by the authors’ decades of experience. Their stories bring to life the potential problems faced by business owners, and the practical solutions others have adopted. Thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter will launch and direct your own succession and transition plans.

Start your leadership transition journey now. Changing Places will help you keep the success in succession planning.

Any entrepreneur or family-business owner who is considering an exploration of the subject of succession and transition planning has to begin with the question, “Why bother?” After all, most business owners are generally happy with how their business is going, and look forward to continuing to work in the business for a significant period of time, well into the future. It’s easy to simply dismiss the issue of succession planning—leadership continuity, in other words—or put it off to some future date.

But, whether you like it or not, the future has a way of sneaking up on you. At some point you are going to be changing places. You will stop going to the office every day, and someone else will take over for you. You will find different ways to enjoy yourself, maybe even crossing items off of your personal bucket list.

You are probably like every other entrepreneurial business founder and owner, hoping to create a successful future, both for yourself and your loved ones, as well as for the next generation of leaders of your company (who in some cases might be your own children). Unfortunately, many entrepreneurial businesses—and most family-owned and run entrepreneurial businesses—fail to successfully navigate the succession and transition process.

Only one in four such businesses makes a successful transition to the second generation, the others failing or being sold before the children of the founders get a chance to take over. Of those that do last to the second generation, only one in three makes a successful transition to the third generation. These are not encouraging statistics.


We’d like to help you improve your personal odds by giving you a head start on building a viable succession and transition plan. Our goal is to help you approach the track record of the world’s longest-surviving family-owned business, The Houshi Onsen, a traditional inn in Japan that is currently run by its forty-sixth generation of family members.

But be cautioned: even when a business owner works diligently to create business succession and transition plans; things don’t necessarily go forward smoothly. While the plans may appear sound, there are often many invisible obstacles and interpersonal land mines that blow up and destroy people’s dreams and relationships. As William Bridges has pointed out in Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change,

It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. They aren’t the same thing. Change is situational: the move to a new site, the retirement of the founder, the reorganization of the roles on the team, the revisions to the pension plan. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological; it is a three-phase process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about.


Managing your way through these transitions is the key to successful succession planning. Founders and owners need detailed plans with carefully plotted paths to help the different generations of owners and leaders uncover these land mines and successfully navigate through them toward a promising future.


So when is the right time to start succession and transition planning? What should the timeline be for creating a succession team of managers willing and able to buy out the founder’s interest in the company—probably relying on the company’s earning stream to fund their purchase?

Some business owners in their mid-forties to mid-fifties ought to be moving on this issue now, even if they aren’t planning to retire for another ten years or more.

Even if you can’t imagine retiring, there are reasons to get started without delay. Events might conspire to cause you to change your mind about retirement. Changes in your family situation can be unpredictable. Personal health issues might slow you down. You could change your mind about your retirement timing and find yourself behind the eight ball on succession and transition planning.


If you want your company to outlive your own personal involvement, then, by default, you have to care about the culture of the organization, and the quality of the talent that you have developed. Moreover, every bit as important as the quality of the talent is the extent to which these talented people are a good “fit” for the culture of your company, today and into the future.

Whatever your choice of outcome, though, it won’t simply happen by itself. You have to take charge and lay out the necessary action plans. This is your life and your journey. Don’t take a chance and leave it to chance. Think about what kind of future you want to make for yourself and your company, and start planning for it.

Dave Franzetta is an innovative thinker and creative problem solver who developed strong leadership and leadership development capabilities over his thirty-year career with Prudential Financial. When he retired from Prudential in 2004 he began his work as an advisor with international think-tank Interchange Associates. A year later he founded Designed Outcomes, a highly specialized consulting firm that works with senior executives to resolve complex and pervasive business problems and business-growth challenges.

His focus is on finding relatively inexpensive and easy to implement ways to resolve, and sometimes simply dissolve, pervasive and vexing business problems. Specialty areas include: working with senior executives to improve their effectiveness, leadership development program design and delivery, and transition and succession planning for entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses.

Moss A. Jackson, Ph.D. is a clinical and organizational psychologist. For more than thirty years he has specialized in teaching people to navigate their lives with success by helping them discover and execute their personal visions and dreams. He is the author of two previous books, Navigating for Success: Passion Goals, & Action, and Navigating Your Business Relationships: 52 Skills You Need to Know.

He is President of Corporate Initiatives, which offers cutting edge, on-line assessments to assist clients in identifying their talents, skills, motivators and competencies, leading to increased performance and personal satisfaction

This is the best book I didn't know I needed.

Thank you for a wonderful look into what I need to do now to make the end result something I can call a success.
Loretta Martin 

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