Our Business Consulting advisors answer a recent question one of them received, below:
Question: I’m planning for retirement. My senior leadership feels unsettled. How can I assuage their concerns?
Answer: Great question. We recently worked with a retiring business owner whose senior leaders had been in place for over 20 years. Change can breed uncertainty, leading to fear and even discord. We call this a “Coping Gap.” This exists any time there is a difference between what people expect and what they are experiencing. Communicating well and often can minimize this gap. With our client, it took great intentionality to reassure these leaders that the owner’s departure did not put them at risk. Here are some factors that led to a successful outcome for this client.
Together with the owner, we:
- Communicated clearly and repeatedly his desire that each leader finishes his or her tenure at the company (each had 5-7 years remaining) strong.
- Engaged current leaders in developing the next generation of leaders, establishing and implementing discipleship and sage plans.
- Encouraged and set expectations for collaboration between current and future leaders.
Communicating was critical in accomplishing each of these objectives, and we have seen that to be true with the many companies we’ve worked with across the country. In the absence of communication, people will develop their own narrative, and that narrative does not tend to be positive. We teach our clients to head off uncertainty and the negative consequences it can breed by over communicating.
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