The Visionary Conundrum – Business Succession


by on Jul 1, 2020 2:40 PM

The Visionary Conundrum - Business Succession

Heard this story before? A successful business owner is preparing to retire. He has a daughter that’s already in the business who he desperately wants to succeed him as CEO/Visionary but something is holding him back. The business owner can’t put his finger on it, but he feels that she may not be ready to take over. What gives?

It’s what we call “The Visionary Conundrum.” For those unfamiliar with the EOS® term, a Visionary is the leader of an organization (CEO, President, or Founder) who is responsible for generating ideas about future opportunities and creative ways to expand. Visionaries are most likely entrepreneurs who are big picture, forward thinkers.

We have found that in certain instances the angst that business owners feel about giving up the reigns to the next generation can be associated with the fact that their child is not a Visionary at heart. This leads to a provocative question:

Is a person born a Visionary or can the qualities and traits of a Visionary be cultivated?

Speaking personally and from my involvement in helping business owners with transition, neither education nor hands-on experience creates a Visionary. This makes succession planning a bit complicated hence the conundrum. Let’s be clear: Not every owner of a business is a Visionary but every business needs one.

With that in mind, we impart the following tips to our clients who are looking to transition:

  1. Be honest with yourself, your family and team about the necessity and requirements of the Visionary’s role.
  2. Don’t force someone (especially a family member) into a Visionary’s role who cannot succeed.
  3. Finding a Visionary needs to be part of your own transition plan. This may mean looking outside the organization to find the right fit.

It’s never too early to start thinking about business succession and how to guide new leadership through a successful transition. Don’t know where to begin? Read how we helped one of our clients HERE.


About Hal Levenson

Hal Levenson is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Trilogy Partners. Trilogy Partners is an advisory & implementation firm whose mission is to help companies grow and transform.  We accomplish this by focusing on 3 critical business areas: Financial, Strategy & People.