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Building Your Bench - A Formula for Succession Success

Jun 13, 2018

In a family-owned business, building the company’s bench strength is a powerful and positive step to take to ensure an effective succession process.  Whether the future successor is a family member or not, any business can benefit from ensuring that the management level of leadership can be trusted to run the business with the same heart and passion as the original owner and the skills and experience of professional subject matter experts.


Building your bench strength is important at any company. But it is particularly important in a family-owned business. There are four key aspects to really being able to build a strong bench. 

Number 1: as a leader and owner in your own company, consider learning a little bit about coaching. You're probably already an effective leader and you probably know a lot about managing and supervising other people, but if you don't know about coaching, you're losing out on one of the most important skills that a leader can have. It's a way of being able to pull the very best. The strengths from the people around you.

Number 2: think about your strategic plan. What sort of skills are you going to need for the future? What are the skills, the attributes, the knowledge, the capabilities? And take a look around you. Are there people that have those skills? Are there people that are trainable? Make sure that you're helping to develop a bench that can bring your strategic plan to life.

Number 3: think about your people and what it is that they might be capable of doing. What are the strengths that they bring? And then, work with them individually. Everybody has goals for the future. Everybody thinks about what's important to them. Do you know what's important to your people? As you sit down with your people on the bench, ask them where do they see themselves in 3 to 5 years time. And what can you, as an individual and as a company, do to help them get there.

And then finally, number 4: give feedback. Timely, honest, feedback. And ask for that feedback in return. Make sure that you're having candid conversations with your management team, so that they understand what you expect of them and you understand what they need from you in order to be successful. Remember building your bench is one of the most important things that any family business can do.

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