Monday, 3 October 2016

Party Conference season - Time for Plans A B and C!

Party Conference season is here and so far we’ve seen democracy at work with leadership battles, one ex-leader deciding to take his ball back by leaving parliament altogether and one vote result in a job-share option. 

The BattleAxe has been watching with raised eyebrows: the Tories didn’t actually consult their membership; UKIP kept wondering if their former leader would step in to “help” the process (and if they couldn’t just keep him anyway, like last time) and the various flavours of Labour are still slogging away in and out of Court at their battle of wills (our Probate department keep expecting to be helping them shortly).

It’s no better across the pond: will the candidates have to produce their school reports or their dog’s inside leg measurement next to prove that they are capable of being President?
Just imagine if companies were run and business leaders chosen this way!

So, much sighing and gnashing of teeth has come to the Elves’ ears at BattleAxe Towers from the rolling pin display room. They’ve even tried to lock the door to stop her waving her new studded one too vigorously, in case she bursts the infamous Westminster Bubble.

Of course, she’s seen it all before in business.  Managers deciding it’s all “too ‘ard” and spending more time with their families, before getting bored.  Founders announcing retirement but assuming that means that they can just keep running the business from their barstool in the local pub. 

Succession plans falling apart because Number One Son upsets Aunt Flo at her 80th birthday party and so it’s decided that Batty (no relation) Old Uncle Eggburt should become MD because he had some “really good ideas” in 1964 (unfortunately, about as useful as Seymour’s inventions!).

“If only they had worked out how they want to exit and developed a proper set of succession plans!” the BattleAxe has been heard shouting at breakfast TV.  “Don’t they realise knowing how to get out is as important as going into business in the first place?” 

After all, for most of us Owner Managers the largest part of our pension (and potentially estate) is tied up in our businesses.  It is all very well for the Government to be worried about the disparity between bosses’ and workers’ pay, but if they look at a lot of SMEs they’re going to get a shock, as it is the bosses that get paid least!  That means that understanding how you’re going to get value out when you do eventually need it is vital.

Of course, over time circumstances can frustrate Plan A. So, having a plan B, C, D, E and maybe even F is key to ensure the business is not derailed by the torrential rain of events.  Plans are hard to set down, emotionally as well as in words, but business leadership, like the political variety, will come to an end and unless you want to “let the membership decide” or worse, the Courts, it is definitely worth the time.

This article originally appeared in Huddersfield Examiner Kirklees Business News on 3rd October, Page 14 Titled It's About Knowing How to Get Out


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