This is a very difficult time for parent and child or with an outside hire, because of the generational differences in the eras when the parties grew up and how they have come to their positions.
I work with both parties to assess the talents of the successor versus the historical and future needs of the business and to design ways that the successor’s new position will be successful. Using strategic planning, I help both parties to develop and to understand the vision for and thrust of the business under the successor. By listening to each party separately I identify fears and concerns that when brought out into the open in a nonjudgmental fashion may be rationalized, reduced or avoided.
Based on the strategic plan we develop metrics which are meaningful to both parties in the measurement of progress and success. Where unanimity is not possible I mediate between the parties to find common ground.
Especially if you are a founder of a successful business, it is sometimes very hard to take seriously as a CEO someone whose bottom you powdered as a child. As someone who doesn’t have that bias, I provide a means of either making it work or helping determine the potential successor’s adequacy.