TRANSITIONING SMOOTHLY, EFFECTIVELY
If you’re an owner who is planning to step down, start to turn
over parts of your business to your successor. “Start early by
delegating tasks and responsibilities and allow the person the
autonomy to make mistakes themselves and learn from them,”
And, amid the transition, the outgoing leader should practice
doing absolutely nothing. “One of the best ways to groom a
successor is, perhaps, the most challenging for an owner:
that is to step back and let her/him lead without interfering,”
asserts Globus. “The owner needs to give them authority and
encouragement and convey trust in the successor to the team.”
Beyond that, keeping staff in the loop on the firm’s succession
plans is critical. “Be as transparent as possible with them,”
Globus says. “Gathering all staff members so that they hear
the news in person, together, and at the same time with time
allowed for questions, is a great way to begin. We tell our clients
about questions to anticipate so they can be prepared to answer
them on the spot.”
BE AN INDUSTRY FIXTURE
Whether transitioning into or out of design-firm leadership,
enmesh yourself in the industry. “Establishing and maintaining
a profile in the design world at events relative to your firm’s
business is a wonderful supplement to your firm’s marketing
efforts,” Globus affirms. That often translates into coverage in the
design media, which in turn can be shared with a firm’s clients.
For example, “tweeting about your attendance at [a design
leadership conference] demonstrates to your clients your
commitment to your profession and your professional
development, which in turn benefits your clients,” she says.
Overall, “a strong desire to succeed and an entrepreneurial
spirit go a long way.”
Henry and Globus will bring their Succession Strategies
workshop to audiences around North America in the coming
months. Visit asid.org/succession-strategies for details.
Barbara Thau is a business journalist specializing in the retail industry and consumer
news and trends. She currently is a contributing writer for Forbes.com for which she
writes the weekly column, “Minding The Stores.” She has been cited as a retail expert for
media outlets, including USA Today, National Public Radio, and CNN Money.
A KASIAN EXECUTIVE’S
Sally Mills joined the Vancouver, British Columbia, office of Canada’s
Kasian design firm in September 2016 as manager of its Vancouver
interior design team. She began the succession process to
become principal of the firm in July 2017, preparing to assume the
responsibilities of Carol Jones, senior principal, vice president
of interior design, who has now moved into a national role for the firm.
Mills shared her transition journey so far, and the key steps
“Carol and I are still working together as this is a critical piece to
provide overlap. We want to ensure a smooth and successful transition
not only for myself, but for the team as well.
“This was a big personal step. As a new contributor to a team and
joining a new firm as a principal, I sought executive coaching to provide
me with as much knowledge and confidence moving into my new role.”
Some of the preparation Mills committed to included:
Establishing personal and business goals for the
first three months in the new position.
Studying the new company website; looking at
the bios of principals and team.
Scrutinizing a recommended reading list specifically
geared to personal goals and aspirations.
Allowing time away to reset from where she had come
from and be open to a new organization and experience.
Mills notes this also set her up for what the steps would be when it
came to “onboarding,” as follows:
For the first month, give yourself room to observe
the new company. This time period is 10-percent
questions and 90-percent listening.
Listen to how your new firm communicates.
Discover the culture.
Check in with HR; learn the unwritten rules of the firm.
Review roles and responsibilities not only of yourself
but of others on the team.
Ask the CEO and individual you are replacing what
a successful transition looks like.
Set up individual meetings with the team right away.
Create a team-building event to get to know everyone
in a more casual environment.