The first week in May saw the announcement that Warren Buffet is leaving Berkshire Hathaway. His retirement is the culmination of secure, comprehensive succession planning efforts. Any business owner nearing the end of their career can take some important lessons from Warren Buffet’s exit.
A clear path forward
Succession plans must complete a difficult task: orderly and easily hand a business to a new owner, ownership group or manager. To do that, several questions have to be answered:
- Who will take over?
- When will the transition happen?
- What will the training program for the new owner or owners look like?
- What will the company look like after you’ve left?
Answering these questions allow your employees and other stakeholders to understand the plans. Clarity during transition leads to security and profitability, decreasing the stress on you as an owner.
One aspect of the succession planning process that is often overlooked but was successful with Buffet’s reveal is confidentiality.
A quiet planning process
Until this week, few watchers had any sign of Buffet’s plans and his possible succession. This appears to be by design. As CNBC explains, there have been years of speculation on Buffet’s eventual successor, but all of that was conjecture. Until a fully fleshed-out plan is in place, revealing your thought process creates confusion.
Succession planning is the antidote to commercial confusion, but an early reveal or speculation creates grist for the employee rumor mill. Taken a step further, such rumors could eventually disrupt whatever plan you consider.
Moving on is natural and it should be simple
Stewarding a business is one of the most rewarding things a person can do with their life. But it doesn’t have to be your entire life. When it comes to retire or move on, you can be ready. With the right representation, you can build your exit the way you wish and in your own time.