Sometimes a barrier to starting the conversation is that I don’t know how to start. Below are open questions that may help farmers – mums & dads, sons and daughters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law –to get the conversation underway.
1. If your succession planning went really well, what would you have? What would you be doing? Who would your family have become?
2. If you could only have one outcome from your succession planning, what would that be? What are you doing now to achieve that?
3. What of your grandfather/mother’s legacy do you want to pass onto your grandchildren?
4. What do you want to be doing in 5 years’ time when your feet hit the ground each day?
5. What do you live for? What is your purpose in life? What do you stand for?
6. What have you done so far about your succession planning? What’s the next step?
7. What courageous conversation do you have to have, about what and with who?
8. What keeps you awake at night around family succession?
9. What concerns or fears do you have about what you would like to happen?
10. If you died today, what would happen?
11. What will your children do with the business when the second parent dies?
12. What do your children want? How do you turn ‘I think’ into ‘I know’?
13. When can you start?
14. What is stopping you starting?
15. How will you remove that barrier? Who can help you remove that barrier?
16. Who do you trust that can support you through this process?
17. Why have you asked me to talk to you about succession?
18. It takes courage to open these discussions up – what is the risk of not doing it?
19. How do you know if the solution currently in place is right for where you want to be?
20. What is the value of a sustainable family in the future?
Engaging at this level of conversation develops relationships to a higher level of trust,to then be able to find the next step for the conversation.