Three mannequins showing three generations. FH Manning succession planning blog image

A reflection on the King’s coronation and a clear roadmap for your succession planning

It’s close to a month since the coronation of King Charles Ⅲ, and it has got me thinking about the succession planning the Royal family has done and the parallels between them and business owners. After all, His Majesty The King is now in charge of one of the largest family businesses known to mankind.

Before her passing, Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ knew she would be handing the family business over to a family member. She did, however, think about how the succession would happen, and a big part of it was about leaving a legacy for subsequent generations. Like the Royal Family, business owners must also have a clear roadmap for succession planning.

Coronations may be a royal family thing, but it does not imply that business owners cannot take valuable lessons from it as they plan for succession. In this article, I’ll discuss several aspects related to succession planning that business leaders should consider and lessons the royal family may teach us all. This will go toward assuring the future prosperity and sustainability of the business.

Succession Planning in Business

The adage, “If you don’t plan, you plan to fail”, sums up the advantages of succession planning the best. Although succession planning is an essential component of any firm, ECI research shows that 55% of business leaders in the UK do not have a succession plan in place. These are staggering stats but with good reason.

Succession planning is not one-size-fits-all, and frankly, not all businesses should use it. Here’s why: any business that regards its employees as its most valuable resource must demonstrate this leadership dedication to training and mentoring the next generation. If it does not share this belief across all its levels, then any attempts to succession are futile.

I think the most effective succession plans cover every aspect of the business and are multi layered. Keep in mind that when people move across an organisation, it impacts the whole thing. However, comprehensive succession plans will help limit the impact and make the transition go more smoothly.

In succession planning, business owners must ensure that their initiatives identify and develop the next generation of leaders through mentoring, growth and extended projects so that everyone within the organisation  is prepared for the next stage of their career.

Succession Planning Lessons From the Royal Family Coronation

As much of a spectacle as it was, King Charles’ coronation is a great guide on how business owners should plan their succession. Some of the key takeaways from the coronation that you can put into your succession planning include:

The End Is the Start

The late Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ had a definite vision of leaving a lasting legacy and knowing that her son Charles would eventually take over the throne. This was always the end goal. As a business owner, you may share this objective with many other business owners, or you may have a different one.

So, whether it’s selling it to an investor, achieving critical financial goals, or leaving it to children and family members as a legacy, all succession plans should begin with the end in mind, and the rest of its execution should work toward that purpose. Understanding your strategic goals—whether they are monetary, personal, or aimed at leaving a legacy—is the key.

Plan as Early as Possible

The Royal Family had over seventy years to organise the succession of the Queen. Even though business leaders may not have that much time, they should nonetheless start preparing their succession plans early. Even while most business owners don’t have any immediate plans to quit the company or pass it on, preparing for unanticipated occurrences like illness or death helps guarantee continuity and the company’s long-term success, no matter what the situation.

However, any early-prepared succession plan shouldn’t be immutable. It must be a dynamic, evolving document. It needs to be reviewed, adjusted, and updated as the business and its employees grow.

Select Your Successor

While it is apparent from Royal history that the Queen did not have to select her successor, this may not be the case for your business. It takes significantly different abilities to lead and manage a business than it does to work it daily. Business owners and managers must ensure that prospective successors have the necessary leadership abilities to assume the position of managing director or owner of the company.

You must be sure of the abilities and talents the successor, whether a family member, a member of the  management team, or an external hire, need in context with the business’s ethos and your long-term strategic goals.

Stepping Down

Although the Queen kept her commitment to serve for the “whole of her life,” there were numerous occasions when requests were made for her to step back and hand the throne over to the next generation. And in the years preceding her passing, she appeared to have given Charles and William more daily responsibilities.

Letting go of the company, handing over the reins, and getting ready to leave are some problems I see business owners face. Progressively withdrawing oneself from the company works for the benefit of the successor. This could be resuming chairmanship while enabling the successor to assume the managing director or CEO post.

Trusting Advisors

Undoubtedly, the Royal family is supported by a sizable staff of “experts” who work at Buckingham Palace and provide counsel and guidance. They have many personal assistants and advisors that can help with media interactions, succession oversight, project management, or just serving as a senior royal’s sounding board.

The same ought to apply to your company. Although you don’t need a team the size of the Royals, receiving impartial support during the succession planning process will make the overall transfer easier and unquestionably enable you to reach your goals.

Get Help With Succession Planning

The most important lesson we can take up from the British Monarchy’s succession is to plan extensively. Business founders must proactively engage with and prepare successors in advance rather than waiting until the last minute. With thorough planning, the company will be ready for unforeseen circumstances, increase its worth when it’s time to retire, lower risk, and safeguard the future generation’s legacy.

For any business owner looking to learn more about the roadmap for the future of the company and the financial implications of what was just mentioned, feel free to contact Claire at FH Manning Financial Services by emailing clm@fhmanning.co.uk or calling 01507 527383.

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