Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ask These Questions Before Your Leadership Transition!

After a leadership transition is too late—you need to take every opportunity to prepare yourself before you make that big leap. We know that an ownership and leadership transition can be one of the most challenging (and stressful!) decisions you’ll make as a firm leader.  So, to make it a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself—and your board—to make the seemingly unknowable a little more familiar. Be sure to write these answers down, not just answer them aloud—having them concrete on paper will make all the difference!

1.   Describe how you pick future owners.
2.   When was the last time you updated your firm’s buy/sell agreement?
3.   How many owners are there?
4.   Do you pay year end bonuses instead of paying taxes?
5.   Do you pay dividends?
6.   Has anyone ever quit and taken clients and/or staff with them?
7.   Should partners count on “selling” their ownership as their primary source of retirement income?
8.      Is there mandatory sale of stock?  At what age?
9.      What is an Associate at your firm?
10.  What should be the ratio of owners to staff? Why?
11.  Is there a difference between leadership and ownership? Which is more important?
12.  Is your Board of Directors effective?  Why or Why not?
13.  Do you have outside Directors?
14.  What generation is your firm? Does this impact how it operates?
15.  When should partners leave? Why?
16.  On what basis would a partner be fired?
17.  Have associates ever quit and formed a competing firm?
18.  Are children of founders good leaders? Why/Why not?

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