What makes a company successful? The answer is, of course, many different factors, all of which must come together in the right mix. But arguably the single most important determinant of a company’s ultimate success is the quality of its leadership. For SMEs in particular, with often limited access to critical resources, the efforts of the leader (or leaders) can almost singlehandedly be the difference between success and failure. Because changes of management are not as common as in the corporate world, in SMEs the bulk of knowledge, experience and relationships end up concentrated in the hands of long-serving founders, family business owners, or one or two key individual managers. Inevitably though, there will come a time when the leadership of the company must change hands. How this is done can have significant and lasting impact on the fortunes of the company. Unfortunately, all too often it means the decline or even demise of the organization. How can this be avoided? What does it take to execute a successful succession?
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