In this episode, we talk to Rochelle Clarke, CEO & Founder of Succession Strength and author of The 5 Critical Succession Conversations: A Comprehensive Guide for the Family Business. Rochelle joined us from her home in Amsterdam.
Rochelle launched Succession Strength after a tragedy left one of her relative’s family business in chaos. Without a proper contingency plan and executable succession plan in place, the business succumbed to succession vulnerability and lost the vast majority of its customers. It was then that Rochelle decided to dedicate her efforts in helping family businesses prepare and successfully transition from generation to generation.
During our interview we cover many family business topics including boundary setting, accountability, and the challenge of bringing new ideas to the table and being heard. Of course, we also touch on the 5 critical conversations from her book.
Rochelle and her team offer an impressive collection of resources on their website at successionstrength.com.
Other family business episodes mentioned during out talk:
- Episode 037: Making Your Mark on the Family Business with Cara Mackay
- Episode 021: Taking Over the Family Business with Mitchell Kaneff
In this episode:
- Meet Rochelle Clarke (3:18)
- Why the three pillars to succession: communication, preparation, and execution (6:04)
- What do preparation and execution look like? (7:30)
- Tackling difficult conversations (9:49)
- Why this book, The 5 Critical Succession Conversations (10:53)
- Who has these conversations? (17:30)
- Timing matters (21:35)
- What are the 5 critical succession conversations? (24:40)
- Assessments and tools (37:26)
- Rochelle’s top advice for family business owners (40:05)
- How to find Rochelle (42:30)
- Bonus questions (43:40)
Rochelle Clarke, global strategist and business succession expert, helps family businesses overcome barriers to succession transitions. With nearly 20 years of professional experience, Rochelle combines a variety of best practices and practical solutions to balance strategic thinking and operational practicality for businesses of all sizes.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Rochelle was inspired from an early age to help other people through business. Surrounded by her parents and other family members who were business owners, it seemed only natural that Rochelle would follow in the same path.
Rochelle moved to the United States from her native Guyana to study Finance and International Business. She completed studies at Salisbury University, The Wharton School of Business where she received her MBA in Strategic Management, Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Rochelle went on to work for a number of businesses including Fortune 500 companies such as Accenture, IBM, and Heineken.
Rochelle started her company, Succession Strength, to help family businesses around the globe assess their succession readiness and overcome transition hurdles. Succession Strength provides user-friendly tools for businesses to quickly and thoroughly diagnose their main succession barriers and help prepare themselves for successful business transitions. Rochelle and her team of business experts including an organizational psychologist, ensure that the most thorough and user-friendly solutions are available to address the toughest transition challenges. She discusses her strategies and other key tactics in her recently published book, The 5 Critical Succession Conversations: A Comprehensive Guide for the Family Business.
Notable & Quotable:
The major stumbling blocks in succession are communication, preparation and execution. —Rochelle Clarke #successfulgenerations #successionplanning #familybusiness
Time and again, we discovered it was less about handing the keys over and more about preparing the owners, successor and key stakeholders for the eventuality of succession. —Rochelle Clarke #successfulgenerations #successionplanning #familybusiness
Execution is the most visible part. If you can imagine an iceberg, execution is that part you can see. What lies beneath are preparation and communication, and if not handled those two things can cause the most damage. —Rochelle Clarke #successfulgenerations #successionplanning #familybusiness
The ability to master difficult conversations are what the survival of the business depends on. —Rochelle Clarke #successfulgenerations #successionplanning #familybusiness
Entrepreneurs don’t consider themselves a family business until it’s too late. —Rochelle Clarke #successfulgenerations #successionplanning #familybusiness
The owner needs to communicate with tact and empathy who will and will not be tapped as a successor. —Rochelle Clarke #successfulgenerations #successionplanning #familybusiness
- The 5 Critical Succession Conversations: A Comprehensive Guide for the Family Business
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If you are the next generation of family business, philanthropy and wealth, and have a topic you think we should discuss, let us know at Ellie@successfulgenerations.com.