When you’re searching for an individual to become the successor for your business, it’s not just the credentials on a candidate’s CV you should evaluate.
Although you want to find an individual who’s qualified enough to lead your business, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance that their ‘soft skills’ will play in leading your company to continued success.
In fact, soft skills are arguably a more important consideration when choosing a successor than they are when hiring for a position lower down the employee pyramid.
After all, a leader’s work ethic, compassion, social skills, strength in adversity, sense of responsibility, hunger to succeed, and other qualities tend to trickle down throughout the company.
If you’re eager to maintain continuity after the takeover, and for the foundations of company’s culture to remain strong, it’s important to choose a successor whose personality mirrors the cornerstones of this culture.
Below, we’ve compiled a shortlist of the soft skills you want to screen for.
If you have any sort of attachment to your employees and client, you won't be able to give your business away to someone you don't like. It's human nature.
This is probably for the best. If they can't build rapport in a takeover situation, it's conceivable that they may might struggle to do the same while representing your business as the new owner.
They might struggle to strike important deals with other business in the future, plus it's always difficult to effectively lead employees if they don't like you.
A business owner has to be one that sets the example in terms of work ethic. This is a quality that leaks down throughout the company more than any other. While it's difficult to get a sense of an individual's work ethic just by spending time with them, it's easy enough to ask interview questions that give you an accurate impression.
Enthusiasm and Passion for the Business
This is arguably one of the most important soft skills that any leader can have.
It's all well and good to find someone who has experience running a large business, but if they're not passionate about the overall goal of your firm, it's going to be tough to trust them to make difficult decisions for the good of the company.
Without this passion, your successor might struggle to stick with the company through good times and bad, instead deciding to sell up as soon as the business hits a sticky patch. Picking a successor like this isn't healthy for the long-term continuity of your company.
The best way to get an idea of a potential successor's soft skills is to spend plenty of time with them and ask questions that give you a good indication of where they rank in the skills mentioned above.
This is why face-to-face interviews are such an important part of any hiring process, and a key reason why recruiters tend to organize second and third interviews for senior positions.
If you take your time during the process of choosing a successor, you'll typically find a candidate whose soft skills stand out way above the rest. If this individual's credentials are up there with the other candidates, it's likely they're the best person for the job.
Succession Link provides an online platform which matches business owners looking to acquire or merge with a practice with those looking to sell up. Our huge database business owners makes it easier to choose the right individual for a smooth transition. Click the link to find out more about how Succession Link can help you.