Lessons on succession

Australian Dairy Farmer - Kerry Ryan

Type: Article
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Nice message about need to focus on strategy and dynamics, before moving to the structural side of succession.

Article author, Kerry Ryan, is a NZ-based agribusiness consultant who has been involved in a number of succession processes. He stated that when the first steps in succession management are put in place without a fully thought-out plan to guide the process, it has “resulted in fragile relationships and ownership structures that are not as effectively aligned with the long-term strategy as they could be aligned.”

Shortcuts are dangerous, explains Ryan. High-risk shortcuts include:

  • Casual approach to meetings and communication
  • Absence of documented sharemilking or employment agreements
  • Insufficient consultation to establish a shared vision
  • Lack of transparency around management decisions.

Ryan reminds us what is needed to succeed in succession:

  • Acknowledgement of the difference between “management succession” and “ownership succession”.
  • Confirmation of shared values so that everyone is aware of the behaviours and outcomes that will deliver these is key to a solid foundation.
  • Putting time into understanding their respective personality styles and the impact of these on leadership, management, and interpersonal dynamics.
2016 - Australia - Australian Dairy Farmer - Kerry Ryan
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