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Managing Leadership Transition in Family-Owned Businesses with Michael Klein


Managing Leadership Transition in Family-Owned Businesses with Michael Klein

By , June 28, 2024
Michael Klein_quote



Unexpectedly, a family business owner faced a shocking revelation about their successor’s leadership abilities. Find out how a simple assessment tool completely changed their succession plan, and why it’s crucial to ensure the right person is in the right seat for a successful transition. The surprising truth behind this family business succession will leave you rethinking your own succession strategies. Discover how to avoid potential pitfalls in leadership transition and ensure a smooth and successful handover.

Bringing a wealth of experience in family business psychology and succession planning, Michael Klein is a trusted expert in the field. With close to two decades of dedicated work, Michael has honed his expertise in navigating the intricate dynamics of family-owned businesses. His specialised focus on managing family relationships, implementing leadership transition rituals, and overcoming challenges in business succession has proven instrumental in facilitating successful leadership transitions within family enterprises. Michael’s deep understanding and pragmatic approach make him an invaluable resource for both business owners and successors looking to ensure a seamless and prosperous transition of leadership.

In this episode you’ll able to:

  • Discover effective strategies for a smooth transition of leadership in family businesses.
  • Learn how to navigate and manage family relationships during the succession process in your business.
  • Gain insight into planning for a successful exit from your family business.
  • Overcome the unique challenges associated with succession in family businesses.
  • Explore the implementation of meaningful rituals for leadership transition within family businesses.

Watch the episode here:

Today I’m talking to Michael Klein about what it is you need to do to transition the leadership of a family owned business. What are the dynamics of those family relationships and the founders of a business? And just what is it we need to do, especially when we’re handing over the reins of a family owned business to the next generation? What are the sum of the trips, the tricks, I should say, what are the rituals that we can implement to really make sure that the parents don’t come back? And Seagull, listen to the episode and you’ll see what I mean by that.

Welcome to the podcast that’s dedicated to helping business owners to prepare for exit so you can maximise the value and exit on your terms. This is the Exit Insights podcast presented by succession plus. I’m Darryl Bates-Brownsword. And today we’ve got something a little bit different. We’re going to be talking about the psychology of the exit with Michael Klein. 

Hey, thanks for joining me today, Michael, and welcome to the Exit Insights podcast.

Thank you so much, Darryl. Very, very pleased to be here.

Good, good, good. Now, we often talk about when we’re exit planning with our clients about one of the things you need to consider is getting the balance or the mix right between the cultural and the commercial aspects of the business. And that includes exiting the business. It includes all the strategy and the growing of the business. The way that shows up, or one of the ways that shows up is that we often see that business owners are not sure what they’re going to be doing after their exit. And as business owners, they’re always very visionary. We find and action oriented.

If they’re not sure what they’re going to be doing afterwards, then either they’ll put the brakes on the exit and find a reason not to go ahead. Or as I was just talking to someone just previously, they find that one or two years afterwards because they’ve got the vision of sitting on the beach sipping pinacoladas and they don’t realise that in two weeks time that they’re going to be bored and wanting to get going again. So you’ve got some. This is an area that you work in every day, isn’t it? And especially with family business owners and helping family succession and all the considerations of, I guess, the psychological side or the energy side.

That’s exactly right, Darryl. One of the things that I’ve encountered in, my gosh, we’re coming up on 20 years of working with people in family businesses, is that unlike a non family owned entity, there are so many gray areas and people enter the business and exit the business without proper documentation, without processes in place. And so what happens is when you’ve got a father or a mother who is exiting the business as owner, they can still very much be involved and kind of swoop in as needed. And like you said, once they’re gone, if they don’t have a sense of vision or drive or purpose outside of the business, there’s this entity here with potentially their children now running the organisation that they can step back in on. And it gets incredibly complicated.

Yeah. And we all seen it or heard stories, I’m sure, where there’s founders of businesses in both family and non family businesses that struggle to let go and figuring what to do next. And there’s so often you hear of the, they just struggle to hand over the reins. They’ve set the business up for their daughter or their son, but when the time comes, they just drag their heels and they just can’t relinquish or hand over control. Is that one of the things you look at and clean up that energy?

The perception of trust. The perception of trust is huge because in many cases, retired or exited founders or parents are relying on the business’s future success, potentially for a payout or for some kind of income stream, that the business was their retirement plan. And so there’s a lot of anxiety around will this business continue? Will it grow? Will I frankly, be taken care of for the next 10, 20, 30 or more years?

So there’s an incredible amount of anxiety around that. What I found is that exiting business owners, in addition to really dragging out the process and dragging their feet, can engage in suddenly in the midst of succession planning, new and exciting projects, or tremendous expansion or huge ideas when they’re more than halfway out the door. And behavioral psychologists call this an extinction burst. It’s when you’re ready to change behaviors. It’s this kind of last ditch effort to hang on to the old behaviors.

And so in this case, it’s business owners who want to build, who want to create, who, frankly, want to be important and want to have impact. And so what I found is, in family businesses, again, dads, moms, family members on their way out will have this burst of activity, these new projects, that keep them really entangled in the business. And one of the things that I really watch out for is making sure that the next gen can assert themselves appropriately, make a business case as to why these new ideas are not necessarily the timing either isn’t right or it’s not good for the business, because, again, that can just complicate the exit, for sure.

Yeah. And as you were speaking there, I was just reminded of a client I worked with a couple of years ago. Now, the founder was the father, and he was in his late eighties, and his son had been brought into the business in the last few years, and he was introducing and handing over the reins to the son. And the son was doing a great job. The son had started his own business and sold it, and he’d done that in Hong Kong and he moved back to the UK and he got involved in the family business and we’d set things up and dad had handed over the reins to sonic, but the son was running the business, but the dad was there and he just couldn’t let go. And so when we dug into it, and I’m sure not to the depth that you do, we found that dad would just sort. He had energy. I said, he’s his late eighties, but he was quite a young bloke, energetically, and he just wanted to show up. He wanted that energy. He wanted to keep himself sharp and show up to work. So we just did a functionality exercise. So just assigning roles and responsibilities, and we had the son being in the CEO, the main role, and then dad just wanted to tinker and get involved in those new projects, as you were saying. And his background was product development, so we were able to just allocate and get assigned some various product development ideas and just allocate the right ones to dad so that dad could work just a couple of days a week or a couple of half days, which is what he wanted to do. But he felt that he was contributing and involved and he still had meaning in Eddie’s life. And this is one of those family businesses. The name wasn’t even on the door, but it was just that legacy and involvement that he wanted to be involved in. Is that typical of what you see, is that sort of energy and just sort of get the next layer under of what the real,  where the real answers are and the real solutions and finding those. And I imagine it’s not always easy.

It’s not. I have to say, Darryl, I love the word tinker because I think it’s wonderful for so many ways, because there’s an implication that, well, you’re not doing a whole lot. You’re just kind of playing around a little bit and maybe you’re polishing something or playing with something, but the impact of tinkering from a father or a mother on a child who’s trying to make the business their own is tremendous.

So even, even the smallest. Gosh, even the smallest comment, the smallest project, or, you know, the slightest tinkering can really weigh down the next gen when they’re really trying to assert control. And certainly employees are looking at that next, that next leader to say, well, are you going to run this business? Are you really going to take control? Or is dad or mom still in the background doing a lot of stuff?

And what does that mean for our future? So it’s incredibly problematic. And I do find that the issues are often just under the surface now, unlike in non family businesses, I think, again, those kind of succession plans are laid out much more clearly. And so the owner has a certain period of time and a very specific role, and then once it’s over, it’s over. But again, in family businesses, dad will always be dad and mom will always be mom. And especially if they were founders of the organisation, it’s really hard for the kids to resist that and to assert themselves and say, it’s really fully now my turn, and it’s in everybody’s best interest. It’s in our employees best interest. Is it the business’s best interest to have mom or dad as a consigliere? I’ve just recently re-watched the Godfather, so I might make references to the godfather parts one and two, but to have mom or dad as an advisor or a consigliere is great, but having that clarity is super important. And what I found is that what parents will often do is they will hang on to a controlling share of the organisation so they don’t relinquish control. And so the kids really still have to. Still have to listen.

So, Michael, I can imagine listeners listening now, just as I was and thinking, yeah, Michael just said, look, there’s got to come a time where the next generation come in and go, it’s now, whenever, that I need to take over. And I was thinking, as you were saying it. Yeah, that’s really easy to say, Michael, that just rolled off the tongue so easily.

What is it you can do? How do you crowbar control away from the parents so that their tinkering doesn’t become interfering? And I think you really touched on the important thing, because the employees, the other employees go, yeah, well, sons in a token CEO role or head or whatever the label is in the business, but the real centre of power is still with dad. And if I want to get something, I’ll just bypass kid and go straight to dad and get the real answer. How do you leverage crowbar that and make it really happen.

It’s incredibly challenging. And what I found is that the owner CEO parent hopefully is open to bring in some kind of outsider, whether it’s a family business consultant, a management consultant, even a leadership coach, to help them really work through and hopefully help the management team and the ownership team kind of work through this transition. So having that outsider means they can ask the difficult questions and they can attempt to pin down exactly what the role will be, what the dates will be, how that will happen. I’ve had many clients, though, whose families are not at that point. And so it often takes months or even years to get the founder or parents to the point where they’re even willing to interview an outsider.

So I think that outside involvement is really central to making that transition happen. I will say also what I’ve seen that’s been incredibly successful, assuming that there is a date that whoever asks gets a response and they are able to nail down a date for the exit. I think human beings are all about rituals and symbols on some level well before written language. So what’s important, I think, in the exit from the family business is that retirement party, and it could be multiple parties, multiple experiences, where there’s that moment in time where founder or parent CEO is truly saying goodbye. And I’ve encountered situations where they don’t want it when they say, no, no, no, don’t make a fuss.

I don’t want any celebration about me. And my response is, well, it’s not for you. It’s for the future of the business, and it’s for your children. And so don’t think about this as for you. Think about this as your legacy in terms of how you left to graciously accept your departure and the next chapter of your life opening up.

So I find that not only are those events really important, but something symbolic that an owner or parent can possess after their departure that they could look at. One example might be something as simple as a photo book, photos from throughout the years with quotes from important leaders or employees or the kids in the book, but something that symbolises the owner or the parents impact on the company over the period of time that they’ve been there. I’ve also seen companies that will provide a gift, some kind of scale model or replica of something that was central or important to the business, whether it’s a building or a product, something like that. Again, the importance of really saying this is the moment of transition and there are witnesses and, well, I don’t mean for that to sound legal, having employees, having vendors around, having folks to say, yeah, this is the moment when power is transferred. It’s much harder to come back from that, which I think, again, it’s in everybody’s best interest.

Yeah, I think that’s really profound. What you’re suggesting there is, if you turn the exit, especially for the parents, into an event, then it makes it harder to come back because everyone saw that, as you say. And yeah, it becomes a milestone, a point of transition. And if everyone makes a big deal of it, then as you suggest, it makes it more difficult to slip back under the radar. But I imagine it does still happen sometimes.

Oh, you mean even with those events and even with those milestones that parents still creep back in? Absolutely. Does. You know, what I’ll say is it comes back to, I think, what will be my key point here today, which so many management consultants, transition consultants, family business consultants will tell you, which is plan early. You can start planning for business transition when mom and dad are in their mid seventies, which unfortunately, I see all too often.

The children have been running the business for a decade or more, but the parents have really not sat down and committed to a transition process, both in terms of true leadership and also in terms of ownership. So doing that planning very, very early, I remember the expression, when you start your business, you should always be thinking about your exit. Well, in family businesses, we’re often talking multi generational, and so the patriarchal matriarch is steward of the business. They haven’t necessarily been the founder of the business, but they still need to think about their exit point. I think from the beginning of their involvement with the family business, what will their exit look like?

Will it look the same as mom and dad’s exit? Will it look the same as a mentor’s exit from their company or somebody’s retirement, or am I going to make it up as I go along? I mean, to me that hits on another key point, I think, which is that so many family businesses, at least that I’ve worked with over the years, don’t really have good role models for how to exit appropriately, with grace, with, I would argue in some ways with self respect intact, but really carefully and thoughtfully. And so finding those role models, having discussions about what an exit looks like, the sooner the better, really, because to your point, as we were first talking, sitting on the bench, playing golf or whatever the sport is, that will only last for a limited period of time. And then if you have any leadership or entrepreneurial traits in you, you’re going to get very, very bored because you’re not moving anything forward. You’re not impacting the world in some way.

So you started to touch on it, I think then, Michael, but have you got some examples that you can share of what good looks like and what it looks like when it goes well or what it looks like when it doesn’t go so well?

Yeah. One of the best examples I could think of was one of my early family business clients. Dad retired in his, gosh, I think he was 57 when he left the business. And coming back to the example of role models, his father had passed when he was 55. And so that loomed really large heart disease, I believe, and that loomed really large for this particular owner. And so he knew that by the time he was 55, he wanted to have his son in place so he could make sure that there was time to enjoy and appreciate his life. And nobody believed it. His son didn’t believe it. His wife, who was very much involved in the business, did not believe it. Key employees leadership team did not believe it. But he finally came up with a date and said, one year from today, I’m going to be gone. And sure enough, he followed up, and he lived up to his word, and that day he was gone.

And this is an example of somebody who didn’t want a big deal made. Thankfully, he had a home very far away from the business where he was going to spend much of his time, and that was his plan. And so he moved away, and his wife was still involved in the business. She travels back and forth, but to me, it was one of the best examples of an exit. But again, we had this external factor, this kind of looming sense of, my father was not immortal.

My dad left earlier than he wanted to, and then we wanted him to, and he spent all of his time in the business. He died at his desk right up until the end. And so it was very important for my client early on, before I came into the picture, to start planning, and that’s why his son had been his operations manager and eventually his president and CEO.

And so what do you do? You treat it like a project, and you’ve got that end date, so the completion date, and then start to put a project plan together of all the things that need to be completed to enable that project to be completed on that date.

That’s exactly right. And look, I’m not a project planner. I’m not somebody who comes in and can teach them. You know, these are business owners, right? These entrepreneurs, they know how to get things done. It’s a matter of getting to that point where they realise and fully understand not only the importance of it, but also that I try to remove any potential roadblocks, which often is a historical review. How did the previous CEO or president or owner exit the company? What was your experience of that? What experiences do you have with people in retirement and what that looks like? What have you seen?

So, again, what’s to your point? What’s under the surface here? What’s really going on? What’s getting in your way? And as you pointed out, what will you do with your time? How will you fill your time? Those are really, really key, key issues to address.

Right. Okay, so there’s an example, a really great example, of what good looks like. What about, I’m sure you’ve had situations where it hasn’t gone quite as well as that, shall we say? What does bad look like?

Bad looks like unending a conflict. Bad looks like a power struggle. Bad looks like a founder or a patriarch or matriarch whose identity is so tied to the business, they can’t see themselves. The business is them, and they are the business.

I’m reminded of a colleague who ran an organisation, and I asked him what his succession plan was. It was an educational organisation that he had founded, and he said, oh, the exit. There is no exit plan. When I leave, it’s all over. And the sponsors of his organisation and his investors were not happy to hear that or were not happy with the absence of a plan, and eventually did push him to develop a succession plan. And as you can imagine, it failed miserably because his heart was not in it. He viewed the existence of this organisation as him. And so in some ways, it was a threat if it was going to continue beyond him, which is really strange. That wasn’t an example of a family run business, but nonetheless, I think the issues are the same, which is that if you’re so tied into this business, cannot survive without me, I am the steam engine behind this organisation, then it’s going to be much harder to let go.

I guess one of the things that we share with our clients is, if that’s the plan, great. Let’s just make sure that everyone knows that that’s the plan, and that’s how it’s going to work, that it folds after you, but very few, once you pin that down, very few go, oh, yeah, but that’s what I want. I don’t really want that. That’s just what I think is likely. And you’ve really got to stretch their thinking to realise there are other options available to them if they think about it and put the work in.

Yeah. And right in that example. Well, in all of our examples where I think we’re speaking to the importance of an outsider can ask those difficulties questions. In family businesses, it’s really hard because of all sorts of factors, right. To pin down dad or mom or, you know, at times even, even a sibling or certainly an aunt and uncle.

But prior generations, there’s, you know, there’s an authority, there’s a hierarchy, but there’s a sense of, I cannot necessarily challenge or confront the prior generation for all sorts of reasons. You know, assets outside of the family business perhaps, is one of the things that’s certainly tricky for folks to negotiate. And just family relationships, you know, having peace at Thanksgiving and at the holidays and making sure that relationships are maintained through this process can be incredibly difficult. Back to your question about when things don’t go well, whenever the question of attorneys is raised. And I had a client who thankfully did not go that route, but he ended up leaving the business because dad really couldn’t let go.

But they almost did go that route, and they almost did bring attorneys into the picture. And I often start off with clients, if that’s the case, if they’ve already gone down that road, I’m not going to get involved. It’s, to me, beyond what I can do with somebody’s emotional life if they’ve gone to the point of really externalising it through the use of counsel. So that’s why it goes really well.


Hard to come back from that. Absolutely. Absolutely.

So, Michael, you touched on, there’s some questions you’ve got to start asking early on, and it takes an outside person to pin down the owners of the business and the family members. And I guess that’s partly because you’re independent, partly because you know what questions to ask and because the family dynamics, the nature of family relationships is that I guess they can, there’s a risk that they can become emotional rather quickly if they’re asking each other. But when someone like yourself comes in, you can ask some of those tough questions without emotions getting involved.

Ask the tough questions. Absolutely. The expression having no skin in the game. I mean, as a, as a consultant or a coach, it’s, I don’t ultimately care if you sell the business or if you transition the business or if you close the doors. My job is to try to help people understand what they want and then move towards that, really determine that goal and then really move towards it.

Is there a list of or a notional few tough questions that you always feel you got to ask or does it really change depending on the context?

Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, when I’m first working with a client, I’ll get a really thorough history individually from all the key players and family members, and then I’ll bring them together as a group and do a similar discovery process.

So it really depends on what I uncover during that process that will lead me to whatever questions I need, I need to ask. So, you know, often, unfortunately, in family businesses, there is, as there are other, every other part of life, issues of addiction and, you know, dependence on substances and what that’s meant in the past and how that’s impacted the family. And so those things can come up, you know, in any kind of transition. Family history and trauma and difficult experiences can certainly bubble up. And I think my job is not, I’m not a therapist. I’m not going in there as a clinical psychologist, going in there to help work through a business issue from the emotional or psychological side. But at the end of the day, I’m not there to help people resolve past trauma or work through that. Those are, that’s for therapists and psychologists to work on. One on one, however, it factors in and I think acknowledging that history is really, really important and naming it so people don’t act on it unconsciously. So again, it really depends on the family and what’s happened in the past.

Okay, so one last thing that’s going through my mind is to just check in and go. Given the nature of family businesses, I think there’s always a risk and seen it once or twice where the senior, the founder, the retiring level does retire and opt out, but they want to come back and continually give advice or guide or mentor. I remember when we had our planning call, you had a, I wrote it down, I think you called it seagulling. And I thought that was a brilliant term to capture. How do we stop that from happening? Do we throw the chips on the beach on the other side so the seagulls go over there and we keep them in the parking lot? How do we prevent the parents from seagulling?

That’s really wonderful. And frankly, I think your example of throwing the chips elsewhere really fits because if mom or dad has enough to occupy them, if they have enough sense of purpose and meaning and activity and social connection, there won’t be that seagulling. And so again, the question of asking these things early on, it’s unfortunate to me when I’m working with a family and the exiting owner really does not have much of a life outside of the business. They’re not involved or something that really doesn’t fundamentally connect to their role as owner. They’re not involved necessarily in charitable organisations or in any athletics that they enjoy or any clubs or organisations. And so that lack of social connection becomes really, really clear the day after the exit. Doing those things really early and building that life outside of the business, to me, is just as, if not more important than when you’re getting closer. When you’re in the last three to five years of a transition plan and you’re really working through the details, mom or dad, and both have to have a life outside the business that has been established, relationships that do not have anything to do with their identity as owner, to me, that’s absolutely key.

Yeah. So, Michael, let’s wrap it all up. I guess there’s what we need to consider when working with family businesses to help them with the transition is to just be aware that the energy and the dynamics of family relationships are going to be, I guess, more intense than normal working collaborative type relationships. We need to get in. We need to get to the core. We need to make sure all of those issues that we address as exit planners are addressed. We need to have the courage to ask the tough questions and pin people down. I loved your point around having a ritual and really getting some trophies and turning the exit into an event and having a proper planning period like a project, and treating their exit and their transition as an event so it’s got a due date. And then we talked about seagulling and going, let’s throw the chips elsewhere and over the fence so that mum and dad have got something to keep them active and interested and engaged and growing and energetic about life after they feel that there may be a loss or grieving period after exiting their business. Does that capture it? What else would you add to that summary?

Well, first that’s to say, Darryl, whatever you’re taking, if you’re taking something from memory, I want to get my hands on it because you just beautifully summarised a whole lot of territory that we covered over the past half hour. And that was quite remarkable to me how you just did that. In fact, I’m probably gonna. Yeah, I’m probably gonna draw a blank when it comes. Okay. What can I add to that? Because we did. We did cover so much. You know, I think if there’s. Gosh, I mean, I guess what we didn’t touch on that, I think is maybe important to mention is entering the business. I mentioned the idea of planning or exit. When you enter, when you found the business, the importance of that. But I think in family business settings, it’s so important for that next generation or any family member to really carefully consider why it is that they’re joining. What are the reasons? Does it align with their career goals? Does it align with their values? Does it align with their interests and passions? Because what I found is that if you don’t have that next gen who’s feeling that connected and that, I don’t know, inspired to run the business, to grow the business, to expand, and to do their own thing, then you might have, you’re more likely, I think, to have those issues of a failed exit or an exit that drags on for the previous owner, because the next gen is not in any hurry. There’s not a sense of urgency to what they want to do. And so you’re left with kind of an owner that’s mostly absent and still retaining an ownership stake. Right. The patriarch or matriarch. And then you have a next gen that really is there because it was comfortable or easy or mom or dad asked them to do it, but not because they were driven or necessarily passionate, and they didn’t develop that driver passion. So I think the only thing that I would add is understanding and being clear about why somebody’s entering can very much affect everybody’s exit.

Yeah, that’s really important, isn’t it? Let’s make sure that the nextgen isn’t just in a caretaker or a maintenance role. Make sure that they are the right person for the job.



Real briefly, if I could just give you an example. Early on in my career, I was serving as an assessment specialist, and so we did a whole lot of workplace leadership. They’re psychological assessments, but they’re not clinical. They don’t determine any kind of psychopathology, purely normal traits. And one of the assessments that I like to use, there are many versions of 360 assessments, multi rater tools where everybody evaluates what behaviors they see. So I was the assessment specialist working partnered with an executive coach. He was working with a business owner who was really excited about the transition, ready to hand the business over to number two son. Number one son had left and gone into have a very successful career in financial services. Number two son had been in the business for quite some time. Dad couldn’t be prouder of him and was ready to leave. And we were talking about his son’s leadership development. We decided to do a 360 assessment, and what came back was that he was going to, the organisation was going to lose probably half of its employees if dad had in fact, transitioned the business to his son. There was such little faith in son number two’s leadership ability and general confidence that dad was completely blinded by, you know, dad saw his exit plan. He loved his son, he trusted his son. But that’s an example where there was too much trust placed. And so for me, you know, that assessment tool really opened dad’s eyes and really, really change the plan right there. So, yeah, an example of, do we have the right person in the right seat in order for us to move, move through the succession planning process?

So what I’m hearing there is the key is balance. And don’t rush into anything. Make sure, and make sure that you think through these. And it’s back to that planning process and project management.

Absolutely. And look, it can be painful and difficult and challenging. What I like to say to clients is, well, when’s the last time you left a business or transitioned a business to your children? Oh, this is the first time. Well, then, of course it’s going to be uncomfortable because it’s brand new to you. And if it’s not uncomfortable, there’s something we’re not doing right.

So, Michael, I really appreciate you sharing your insights with 20 years of experience playing and learning and developing skills with helping family business owners transition. Appreciate your exit insights.

Thank you, Darryl. Pleasure and an honor. Happy to be here.

About Michael Klein

Leadership Development & Family Business Coach | Business Owner Transition Advisor | NextGen “Cornerman” | Author of Trapped in the Family Business: A Practical Guide | TEDx Speaker |
For over 25 years, Michael Klein has spoken (in-person and via Zoom) to business associations, family business centers, advisor associations, family offices, global financial services organisations, undergraduate and graduate students, estate planning groups, peer advisory groups, professional study groups, and many other audiences.

Dr. Klein presents on topics including:

  • Trapped in a Family Business: How to avoid it, how to understand it, how to manage it.
  • The Psychology of Business Owner Transitions.
  • Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace.
  • On Becoming Your Own Person: What you share with your family, and what makes you unique.
If you would like to learn more about how to start preparing your business, then you can get more information here: It All Begins with Insights.
Darryl Bates-Brownsword

Darryl Bates-Brownsword

CEO | Succession Plus UK

Darryl is a dynamic, driven Business Mentor and Coach with over 20 years of experience and passion for creating successful outcomes for founder-led businesses. He is a great connector, team builder, problem solver, and inspirer – showing the way through complexity to simplicity.

He has built 2 international multi-million turnover businesses; one now operating in 16 countries. His quick and analytical approach cuts through to the core issues quickly and identifying the context. He challenges the status quo and gets consistent, repeatable and reliable business results.

Originating in Australia, Darryl’s first career was as an Engineer in the Power Industry. Building businesses brought him to the UK in 2003 where he quickly developed a reputation for combining systems thinking with great creativity to get results in challenging situations.

A keen competitive cyclist, he also has a B Eng (Mech) Engineering and an MBA.