Assessments a Key Tool for Succession Planning in Family-Owned Business, Says New Report

DENVER – NOVEMBER 11, 2008 – Succession planning is one of the biggest issues for family businesses and frequently where things can fall apart. Only three percent of all family businesses make it into the fourth generation.

This subject is the focus of a new white paper from Strategic Designs for Learning (SDL) titled The Use of Assessments for Succession Planning in Family Family-Owned Businesses. SDL explores the role that family dynamics play in succession, and how assessments can help unravel those dynamics to eventually create consensus on the best next leader.

One relevant issue for choosing the best successor is the underlying set of expectations about who should lead. For instance, simply because a child is the eldest doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best choice to lead the family business. He or she may not have the depth or breadth of skills to be an effective leader. Or the child might resent the fact the business took so much of the parents’ time over the years. An important next question is if they really care about the business.

“Passion is a critical element in a leader,” said to Renée Montoya Lado, founder of SDL, a family business consulting and coaching firm. “The company’s founders may have been very driven, and while the child might appreciate the lifestyle the business has afforded, may not want to jump in with both feet due to their other interests. Forcing them may set the business up for failure.”

The white paper discusses how assessments can be an excellent way to both identify the potential successor with the right blend of skills, as well as open the door for the best places for all family heirs in the organization. The paper includes case studies of two SDL clients that used assessments to evaluate succession alternatives.

The report is available visiting:

About SDL

Strategic Designs For Learning (SDL) assists organizations in assessing, aligning and developing talent. Specific capabilities include leadership development, executive coaching, team development, and succession - with particular expertise in working with family-owned businesses. SDL provides a unique integration of leadership assessment, organizational development, coaching expertise, and business knowledge to effectively bridge the gap between business strategy and organizational effectiveness. More information is available at

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Media Contact: Renée Montoya Lado