We all know that an ownership/leadership transition can be one of the most challenging (and stressful!) decisions you’ll make as an architecture or engineering firm leader.
So, to make it a little easier, PSMJ has compiled a list of questions to ask yourself—and your board—to make the seemingly unknowable a little more familiar.
After a leadership transition is too late—you need to take every opportunity to prepare yourself before you make that big leap. So do it today: Ask these questions before your leadership transition! Be sure to write these answers down, not just answer them aloud—having them concrete on paper will make all the difference!
1. Describe how you pick future owners.
2. When was the last time you updated your firm’s buy/sell agreement?
3. How many owners are there?
4. Do you pay year end bonuses instead of paying taxes?
5. Has anyone ever quit and taken clients and/or staff with them?
6. Should partners count on “selling” their ownership as their primary source of retirement income?
7. Is there mandatory sale of stock? At what age?
8. Are children of founders good leaders? Why/Why not?
9. What is an Associate at your firm?
10. What should be the ratio of owners to staff? Why?
11. Is there a difference between leadership and ownership? Which is more important?
12. Is your Board of Directors effective? Why or Why not?
13. Do you have outside Directors?
14. What generation is your firm? Does this impact how it operates?
15. When should partners leave? Why?
16. On what basis would a partner be fired?
17. Have associates ever quit and formed a competing firm?
A framework can help you prepare for a successful ownership transition. Leadership/ownership transition is inevitable…it is going to happen whether you want it or not. Take control of your and your A/E firm’s destiny and start planning for transition today.
Now we want to hear from you: What are your firm's leadership/ownership transition challenges?
PSMJ's complimentary e-book About Ownership Transition goes into real tangible insight and advice on:
How to start planning for transition on the day you start your firm
An understanding of how transition effects every management decision you make
Common pitfalls in the transition process and how to avoid them
How to keep your architecture or engineering firm focused on its vision through a transition
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