Tag Archives: leadership

By Jonna Dye

Every family business leader should have a planned exit strategy or a plan to ensure their business survives and prospers beyond their leadership. A family business succession plan is designed to do just that.



In this issue of our newsletter:

  • Introduction

  • Get Help with the Process

  • Start Early with the Planning

  • Be Thorough in the Transition


I have always felt a love for family businesses. I not only “grew up” in a family business but also worked for family businesses for most of my career and then launched a family business of my own with the hope it would be a legacy for future generations. Most of us have been involved in, or at least observed, leadership changes in businesses and the challenges those transitions cause for organizations. In a family business, compound those challenging transitions with family dynamics, including childhood relationships which may have been rocky, and taboo topics such as parental aging, death, and personal finances, and voilà, I present to you family business succession planning.

Considering these challenges and how painful this sounds, why would anyone attempt succession planning in a family business?  It’s because it is difficult to suppress the entrepreneurial spirit that inspires someone to be their own boss and create a family-based business. However, every family business leader should have either a planned exit strategy or a plan to ensure their business survives and prospers beyond their leadership, either due to retirement or some other circumstance. A family business succession plan is designed to do just that.

Succession planning in a family business is not a one-time activity; it is a process and a very long one. Family business leaders often subconsciously begin laying the groundwork for succession (or lack thereof) while the next generation is still young. This is done by how they talk about the business at home. I vividly remember my parents’ business conversations at the kitchen table. They ran the family cattle ranch, a business that had been in our family since the land was homesteaded by my great-grandmother. I recall their concern as they discussed unforeseen expenses and unfavorable market conditions. However, my parents were in business for the love of it, both the joys and the challenges. My point is that making a conscious effort to present a balanced perspective on the business will enable the next generation to better understand and appreciate business ownership and leadership.

I believe most family business owners hope their children want to follow in their footsteps and join the family business. However, in navigating the sometimes-stressful process of family succession, many founders take on too much by themselves or put undue pressure on family members to join the business. Others don’t start early enough to identify and prepare the right people for future roles. With so much at stake emotionally and financially, the key is to get help, start early, and be thorough.

When you consider the facts about family businesses, you realize the uphill road a family must travel to beat the odds. Cornell University has provided interesting stats on family businesses here.

So, what are some of the best practices for family business succession?


Get Help with the Process

My father used to tell us that wisdom is found in the council of many. To this point, an advisory board or council is of great value to the family business. It should include your lawyer, accountant, an organizational specialist, and colleague(s) from your industry whom you respect. Many families face the same complex issues (business valuation, founder involvement following succession, sudden loss of a critical family member, etc.). Because many of these are common challenges, joining a family business forum can be helpful. You can see how other people resolve these challenges, and you will also be able to add value to other family businesses by sharing your experiences and perspectives.



Start Early with the Planning

Start the conversation with the next generation early to understand their interest in the business and affirm that no matter what they choose to do with their life, the family will be there to cheer them on. Even if they are young, let them know that you find family business rewarding and fulfilling. You can also reassure them the family business is not the only way to make a living. It’s one of many options available for them to explore.

Encourage family members to get work experience outside the family business. Outside work experience will provide them with different perspectives, increase their self-confidence, and give them the opportunity to bring back knowledge and best practices from outside the family business.

When the next generation joins the family business, hire them into an existing, well-defined job with measurable goals. It is best to have them report to a nonfamily member. Carefully choose who this will be and set the reporting relationship up for success by clearly communicating expectations.  These expectations should include guiding, mentoring, and developing the family member. Nonfamily employees may perceive family members as having less responsibility or accountability. Having the family member complete their education and successful outside work experience can help alleviate nonfamily employees’ concerns in this area.



Be Thorough in the Transition

Succession transitions are complex and challenging processes. Many founders fear a loss of identity, loss of self-worth, or loss of purpose associated with transitioning out of their leadership role and handing the reins to the next generation. And, if a founder is tied financially to the business, these complexities can feel like impossibilities. One of the goals of the business, estate, and succession plan is to create financial security which is not dependent on continued involvement in the business. A founder dependent on the company for their ongoing salary will find it almost impossible to transition. Planning carefully with an advisory board or council helps support this transition and the succession of the newly appointed family member.

It is also helpful to document “why” it is important to you as the founder that the business continues. During the transition process, when things get particularly difficult, and you begin to question the process, you can refer to your “why” statement and re-focus on the importance of a successful transition.

At the end of the succession process, you should be ready to hand your business over to the next generation. It is important that you are fully committed to the plan you have developed, that your staff is aware of the plan, and that your successor can depend on you to follow through with it.

Fortunately, there are resources to assist you on your journey. Leap Solutions Group is ready to help you plan, provide the needed resources, and guide you through a successful transfer to the next generation. Reach out, and let’s discuss your plan.




Are You Ready to Leap?



Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management professionals serving our clients with their organizational development, human resources, and executive search and recruitment needs. We have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. With the ever-changing COVID-19 response, our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. Through all of our services, we are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

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A team that encourages continuous learning is one where learning is the common goal. In a learning organization personal commitment and dedication to personal learning is important as it fits with the organizational-wide learning objectives.



Learning is part of growing both professionally and personally. We learn new skills, new ways of communicating, and new ways to accomplish our work every day. We do so because we often care deeply about our work and want to exceed expectations and produce high quality work products.

At Leap Solutions Group, we take learning very seriously. We believe it is part of our culture and the thread that holds us together as a team. We define ourselves as a learning organization.



What is a Learning Organization?

Learning organizations, according to the systems scientist Peter Senge, are described as organizations “where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.” Senge popularized the concept of the learning organization in 1990 in his book The Fifth Discipline.

There are five components he describes:

1. Collaborative Culture: Where every individual is treated with respect and as a critical component of the overall vision of the organization. Every voice matters and is heard in a learning organization.
2. Learning Mindset: Every individual agrees that there is always room for growth and grasps a lifelong learning perspective. In a learning organization personal commitment and dedication to personal learning is important as it fits with the organizational-wide learning objectives.
3. Innovation: There is room for innovation and continued improvement. In a learning organization, employees are encouraged to try out new things and are in fact challenged to do so.
4. Leadership: In a learning organization, leadership is committed to providing opportunities for collaboration, learning, and innovation.
5. Shared knowledge: In a learning organization everyone learns from each other.


What Does it Mean to be a Learning Team?

A team that encourages continuous learning is one where learning is the common goal and people bring data, evidence, logic, and solid arguments to the team discussions. A strong team acknowledges the fact that there is always room to grow and learn.

You can ask your team the following questions to inspire reflection and action:

Think about your team right now. What ideal characteristics of a team from your perspective are showing up within your team?

What is the overall purpose of your team?

What core activities show up within the culture that best show the team as a learning and growing team?

What should show up but is not currently in the team culture to support a learning team?



How Do You Learn as a Team?

Okay, so we have shared why a learning organization is imperative and how to take a step forward and be a learning team. But what does that look like? Here is an example from our Leap team.

Coaches that Lunch:
Once a month, the coaching team at Leap Solutions meets for lunch. It serves multiple purposes; we connect, debrief, and most importantly learn from each other. Our topics of discussions vary. Sometimes it is to share a coaching challenge or victory, sometimes we do the exercises we ask our coachees to do, and sometimes we discuss a new coaching technique. We are committed to the growth of the team and the growth of each individual coach. We know we each play a part in the overall mission of Leap Solutions coaching.



What are the Benefits of Learning as a Team?

The benefits are many:
• Solve problems more effectively and be more productive
• Increase your capacity for innovation, creativity, and to learn from your failures
• Become happier and stronger as a team, producing high-quality work and preventing burn out


For more information:


Are You Ready to Leap?



Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management professionals serving our clients with their organizational development, human resources, and executive search and recruitment needs. We have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. With the ever-changing COVID-19 response, our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. Through all of our services, we are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

To print this article, Click Here

At Leap Solutions, we see your limitless potential, and we know you can achieve the kind of leadership growth that directly translates to business success. But we won’t just tell you how; we’ll partner with you, empower you, and guide you through an executive coaching program that’s entirely tailored to you.

You’ll come away from your Leap coaching experience with vital tools for identifying and overcoming barriers, proven methods for meeting and exceeding meaningful objectives, and new and powerful interpersonal and management skills that will make your leadership more impactful and rewarding than ever before.


Coaching in Action

We’ll start with a thorough evaluation to gain a deep understanding of you as an individual and of your role within the organization. We’ll learn about your personality type and core behavioral traits, your leadership competencies, the particular demands of your position, and the culture and dynamics of your workplace. We’ll then ask probing questions that elicit invaluable introspection and self discovery, help you distinguish your perception of yourself as a leader from reality, and allow you to develop an exciting new vision for what’s possible as a leader.

Together with your coach, you’ll determine and address the root causes of specific problems or performance challenges; weigh options and walk through decisions; role play difficult situations and challenging employee relations; and translate your own life experiences to the workplace so you can manage from a place of authenticity and strength. We’ll set meaningful goals and put into place a realistic, workable action plan for reaching and surpassing them. We’ll tap into your driving personal motivations, equip you with all the knowledge, skills, tools and resources you need, and hold you accountable for the outcomes you want to achieve.

Your Leap coach serves as your confidante and cheerleader throughout the process, continually supporting, encouraging and strengthening you into the leader you aim to be while never losing sight of the direction and mission of your organization.


The Client-Coach Fit

Coaching is for new and seasoned leaders. It’s for anyone experiencing transition or facing a juncture or precipice. It’s for professionals looking to manifest their inner leaders or push themselves and their boundaries. It’s for everyone trying to flourish while balancing career, family, relationships and more.

What matters is that you’re open to progress and willing to work for it.

The ideal coach will inspire, inform and transform your leadership. Personality and style matter! Look for a coach who is engaging and insightful and who energizes you personally and professionally. You’ll want an expert you can trust with confidentiality concerns and with whom you’ll feel at ease opening up and exploring strengths as well as opportunities for improvement and growth. Your coach should be compassionate but direct, someone who connects with you but also challenges you and holds you accountable.


The Faces of Coaching at Leap

Leap Solutions coaches have decades of leadership development experience, but we each bring unique perspectives and strengths to the coaching process.


Judy Coffey, RN, MBA, Senior Consultant, Leadership Coach and Mentor

Over the past 25 years as a healthcare professional, Judy has coached and mentored experienced and emerging leaders across Northern California to enhance their skills in employee engagement, department management, effective communication, emotional intelligence and more. Judy is an exceptionally good listener and collaborator known for her ability to create a non-judgmental, safe and comfortable space for clients to expand their thinking, build on their confidence and explore and develop their own unique leadership style and approach. Responsive, flexible, fair and frank, Judy is genuinely interested and invested in the growth and advancing potential of each and every coaching client.


Chuck McPherson, Partner

For decades, Chuck has transformed teams of all sizes through organizational effectiveness, change management, strategic planning and professional development initiatives. He cultivates leaders through nontraditional planning processes, managing relationships, improving organizational behavior and driving organizational results. As an executive coach, Chuck is intuitive, direct and steadfast in his focus on what’s best for the individual and the business as a whole. Clients can count on Chuck to motivate them, support them and hold them accountable to making significant improvement and seeing immeasurable growth and success.


Scott Ormerod, Partner

Scott has more than 30 years of experience in people management, coaching, organizational development and human resources in a wide variety of industries including his passion for community service. His diverse background in business, healthcare, education and nonprofits makes him especially well suited for coaching executive leaders . He skillfully guides clients through obstacles and toward a leadership potential they never thought possible. Scott is committed to delivering on his clients’ return on investment by ensuring that his leadership development programs are fully transparent and that every executive coaching experience is wholly worthwhile and truly valuable to both the participant and the sponsoring organization.


Susana M. Morales, Organizational Development Consultant

Susana is a facilitator, evaluator and researcher and has worked extensively with nonprofits, state and local governmental agencies and universities in the Bay Area and beyond. A first-generation American, woman of color and native Spanish speaker, Susana coaches in both English and Spanish. She asks the right questions and provides effective tools and methods for coaching the whole person—who you are at work, at home and even when you are alone. Known for her energy and enthusiasm, patience and positivity, Susana helps develop clients into the highly capable, creative, resourceful leaders they are meant to be.



Whomever you choose as your partner, you can count on your Leap coach to build trust quickly and show you how to establish powerful, career-long strategies and systems for becoming your best leader.


What Are You Waiting For?

Leap Solutions believes wholeheartedly in the career-enhancing, life-changing value of coaching. We’ve coached countless leaders to find the clarity, skills and confidence to strengthen their roles and performance in their companies, achieve their highest goals and experience exponential growth in every aspect of their lives. Let us do the same for you!

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Organizations use retreats to accomplish all sorts of vital work, including team building, business development, strategic planning, visioning and problem solving. But have you ever considered a retreat devoted specifically to leadership development?

You count on your leaders to develop people and drive results, so why not equip and empower them with opportunities, skills and tools to do so as effectively as possible? Leadership retreats can be an exceptionally impactful way to drive leadership performance.

Meeting Your Leaders Where They’re At

When you commit to carving out time for a leadership retreat, you’ll want to make the very most of it. First up, you’ll want to assess the current state of your leadership team. Are your leaders:

  • Experiencing change? As leaders move on or retire, and as your company grows, your leadership team is likely to include employees new to the company or new to their particular roles. These times of transition are prime for focusing on leadership development in order to establish trust, cultivate relationships, tackle changing demands and more.
  • Struggling? Perhaps your leadership team is falling short of objectives, lacking consistency or feeling some sort of disconnect; a leadership retreat can afford them the time and space to recognize, identify and address environmental problems (which can be nearly impossible to do during day-to-day operations).
  • Looking for growth? Sometimes a leadership team is thriving but ripe for growth and motivated to become even stronger and more proactive. Leadership development allows leaders to create opportunities for themselves, for one another and for their companies.


Any time is a great time to actively develop your leaders—but you’ll want to do so with intention and planning. When you partner with Leap Solutions, we’ll help you thoroughly examine the dynamics, characteristics and personalities at play in your organization and the complexities, challenges and opportunities you’re currently facing. To that end, we might recommend a number of pre-retreat activities, including:

  • Internal and/or external community surveys. We’ll solicit candid feedback about what’s working and what isn’t, individual commitment levels and so forth.
  • In-person interviews. We can ask key players about what challenges they encounter, what they hope to accomplish, etc.
  • Individual behavioral profiles. Our programs provide invaluable information about each team members’ attributes, competencies and temperament, ideal workflows, communication tendencies and preferences, decision-making approaches, leadership and management styles and more.
  • Team assessments. Our assessment tools such as 360-degree evaluations can identify team dynamics and group traits, examine the effects of particular management styles, offer a composite view of what’s successful, and identify areas for enhanced communications.


Armed with a deep understanding of your leaders and what’s possible for them, we’ll work together to determine your leadership retreat goals and priorities and craft the perfect agenda for achieving your desired outcomes. We’ll also determine a timeframe and location that’s within budget and gives your leaders the chance to step out of everyday work and away from outside influences and distractions so that your retreat will be as focused and productive as possible.

Improvement Tools

The retreat facilitators at Leap Solutions have decades of leadership development and coaching experience, and we bring to your retreat seasoned insight, objectivity and efficiency as well as effective tools and approaches for dramatically strengthening your team. We’re known for our ability to get all retreat participants to engage, open up and readily contribute to a purpose-driven dialog around shared issues, challenges, objectives and vision.


Leadership retreat participants can expect:

  • Forget about those wacky, uncomfortable, time-intensive icebreakers everyone dreads; Leap facilitators use well-designed, deliberate icebreakers to establish connections and build trust.
  • Team-building exercises. We draw on team assessment results to guide group formation and activities, and we show leaders how to recognize threads between team members and link systems and processes for a more bonded, cohesive and productive group dynamic.
  • Deeper-level interactions. We guide leaders in using behavioral profile results to capitalize on one another’s natural strengths and contributions, bridge communication styles, and promote mutual understanding, empathy and appreciation.
  • Skill-building activities. Leap facilitators help participants build tangible leadership skill sets, broaden and nurture strengths, develop interpersonal and management styles, and establish more collaborative and efficient workfl
  • New systems and strategies. We share proven tools and techniques for overcoming barriers and resolving conflict, solving institutional problems, setting and achieving worthwhile goals and objectives, driving change and more.


Ultimately, everything we do together is meant to bring meaning and purpose to your workplace. Your leadership team is sure to come away with better communication, greater efficiency, enhanced productivity and markedly improved performance.


The Impact

Your well planned, well organized and well executed Leap retreat is a priceless investment in the outcome of your organization. Stronger leadership teams are more motivated, more accountable to one another, and more likely to impact others and inspire creativity and innovation. When you drive leadership performance with a dedicated leadership retreat, you equip your leadership team to lead your people and your organization to next-level success.


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