Death, Fear and Procrastination

November 12, 2013

By Mike Bossy

Robert Dueweke of El Paso, Texas writes, "One thing that is certain and uncertain is death. Its ambiguity creates a sense of anxiety and a desire to escape its grip at all costs." Our logical mind realizes that there is an end, yet when we deal with our family business, we procrastinate about its possible sale or transfer.

Why do we procrastinate? Is it a fear of loss? A fear of losing control? A fear of getting it wrong the first time? A fear that death is near? A fear that our pension managers (our sons and daughters who take over) will mess up our company? A fear that we are being put out of use?  Remember the literal Latin translation of the word "retire" is "put out of use".

Inevitably in succession situations, these fears mount. No one wants to talk about the fears. This creates a "Tense Silence" about what is going on. This lack of discussion ultimately leads to a failure in the succession processes.

Do yourself a favour. Have the tough conversations. Fear is like pain. You get to choose to make it short-term or long-term.


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Knowledge. Clarity. Action.