Succession: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why

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Leann J. Mischel and Stephen Gray Wallace
Healthy Learning
103 pages
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Change, many people say, is good. Yet change, we know, can be hard. This may be especially the case when it comes to changing leadership, management, or ownership of small businesses.

And that’s what Succession is all about—particularly at family-owned summer camps.

Much like the recent critically acclaimed docudrama by the same name, succession and family-fed transitions can be filled with intrigue, espionage, and interpersonal conflict. But with foresight and proper planning, most or all of that drama can be avoided and regular business continued apace.

This seminal book is designed to help with your family business transition by:

  • Defining what success looks like

  • Coaching on creating family constitutions

  • Advising on the optimal role of boards of advisors/directors

  • Commenting on the culture of camp

Perhaps most importantly, Succession offers a workbook-like format that guides the user through stages of planning, employment and ownership policies, stakeholder meetings, family health emergencies/deaths, business planning, alignment and engagement of employees, and more. Covering both the positives and potential pitfalls inherent in the planning and implementation process, Succession represents a realistic roadmap to one of the more difficult periods of business ownership. In the section titled “A Cautionary Tale,” Succession addresses the specific challenges of blending family members and non-family members in leadership/operational roles. 

Perhaps most helpful is the roadmap the book provides to either “winning” or “losing” at leadership change and business succession. 

As seasoned camp directors, authors Leann J. Mischel and Stephen Gray Wallace bring a wealth of experience in family business, leadership, management, crisis communication, counseling, mentoring, and youth development. Also included are the voices and experiences of camp owners/directors nationwide. 

Succession also offers a timely discussion about the effects of COVID-19 on organized camping and post-pandemic operations. Finally, this publication provides both “boots-on-the-ground” and visionary perspectives on the challenges and choices faced by summer camps in transition. 

While the book is targeted toward family-owned camps, any organization will find the contents helpful. The workbook format provides an easy-to-follow method to summarize where your company is now and how it can move forward to make positive future transitions. This compelling book is a must-read for any small family business facing change.