King Lear:

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is

To have a thankless child!

If you’ve ever read one of Shakespeare’s plays or attended it, you’ve probably come across the famous King Lear. If not, allow me to give you a peek into this wise yet true-to-reality story.

In this tragic play, the aging King Lear decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. Instead of simply dividing it equally, he decides to test their love by having them express their love in words for him. His two elder daughters, Goneril and Regan, say things that they know their father would want to hear. However, his youngest daughter Cordelia refuses to flatter him and instead speaks honestly.

King Lear:

What can you say to draw

A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.


Nothing, my lord.

King Lear:




King Lear:

Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.


Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave

My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty

According to my bond; nor more nor less.

Cordelia’s honesty infuriates King Lear and causes him to disown her and banish her from the kingdom. Over time, Lear’s other two daughters, Goneril and Regan, who had flattered him to gain more of his kingdom, turn against him and betray him.

The play depicts the corrupting influence of power and greed, as Lear’s two elder daughters only respect him when they stand to benefit from his wealth and riches. The story ends with the tragic death of King Lear, but a lesson is learned in all of this – the importance of planned succession. It also shows us why even today a family business must pay heed to this story.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”


A family is made up of members with different roles and with even more diverse ways of thinking. As children grow, they develop their personalities, ambitions, and goals in life. It’s the same in a family business where each family member taking part in the business has their desires and goals in mind. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the flow in which the former leader steps down and retreats so that the new leader can take over.

However, this TRANSITIONING-OUT of the former leader and TRANSITIONING-IN of the new leader often intersect in a disarrayed manner. The new leader’s ideas clash with that of the former leader in most cases. Some of the other leading positions in the company follow the beliefs of the former leader. While some want to disrupt the status quo and introduce radical ideas, and vice versa.

In a family business, emotions can get riled up and it is not uncommon for bad blood to spew into the game. This is where a Succession Coach is required so that they act as a catalyst to ensure the continuity of the family legacy.

This is why it is essential to focus on the 5 S OF SUCCESSION PLANNING.

1. Style – Re-visioning the core Values, Identity, Purpose

2. Strategy – Increasing effectiveness through Agility, Absorption, and Transition

3. Structure – Laser clarity in Communication, Governance, Management, Ownership

4. System – Gaining efficiencies through Professionalization, SOPs, and Processes

5. Support – Evaluating the impact on community, society, and environment

In doing so, each member involved in the business can sustain and grow together. Everyone can finally find themselves on the same page, ensuring that the principles, culture, and identity are defined and valued. A Succession Coach will always ensure that those aspects are acknowledged and recognized in the interest of the company’s growth.

Identify where SiQ fits into the Family Business

As the Succession Coach works toward a strategic succession plan, the leaders are encouraged to transcend above their individual surface goals. They are made to go deeper into figuring out their true purpose while also improving their FIT scores.

·      This is so that they may find ways of increasing their FREQUENCY (F) to work together on the same page.

·      They may be able to see the long run rather than seek instant gratification of success. This way, they can enhance their INTENSITY (I) to grow in the family business.

·      And seek long-term success with improved TENACITY (T).

Just as a family business should run, so should each member’s SiQ levels (Spiritual Quotient) see them through the rough highs and lows of any business venture.

Succession planning is as much a right to a family business as it is to the former leader. They’ve experienced the years gone by, and wish to hand over their legacy to the generations to come. Many family businesses may have a future generation of distinct personalities like Goneril and Regan who will say whatever it takes to get their gains. While there will be some like Cordelia who will be honest and refrain from painting a sugar-coated picture of reality and their perspective. Regardless, a Succession Coach plays their part to ensure that the legacy continues giving birth to leadership bearing witness to the making of legends in the presence of diverse personalities and leaders.

It is as the Former Chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation, Anne M. Mulcahy once said:

“One of the things we often miss in succession planning is that it should be gradual and thoughtful, with lots of sharing of information and knowledge and perspective, so that it’s almost a non-event when it happens.”

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