Five Key Steps to a Successful Transition

This article appeared in the May 2021 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

No transition is simple. Most, if not all, are complex. But a successful transition delivers. It increases revenue, cuts costs and boosts customer satisfaction. It also frees up critical resources you can use to shore up activities designed to create a sustained competitive advantage and, given today’s hotly contested marketplaces, creating a sustained competitive advantage is imperative if you want to survive.

Executing A Successful Transition

The key to pulling off a successful transition is to do five things:

  1. Create your vision for a successful transition
  2. Secure senior manager commitment
  3. Determine organizational readiness
  4. Anticipate organizational risks
  5. Define successful transition

Once you have identified the barriers and blind spots, you obviously need to address them. Your goal is to create an effective situation that can grow and change with your company and seeking an independent family business consultant can be a great way to create that foundation.

1) Create a vision for a successful transition

Failing to create a comprehensive vision for your own succession is among the top mistakes in transitioning. Without a clear vision, stakeholders may see the effort as a cost-cutting measure. If that happens, your transition may fall flat.

2) Secure senior manager commitment

This is a key early step. Employees will only commit to change as they see senior leaders do it. You can secure senior manager commitment by demonstrating the benefits of outside consultant engagement. To encourage commitment, show senior managers what’s possible once the transition is executed.

3) Determine organizational readiness

Assessing readiness is among the transition’s most critical steps. Assess the organization from technical, mental and cultural standpoints. Then set realistic expectations and manage them actively. When setting deadlines and goals, under promise and over deliver.

4) Anticipate organizational risks

Organizations are vulnerable during transitions. Develop a plan for overcoming the risks involved. A key element of this plan is a strategy that deals with loss of control issues — both real and imagined.

Also, be on guard for a possible decline in performance and baseline services during the transition — a plan to handle these changes helps.

5) Define successful transition

Even if your transition moves ahead as scripted, it may not achieve the business outcomes that some expect. Avoid this problem. Define what success is and how it will be evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively. Active and accurate measurement, including establishing key benchmarks for success, should be done both during and after the transition. Reporting keeps everyone on the right track and in the loop.

Transitions are always challenging. Most are complex undertakings that leave your business vulnerable when occurring. But once completed, they deliver enormous benefits.

If all this sounds daunting, working with an experienced service provider that has a proven track record increases your chances of executing a successful transition. So, don’t be afraid to tap this expertise.

About the Author

Vincent B. MastrovitoVincent B. Mastrovito, CEPA, is a certified exit planning advisor as well as the founder and president of Prometis Partners. He may be reached at 616- 622-3070 or

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