Business Insider

HBO’s Succession is a cautionary tale for all business owners, chronicling a billionaire Family as the children of the aging patriarch vie for control of their publicly traded media conglomerate. Below are a few lessons business owners can take away from the show.
  1. Failing to plan is a prelude to chaos. Every business, whether a small family enterprise or Fortune 500, needs a solid succession plan. Absent clear guidance and structured transition for both ownership and operational control, costly disputes and dysfunction are inevitable. 
  2. Effective corporate governance is essential to preserving and protecting a company’s value and mission. It provides for accountability, transparency, risk management and sustainability. 
  3. The successor must be positioned for success. Choosing the right successor — one with the aptitude and appetite to pursue the business mission — is critical for the long-term success of the company.
  4. The family dynamics of a business owner will eventually impact ownership and operations of the enterprise. Nothing highlights this more than the 3 Ds: Divorce, Dementia and Death. Buy-sell agreements, key man insurance, by-laws or operating agreements are important baseline succession documents. 

Monique D. Hayes is a partner at DGIM Law. She centers her practice on wealth preservation and protection, including business succession planning. She is also the founder of Estates Made Easy, an AI-driven digital platform for estate planning;;