Published March 30th, 2023

How can we choose a leadership successor without bias?


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Intuitively, many consider transitions in executive leadership as an almost instantaneous event involving mostly two people: the family business leader and his or her prospective successor. Both components of the assumption must be challenged: first, a proper succession process starts possibly years ahead, and continues long after the successor has been appointed, takes over the reins and starts stamping their imprint on the business; second, the best transitions are often the result of a collaborative effort between different stakeholders, who each bring their perspective in pursuit of the best solution. In other words: failed transitions are often the result of either a lack of preparation or the failure to consider all the perspectives or biases that might influence the success.

In this Knowledge Snapshot, we will review with a critical eye several commonly accepted assumptions about executive leadership succession in a family business and recommend practical ways to avoid common biases.