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In succession planning, fairness in the treatment of family members may well be called the very powerful but mostly invisible force in the room, with the potential to cause much stress and anxiety. The cause resides in the typical desire of parents to treat their children equally, which is not necessarily the same thing as being fair. The concept of fairness in the family brings forward multiple streams of factors that should be considered in the succession planning process and decisions made, but because so much of it is so difficult to deal with, decisions are made to keep the peace.
It is common for the succession planning process to be halted somewhere due to resentments. This may occur during the implementation of final legal documentation or at any other stage of the process. The “well, I did not know,” “you never told me before” situations are difficult to deal with. If handled properly, with all facts brought to the table in a calm and controlled manner over an expanded timeline, discussions between the role players can be made in a civil way and resolution sought for real or perceived problems. This is completely different than dealing with an after-the-fact discussion that arises from negative feelings or perceptions that have been solidified, when adjustments are required by all affected parties. The longer it is delayed, the more likely positions have become entrenched.
This series will provide you with critically important information that can help you handle this situation.
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