Why is convincing your partner so difficult?
There are any number of reasons your partner might be resisting succession planning. The main thing you have to do is figure out what’s stopping them. Then their reservations will be easier to address.
Here are some of the common reasons for avoiding succession planning and some ideas on how to get your partner to see the light.
They don’t understand what succession planning is.
Share some of the resources on this site like the success videos and articles in the Resources and Success Stories page in Step 1. Or, better yet, since you know them best, figure out the best way to explain it for them. It’s about making sure the farm carries on after you are no longer here. It’s all about securing the legacy you’ve built. And it’s simply a plan for the whole family to follow that gives the best chance of the farm flourishing.
They don’t think it’s important since retirement/succession is a long way off.
Explain how the succession plan is the way you make sure the next generation of farmers can succeed in it. If you’ve got to make some adjustments to give the farm a better chance of survival, you’ll need time to make those changes.
They already know how they want succession to work and don’t see the point of documenting it.
Talk about how documenting the succession plan puts everyone on the same page. Family misunderstandings about terms and arrangements have been ripping people apart since time began – think about those families who bicker over assets after a family member has died. When you want your family to be strong and connected, you talk about the future as openly as possible and you write it all down.
They’re happier avoiding the subject of their retirement and life after the farm.
Time stops for no one so avoiding the subject isn’t the answer. If they can’t imagine a life without working on the farm, a succession plan can help find a way for them to stay involved. If they’re worried about how they will finance their retirement, talk to them about what avoidance costs them – the longer they avoid the topic, the harder it will be to find a solution.
Because I’m asking you to.
If you still can’t budge your partner, you can strip the whole conversation down to its bare bones. “I want you to commit to succession planning because I need you to.” It’s simple. The two of you are partners and that’s one of the things with partnerships – you don’t always agree, but it’s give-and-take. There has to be a pretty compelling reason for your partner to refuse. We’re betting there isn’t one.
I have discussed succession planning with my business partner and s/he is committed to going through the process.