My son and I started watching Game of Thrones; him for the second time and this is my initiation.  After GOT’s disastrous season 8, my son asked if I wanted to watch that final season.  That is where this Lesson Found begins.

Some long running television series are infamous for petering-out in their last season or two. TV shows like The Office, Dexter and, for those of us old enough to remember, Happy Days seem to have outlasted their long-term plans, resulting in disastrous final seasons.  GOT’s season 8 is the clearest example of a TV series outliving its long-term planning.   The storyline for its first seven seasons followed the plan laid out in the George R.R. Martin’s series of novels on which GOT is based.  Since Martin has not yet released the last two novels in this fantasy series, the show’s creators had no plan to follow and the storyline for season 8 was primarily of their own creation.  Thus, the disastrous end to Game of Thrones.

For business owners, GOT petering-out in its final season is analogous to thinking the sale of the company will support your retirement but not having an exit plan.  Two issues of particular concern are owners over-estimating how much the sale of their business will generate, and the business’ current success being overly reliant on the owner.  Consider the conflation of these two issues:  For a business overly reliant on the owner, how much will it be worth if the owner leaves after the sale? Not nearly as much than if the business has a well thought-out, established system of management.

The analogy of petering-out also applies to family businesses but with wider and potentially bleaker consequences.  Research among family businesses reveals that the lack of a succession plan can disrupt family harmony, jeopardize family welfare and derail a founder’s legacy.  And the consequences of not having a plan extend beyond the family, also adversely impacting employees and customers.  A carefully crafted succession plan, and especially the family discussions leading towards its creation, guides and protects families into the future.

Another Lesson Found: Exit plans and succession plans need to be documented and reviewed every one to three years.  These actions will safeguard your retirement, family and company from petering-out.

When was the last time you reviewed your Exit Plan and/or Succession Plan?

Life brings us lessons every day.  Sometimes from expected sources.  And sometimes from sources and situations we never would have thought possible.  Either way, they are a gift found. I am fortunate to find these types of lessons regularly and wanted to share them with you with this weekly series of “Lessons Found”.
Did you recently receive the gift of a Lesson Found that has helped you with management, marketing or another aspect in business? I would love to hear about it. Comment below or send me an email to let me know.