When it comes to ownership transitions, there is so much planning and so many transactions that go into them that people often don’t consider one of the most important underlying factors—the wide-ranging positive and negative emotions wrapped in the entire ownership transition process. An ownership transition can be a roller coaster of emotions that can be joyfully exhilarating, infused with unexpected disappointment, and even charged with anger before it’s complete.
The difficulties of all these emotions can potentially derail the process of transition, particularly in the final stages with final negotiations and executing transactional documents. The best prevention of this risk is knowing the warning signs of those emotions and not allowing them to overcome the process. When you know how to manage the five main types of emotions that come with an ownership transition, you can ensure they don’t threaten the planning and work required for a successful ownership transition.
How to Manage the 5 Types of Emotions of an Ownership Transition
So, here is the key, to borrow a phrase now a bit cliche: “Stay calm and carry on.”
During an ownership transition, maintain your professional composure, and don’t allow the array of emotions to overtake you and the process. The main types of emotions you’ll want to be watchful of include: confusion and bewilderment, anxiety and fear, anger and animosity, loss and grief, as well as happiness and joy. If you want to better manage these emotions for a successful business ownership transition, learn more about how each of these emotions may apply and surface below:
1. Confusion and Bewilderment
At the beginning of the process, confusion and bewilderment are to be expected. There are so many questions with multiple decisions to come that it’s easy to lose your way and abandon your goals before the process even begins. The best way to overcome these emotions is by taking the time in the beginning to obtain relevant information and receive good answers to your questions.
Instead of planning your ownership transition strategy on your own and feeling overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to bring in strategic business planning consultants to demystify the process and keep you on track. At Thinc Strategy, our consultants regularly assist clients with ownership transition planning. Due to their wide-ranging experience and depth of knowledge, our strategists know the ins and outs of an ownership transition. Our team can walk you through the due diligence requirements and collaborate with you to draw out the right answers that uniquely apply to you and your business.
2. Anxiety and Fear
Anxiety and fear can and will surface at any time during the transition process. Nothing is absolute and final until the end, when all transactional documents are signed. Thus, there may be underlying constant anxiety throughout and fear that something will unexpectedly derail the entire process. You might also experience disagreements or difficult negotiations that heighten your anxiety and fear. Thinc Strategy’s guidance and experience handling the process will help to keep these emotions in check.
3. Anger and Animosity
It is important to realize that the steps of the transition include intense negotiations and compromise. With such intensity and numerous details to work out, some situations may cause disagreement, anger, and animosity among those involved. Surprisingly, the least anticipated detail of a negotiation can sometimes be an emotional time bomb waiting to explode. Due to the sensitive nature of selling a company, anger might run high. Having Thinc Strategy to guide the process and manage potentially controversial topics is critical to successfully completing the process without remnants of animosity.
4. Loss and Grief
As much as one may look forward to the day of selling, merging, or retiring, there will be a sense of loss and consequent grief. The business is your baby, something you created and nurtured to maturity. Thus, even with a successful transition, it may be difficult to give up regardless of how fair the sale or merger might be.
Since grief may sneak up on you, it’s a good idea to cope with this sense of loss through preparatory anticipation and post-transition coaching and counseling. With post-transition coaching, you may want to identify what is next for you or find ways to celebrate the completion of the process.
5. Happiness and Joy
Happiness and joy are the ultimate rewards of a successful transition. These emotions are often experienced at the beginning and again at the end of the transition process. At the beginning of the process, the directional decision to transition often brings about a sense of happiness, as the difficult decision of what to do and how to do it is behind you.
However, happiness is often short-lived at the beginning of the process, as the other emotions surface and you begin working through the entire tedious transition process. Fortunately, happiness can turn to joy once the transition is finally successfully completed. With a successful ownership transition, you’ll leave a legacy for all that you’ve built, leading to feelings of joy.
Choose Thinc Strategy for Ownership Transition Planning
The only way to effectively manage these emotions and use them to your advantage is to be aware of them and how they may affect your decision-making. With the expertise of Thinc Strategy, you will have the valuable counsel needed to manage expectations and, therefore, emotions. Our transition advisors can provide feasibility studies, valuations, leadership transition services, and employee stock ownership plans to ensure the transition process is focused, meets your goals, and is as stress-free as possible. Learn more about Thinc Strategy’s ownership transition services. If you have any questions or want to find out how Thinc Strategy will help manage ownership transition emotions, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.