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Don, Succession Planning, & Firing Liars

Updated: May 28


Don’s friend challenges him to have twelve conversations about succession planning with his key people. The conversations focus on awareness, intentionality, and movement (AIM).

The first discussion is about understanding the impact of the business that is worth continuing (awareness). Conversation two centers on the necessary actions to make sure this impact continues and increases (intentionality).


Conversation three will now focus on movement.


“Movement” requires Don’s team to speak to two things:

  1. What are the lived values that brought the business to where it is today?

  2. How can the leaders of the business be steeped in those values?


To identify their core values, Don’s team looks for the heart and soul of their best people. What are the lived values that make their best people so valuable?


It surprises them to learn that these lived values are not the stated values of the company in their marketing collateral. This clarity brings excitement and enthusiasm to Don’s team. They are excited to have clarified the values that are most likely to give them future success. It gives them a new zeal to find more people who live out these values.


A major part of succession planning involves getting the best people in the right places for future growth. The right people for the most successful future are those who live out your company’s core values.


The team’s conversation is enlightening. Realizing what makes their best people most valuable exposes some key players who don’t hold those values. One employee stands out the most: Larry, their most profitable sales agent.


Larry is dishonest. He is a compulsive liar. He lies to the customers, fellow team members, and even to his boss. Everyone knows, but because he leads in sales, they have tolerated him.


Clarifying the businesses’ lived values helps Don to realize that their most profitable sales agent has to be fired. A profitable future with the best team requires it.


You must fire a liar. You can coach some values; others you cannot.


Questions for conversation three, movement:

  1. What are the company’s core values?

  2. Do all the leaders agree and live these core values?

  3. Are future successors being steeped in these values?

Fire your liars, promote your best people, and keep having conversations about succession planning.


Harry T. Jones



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