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Succession Planning Benefits

Proper planning for succession helps to ensure that the practice will be ready for volatile periods. All businesses, large and small, have varying degrees of volatility and as such each business needs to plan for these particular issues.

When staff recognizes that they will continue to be paid during some type of hardship and patients comprehend that they will be treated, there is less concern for the practice. Further, planning for your future should also provide some level of comfort in knowing that your family, your patients and your revenue will be protected. One cannot go through life living day-to-day and not being concerned about future impact. While I do recognize that living in the moment is vital for everyday happiness, planning is exceedingly important since your business depends on it.

What to Look For in a Successor

So, what might be some of the competencies to look for in finding a successor? Here are some of the following issues that might be helpful to you.

Decision Making/Problem Solving:

  • The ability to focus on short-term objectives and get them done quickly.
  • A terrific knowledge of goal setting and delegation ability.
  • A good understanding of project management and task orientation.
  • They need to understand how to ensure accountability and measurement for success.

People Skills:

  • The ability to articulate information as well as listen to it.
  • A willingness to help your most prized assets-staff and patients.
  • The tolerance to deal with a multiplicity of issues including insurance reconciliation and payment.
  • In innate ability to deal with conflict and confrontation.

Perhaps the best piece of advice to give you is to always be looking for your successor and never be looking for perfection. However, the best that you can do is create a foundation that ensures one thing, should you desire, that your practice and its revenue continue without your existence.

One other idea that you should be looking for is the difference between your leadership skills and the core principles of the practice. No matter what, during times of either incapacity or even retirement, it was your blood sweat and tears that brought the ideas and, most of all, the patients to the practice. Therefore, you want to make certain that your legacy lives on and that your ideas still continue to transcend the practice and the foundations of the practice that you've put in place.

Once the decision is made, it will then become necessary for you to choose one of three paths: making the slow transition and offering assistance on a month-to-month basis; making a quick transition and cutting off all access; or making the transition and allowing the other person to take over completely, while offering consultative advice on a monthly or periodic basis. The notion here is that once you transition out and retire, then retire. Although you have a love for the practice and its people, you're hanging around will interfere in the future progress of the practice. It's unfortunate for me to say this as well as you to read it but it is time for the new person to take over. I do recommend being available, but you really need to allow the new person to provide his or her own personality, core beliefs and principles if the practice is to continue and thrive.

Drew Stevens, PhD, is known as "The Revenue Doctor." He helps chiropractors develop strategies that exponentially grow revenue and returns personal time. He is the author of eight books including the widely acclaimed "Practice Acceleration" by Greenbranch publishing. He can be reached through his website at

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