The Psychology of
Exit Planning 
August 2009
While we have heard about the millions of corporate boomers who are facing retirement in the coming years, there has been less mention of the business owner boomers who will be exiting their businesses during the same period.  These individuals not only face enormous financial and legal complexities when departing, but are often unprepared for the psychological and behavioral issues that coincide with their exit.
1. Succession
Who can lead this company?
Too often, exiting owners make this key decision based on their own "gut" instincts, flawed 360s (multi-rater surveys), or, in the case of family businesses, the child who has expressed the most interest in leadship. 

Effective, empirically-based processes for management and leadership selection that are used successfully in Fortune 500 companies are typically ignored or simply not understood by small business owners and their advisors.
2. Transition
Will we encounter roadblocks?
Once succession plans are completed, it becomes possible to predict with great accuracy if there will be conflicts (e.g. personality, values) between the current and next generation of leadership.  Once identified, these potential conflicts can be addressed directly and avoided.

Without this information, carefully constructed exit strategies are often hijacked by conflict, and fail to materialize despite the best efforts of financial advisors, attorneys, and accountants.
3. Departure
What now?


When a business owner spends 20, 30, or 40+ years leading and growing their company, exiting can often feel like falling off a cliff.  Daily tasks and responsibilities disappear, and an owner's sense of professional (and personal) identity can be significantly disrupted.

Re-examining core values, talents, and motivators can bring structure to this process, and provide the opportunity to quickly begin "the next chapter" while simultaneously avoiding potential disruptions to new leadership.

MK Insights was the kind of service that I was proud to offer. It was definitely "above and beyond" my normal scope, and was not available in any other form in our
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I am always recommending MK Insights to my colleagues and clients, but perhaps most notably, I also provide these services to the people I care deeply about.
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MK Insights, LLC
241 King Street, Suite 218
Northampton, Massachusetts 01060

MK Insights works with professional advisors and their clients in assessing personality traits, values, motivators, and emotional and social style for professional and personal development, significant transitions, and key decision-making. 
Dr. Michael Klein is the author of the upcoming book,
"Trapped in the Family Business" and is the founder of MK Insights.