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By: Marie Ratermann on March 14th, 2023

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Flexibility in Succession Planning: Insights from Anne Hayes of Indiana Oxygen

Are you a part of a family business looking to plan for succession? Do you need advice on how to handle tough conversations with family members? If so, you might find valuable insights from Anne Hayes of Indiana Oxygen. In a recent podcast recording, Hayes shared her experiences and tips for effective succession planning in a family business.
According to Hayes, being in a resource-rich environment both internally and externally has been a major benefit for her in planning for succession. She encourages others to get involved in trade association groups and to seek out groups of peers in different industries. These connections can offer fresh perspectives and solutions to problems that might be unique to a family business.
Hayes also emphasized the importance of continuity in leadership during succession planning. In her case, having Gary Halter as president provided the necessary stability during a time of change. She also stressed the need for honest conversations and laying everything on the table, even if it can be uncomfortable at times. Open communication is key to ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that potential misunderstandings are avoided.
When asked about what she would change, Hayes noted that flexibility should be offered to those who have a passion for working in the family business. While having a career outside of the company was the right path for her, it may not be for everyone. Additionally, she shared that having a rule against spouses working for the company has been helpful in avoiding potential conflicts and damage to family relationships.
Finally, Hayes discussed the value of bringing in a neutral third party to facilitate executive team meetings. This can help to challenge assumptions and ask the hard questions that may be difficult to raise within the family.
Overall, Hayes offers valuable insights for anyone involved in a family business and planning for succession. By emphasizing the importance of honest communication, seeking out external resources, and providing flexibility, family businesses can better navigate the process of succession planning and ensure a successful transition to the next generation.

Submit a question you would like answered during the succession planning panel discussion.