How Communities Thrive with Marcy McNeal

Episode Description:

In this episode, Elizabeth is joined by Marcy McNeal, one of her top transition guides a the Transition Strategists. Marcy is a seasoned trainer, facilitator, and coach with a passion for supporting business owners through life-changing breakthroughs in how they go about their work and the results they produce. Tap or click the play button below to listen to: How Communities Thrive with Marcy McNeal.

You’ll get the perspectives of two business transition experts as Elizabeth and Marcy discuss the transition journeys they’ve worked on throughout the years, what makes some transitions more successful than others, and how the businesses that they’ve helped are essential to their surrounding communities. 

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How Communities Thrive with Marcy McNeal Transcript

[00:00:00] Elizabeth Ledoux: Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Business Transition Roadmap Podcast. Um, I’m Elizabeth Ledoux, and I am so happy to be here with Marcie McNeal today. Marcie, thank you so much for joining us.

[00:00:15] Marcy McNeal: Thank you, Elizabeth. It’s really wonderful to be with you.

[00:00:18] Elizabeth Ledoux: Well, thanks, and I am excited to have you here and to have our viewers and listeners, um, enjoy this because Marcy is one of our top transition guides here at the transition strategists.

[00:00:33] And she and I have been working together for quite some time, um, just working with clients and she brings a really unique aspect. To our work that we do. So, um, just happy that you’re here today to share some of your perspectives on transition and what you see in the, you know, in people’s transition journeys, some of the things they run into.

[00:00:55] Mm-hmm. And what they try to work around as they create successful transitions. So, yeah. Welcome again. Yep. Thank you. Thank you. So tell us a little bit about you, mercy, and the background that you have.

[00:01:11] Marcy McNeal: Absolutely happy to do that. So I am originally from Colorado, like you are Elizabeth, and got my degree in business from Colorado State University and then promptly went into nonprofits.

[00:01:25] So, so while I got a business degree, which served me very, very well in nonprofits, I spent a lot of my career either running or coaching. Nonprofit organizations. And, um, I actually worked with over 350 nonprofit organizations in my most recent position and, um, helped them raise over 400 million to fulfill on their missions.

[00:01:49] Wow. And the, the why I did that work is, is the same reason why I do the work with, with you all, with the team and our wonderful group at the Transition Strategist, which is wanting to be able to help people. Make a difference for themselves. For their families, for their employees, but also for their communities.

[00:02:12] Just knowing how important those, you know, not only nonprofit organizations, but I saw through my work how important businesses are to that whole third sector, that nonprofit sector. It really could not even survive without business support, without business leaders giving their time, their energy, their.

[00:02:34] Their expertise, and in many cases they’re money. And so the why that drove me to do that work continues to drive me to do this work, which is. You know, businesses are so critical for healthy, thriving communities, and as much as we can help and support businesses transition in a way that keeps them so strongly connected to the communities, to the valuable relationships they’ve, they’ve created, whether it’s, you know, inside their organization with their employees and their employees’ families, but then with the broader, the broader community.

[00:03:09] And what a huge contribution that is. So it was just so natural as I was leaving this other experience in this other part of my career or phase of my career and meeting you and hearing what the work was about, I was like, oh my gosh, the why. It’s the same. It’s just a new way of doing it. And it’s been, it’s been amazing.

[00:03:30] It’s been incredible and a really fun journey to get to this point. And I will say, I have learned more about business since I started working with you than I did at when I got my degree, just to say I was young, you know, kind of theoretical. Now I’m like, wow. Really getting to understand the actual workings, the actual ins and outs and the complexities, and have just a huge, huge respect for business owners and entrepreneurs and what they, what they go through to have things work and be successful.

[00:03:59] Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s difficult to be an entrepreneur in the first place. Uh, and you know, to. Have the ability to help a business thrive forward because, well, years ago we built this model called the Entrepreneurial Flight, and we did a lot of research, or I did a lot of research, um, as it was built and found out that only, yeah, only about 5% of businesses that are started in the United States survived five years.

[00:04:28] And of that 5%, a very small percentage only like. About 20% will survive into 10 plus years. So that’s what the original founder, who actually knows the product or service and is great at that, and they have to figure out how to run the business and how to build and grow it. Um, let alone trying to figure out how to get it into somebody else’s hands, you know, 10, 15, 20 years later, it really is.

[00:04:56] Mm-hmm. A complicated and, um, Challenging feat, but also for those who are able to do that, I think sometimes they discount themselves and um, and think, you know, well, anybody should be able to run this business, or I can transition it pretty easily to somebody and, um, not really understanding how valuable they are in that leadership and ownership role.

[00:05:19] It’s a big deal.

[00:05:21] Marcy McNeal: Absolutely. And it’s such a richly rewarding process when they do get to the, to the final point of the actual transition. I mean, that’s, it takes a lot of commitment and a lot of work Absolutely. To successfully do that. So, yeah.

[00:05:36] Elizabeth Ledoux: So one of the things I wanted to dive in with you on is the idea, you know, one of our foundations is people first we’re a little bit different than some others where, uh, Some other transition companies that help owners figure this out.

[00:05:53] Start with the how and the how much. We always start with the people first, because what we found, uh, in our work is that if you do that, you’ve got a high likelihood of. A successful transition that is not only successful for the person leaving and the person coming in, but also you are allowed to keep some of those relationships whole and healthy in a much, much better way.

[00:06:18] Um, they’re just less at risk. So anyway, um, with your knowledge and background with emotional intelligence and then that piece that, um, gives you the added part of the social side of that. Tell us a little bit about, um, About that and what you’re seeing with people who are transitioning today.

[00:06:37] Marcy McNeal: Yeah, Elizabeth, I’d be happy to respond to that cuz I really, one of the things that I love so much about our team at the transition strategist is that core value of people first and in social and emotional intelligence.

[00:06:51] Is about, many people think it’s about just being aware of our emotions, just being aware of what we’re feeling and what we’re thinking, and it’s, but it’s more so about the behaviors, the actual behaviors that impact how we are responding or reacting to things. And then what does that look like when we consider how it’s impacting our relationships.

[00:07:14] And it’s so valuable in this work. Um, I mean, it’s valuable in all parts of life, but in this work, when you consider transitioning something that you have given birth to that might be extreme, but something that you have grown and developed and cared for, and you, you know, it’s a big, big part of your life and you’re thinking of.

[00:07:37] Letting that go and giving it to someone else to now care and nurture for, it’s a very emotional experience. There’s a lot that comes up that is, can be very challenging to deal with and consider. The way I’m dealing with this is impacting the relationships that are most important to me. And what is it gonna take?

[00:07:59] For me to respond in a way that will have those relationships, not just survive, but even thrive and be stronger outside, you know, beyond the transition. And you know, that’s, I love that I can bring that experience and that training to. These, these journeys, these journeys that founders and entrepreneurs and families are having, because they’re just, they’re very loaded with lots of, lots of reactions and emotions and responses and you know, it, it, it can get away from you.

[00:08:32] It can really get away from you. And, and before you know it, you find yourself in a position where it’s like, Ooh, can I get this back? Yeah. Can I, can I still have this relationship work? Or where, where has it gone? So, you know, it’s, it’s. It’s to be able to bring that view and that perspective and you know, and guide people through.

[00:08:53] Those sometimes very challenging conversations. Sometimes just those very thoughtful inquiries they need to have for the, for themselves before they can respond in a way. Sure. That’s going to put people first.

[00:09:05] Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah. Yeah. And even, um, the idea, you know, one of the things that we do is we integrate the business transition with the people side.

[00:09:14] Cause again, that how and how much is the functional side, you can, you know, decide if you’re going to sell it to a third party if you’re gonna. Sell it to an insider or an internal type of a sale, like an employee or a family member, or even your, your partner if you’re ready to get out. Mm-hmm. And they’re gonna stay for a little bit.

[00:09:34] So those would all be considered internal type transactions. Um, so you can decide how you’re gonna do that. You can decide if. You’re gonna, if they’re going into debt, if you’re gonna carry some of the debt with them or for them, um, if you’re gonna transition part at a ti, you know, a little bit at a time so that they can get their arms around it and pay for it, and you can stay in it and maybe gain some value because it grows a little bit bigger while you’re still holding some of the, um, Equity side of it.

[00:10:04] So they’re all of, that’s all the how to me. Um, how that gets done and the how much obviously is around what you want for it, what you need for it, the, those things are all important. So all of those have to be integrated. But then the idea of, you know, the four Ws of the why, the when, the who, and the what, um, and understanding that.

[00:10:30] If you integrate those other things, it increases the opportunity for them to have a successful relationship and have those relationships. Usually they thrive. Um, we have mm-hmm a couple different examples of people that are in the midst of it, and when you get in the midst of the transition, the internal transition, it gets pretty darn messy because people are, They’re both sides.

[00:10:59] The person transitioning or people transitioning and also the successors are on pretty high learning curves. Um, yes, yes. Successors learning how to come in and take over and trying to do their best and the people who are transitioning, trying to let go and trying to allow that, but also seeing some things that they’re not happy with are not quite.

[00:11:22] It’s not settling well, and they’re trying to figure out, um, how to let go and how to support without directing, um, all of that. Mm-hmm. So, um, give us some ideas or an example of some of the, you know, maybe one example of some of the things that you’ve seen in a transition and, um mm-hmm. How people are getting through it.

[00:11:45] Marcy McNeal: Yep. I love that. When you were saying about the, how, what occurred to me, Elizabeth, is that. The figuring out the options of the how is like 1% of the how, you know, because it’s all of the other 99%, the actual doing the, the movement, whether it’s really, really slow or really fast. However it is. That’s the, that’s the doing of the how and the conversations and then what’s the response to the conversation.

[00:12:14] And I can think, you know, when you think about some of the challenges I’ve seen, some of our, our clients or just other examples are, you know, everything from, I mean, we talk about mutual dependency. You know, and I actually went through an experience with an organization that had, uh, a failed transition because of the mutual dependency couldn’t be broken, and it was too difficult to let go.

[00:12:39] And, and then the flip side of that is the business is so dependent. I know we’re having a conversation soon with, with someone who says, you know, who’s struggling with the business? Counts on me. Without me, it will, it, it can’t survive. So how do you develop that plan and invite other people in to participate in.

[00:13:05] Breaking that, that dependency and sharing those roles and teaching, like you said, teaching other people, well, what did you do that made it so dependent on you and what can, how do I take some of that on? Or how do you just give that to me and teach me and mentor me to be as successful? But hopefully they have a plan to not have it just be them either.

[00:13:24] That’s right. Kinda thing. But, but you know that, that piece of. Of letting, letting go in both directions. You know, letting go of the business and making sure the business can let go of you is something I definitely see, you know, individuals and, and families that we work with, wrestle with wrestling with.

[00:13:43] That is the big. It’s a big

[00:13:45] Elizabeth Ledoux: conversation. It is a big conversation and it’s not something, I mean, yeah, that mutual dependency is what made the business work. It’s what made the owner stay and know that, you know, when everything, when everything fell apart, when nobody else was standing, they were there to pick up the pieces and you know, to keep it going And.

[00:14:08] Um, you know, I think of investment and pretty much, I think almost every business owner’s been through a time when cashflow was tight and payroll was, you were struggling to make payroll or struggling to do something. Um, and that just those feelings of, you know, being able to be resourceful and do that as part of what made the business work.

[00:14:29] And then now we’re asking. That business owner not to do that and to yeah, trust somebody else who may do it a little bit differently and, and also may not understand it, may not understand the severity because they haven’t lived it. Mm-hmm. It’s really an interesting concept to think about that. Mm-hmm.

[00:14:51] Mm-hmm.

[00:14:52] Marcy McNeal: You know, it does remind me of another example too. There’s, there’s. And this is very much emotional intelligence in that there’s recognition and acknowledgement from both directions. Mm-hmm. So recognition and acknowledgement of a successor who may have ideas to do it differently, but providing that, um, you know, knowing that they respect what.

[00:15:19] The founder, the business owner did, to get it to where it is and not stepping over that. You know, stepping over that acknowledgement is, um, definitely gonna be a place where you, uh, could bounce, you could run into some conflict, you could run, because the, the owner, the person’s, you know, letting go is feeling like they don’t appreciate.

[00:15:41] That I’ve done any of, you know, done all of this work to get us to this point. And the successor is probably just excited. I am just excited to go. I see what’s possible, I wanna take it to this place. And just a simple conversation that is about gratitude and thankfulness and, um, you know, can smooth that conversation over and yet it can be hard for.

[00:16:07] For successor and, and the person, you know, becoming the new owner to see that that’s what’s needed. They just know something’s off. They just know something doesn’t feel right. It feels like, ew. It doesn’t, it feels icky. Yeah. And it can be solved just through a, a, a great dialogue. And, you know, just having that gratitude and, and then, you know, for a, for a, an owner to acknowledge the success, the successor has great ideas and energy and.

[00:16:36] They will be great. They will do wonderful things

[00:16:38] Elizabeth Ledoux: with it. Absolutely. Yeah. So you know, Marcy, I am so excited. I’ve been working over the last couple of weeks on a presentation that I’m going to be doing for the Woman President’s Association and I have 45 women owners in Los Angeles or that I’m gonna be talking to at the end of the week.

[00:16:58] Um, and. It’s about the six ingredients that are required for a successful transition. Uh, first ingredient is to actually have a plan that’s to start with. So, um, we call it a roadmap and just to have some idea of where you’re headed. Uh, the example that I love to give is just some kind of a direction, you know, where you are today.

[00:17:21] So, for instance, I’m in Colorado and, um, I have to decide, at least at a very high level, am I going to Canada or Mexico? Cuz I can’t go both directions at the same time. I have to choose one or the other. Uh, then the remainder of that is the invitation and bringing people in. And what you referred to earlier, Marcie, is the actual behavior and the actual doing of whatever you’re going to do with this.

[00:17:49] So, um, trying to figure out that direction is, is the first thing. Then the second ingredient that I picked is, um, communication. Because communication in all the work that I’ve ever done in this environment and in this field, If people are talking to each other and they’re clear and they’re able to be what I call grounded, um, you know, not angry and not hurt and not emotional or upset, but more.

[00:18:25] You know, our, one of our number one rules of engagement is best of intent. So they’re assuming best of intent that somebody’s actually trying to do the right thing and they’re, uh, when you assume best of intent, you really can’t be angry at anyone. You might be able to be slightly frustrated. But most of the time what you get to be is curious.

[00:18:49] You know, why did they do that? Or what happened in their world today that they really kind of fell off the rails or made that decision? Did they just not understand? Um, you get to be very, very curious. So communication, I think, is one of the key, key, key ingredients to a successful transition, and maybe one of the most important.

[00:19:11] Mm-hmm.

[00:19:12] Marcy McNeal: And that’s, that’s one of the key, you know, competencies of social and emotional intelligence. And I’m a firm believer of you can solve anything through dialogue. But if you don’t have that dialogue, and if you don’t bring, if you don’t come from that best of intent, then you end up with conflict.

[00:19:30] And conflict is the quickest way to realize, I’m not going to Canada or Mexico, I think I’m going to Las Vegas. That’s not where I was trying to go. So, but I love that example of the ch you know, of knowing where you’re going because without that map, without that destination, Identified, then even, even good communication can get so scattered and so, um, disorganized and then it’s sort of like the prevailing wins of the day.

[00:19:59] You know, today it’s this, because that was a fun conversation. Oh, but today this guy said this thing. Oh, that’s interesting. And then there’s just, there’s just two. There’re It’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelming because there are unlimited places you could choose to go. And, you know, if you, if you haven’t established that direction, then your communication will sort of follow, just, you know, a haphazard, you know, here and there and all over there.

[00:20:26] So it’s, it’s powerful to have that map or at least that destination, whether you said, you know exactly in Canada where you’re going, or exactly where in Mexico. At least you know the direction you’re headed and then That’s right. You know, you can invite others in and it’ll might get more specific as we get closer, that type of thing.

[00:20:44] But yes. Yeah, it, it has a huge impact on that communication piece. So, but

[00:20:48] Elizabeth Ledoux: dialogue is critical. Yeah. And I think that, I think you have to a, again, I, we said it earlier, I think that sometimes, um, what the owner does is discounted, you know, they discount it themselves. It’s pretty easy. Mm-hmm. But I think it’s important to remember that when you’re talking about these transitions, you’re talking about, People’s lives.

[00:21:10] Um, you’re talking about their livelihood, you’re talking about a lot of money and a lot of commitment, a big commitment to coming in as a successor and a big commitment as the person transitioning to be able to mentor and teach, and not to mention the. Community that you talked about earlier, that you’ve got those people, um, they’re dependent on this business.

[00:21:35] They’re, they depend on it for their paychecks in the community and all the philanthropy, um, you know, business owners are typically generous. Yes. So, yeah. So I think that really taking this a little bit more seriously, this is a big. Endeavor and a little bit of planning goes a long way with this. Mm-hmm.

[00:21:54] Even if you don’t know as an owner today, what you want to do, part of the journey is to solidify it and actually understand it, um, and be able to be transparent. Invite somebody in to be your successor, um, telling him that you’re not exactly, it’s not a hundred percent clear, but you’re going this direction and would you like to come with me?

[00:22:15] And this is my intention.

[00:22:17] Marcy McNeal: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I love what you were saying. I mean, there is a lot that is riding on the success of the transition, but the other thing is, it’s, it’s, you know, the, it’s the next adventure that that person gets to go on, whatever that might be. And they might be discovering that through the process for themselves.

[00:22:35] You know, what is that next, that next thing that I plan to do, whether it’s. Go sail away or be with the grandkids or start a new enterprise, you know, something completely new. But yeah, but that’s, that’s also, you know, what’s, what’s at stake, you know, that opportunity for that, for that person, that family.

[00:22:54] Yeah.

[00:22:55] Elizabeth Ledoux: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, wonderful. Well, um, gosh, Marcy, I think we’re at our time, so I just so appreciate one, you working with me and with us. You are a pleasure and, um, just bring so much to our clients and what we do. So thank you for that. And thank you for joining us and sharing some of your perspectives today.

[00:23:16] Um, hopefully there’ll be little nuggets that people can take and, you know, remember along the way that will help them in their transition journey.

[00:23:25] Marcy McNeal: Thank you so much for having me on, Elizabeth, and thank you for bringing me into this team. It’s an amazing, amazing team. We are so committed, so committed to businesses and families and individuals, just having as much as they want out of their transitions.

[00:23:41] Hopefully, hopefully all that they want, so,

[00:23:44] Elizabeth Ledoux: absolutely, absolutely. Thank you. Thank you.


The Business Transition Roadmap with Elizabeth Ledoux

How do communities thrive? When businesses experience healthy growth and transition. Join CEO of The Transition Strategists, Elizabeth Ledoux as she and her guests identify what makes a successful business transition roadmap. If you know you want to transition or exit your business “one day”, today is the right day to start planning. This show will give you the roadmap.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, you can check out other episodes here: Podcasts – The Transition Strategists
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