The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Ensuring Successful Business Transitions

Episode Description:

In this episode, host Elizabeth Ledoux is once again joined by Marcy McNeal, a strategist, transition guide, teacher, and coach at The Transition Strategists. Tap or click the play button below to listen to: The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Ensuring Successful Business Transitions.

Elizabeth and Marcy explore various aspects of how social and emotional intelligence pertains to business transitions. Social and emotional intelligence involves more than just self-awareness; it’s about accurate self-assessment and understanding how your behavior affects others. To understand the underlying reasons for your emotions and be mindful of how your behavior impacts others, it’s important to seek feedback from colleagues and team members.

Social and emotional intelligence plays a vital role in business transitions. For those leaving a role, being aware of the impact on others and fostering transparency and open communication are crucial. Those stepping into new roles must be adaptable, open to coaching, and mindful of building trust with existing team members.

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The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Ensuring Successful Business Transitions Transcript

Marcy McNeal: No, I actually had a coach once and she, she helped me see that I actually tend to be a little bit that way and I have to work at it, I have to, I tend to sort of go into my space and think of ideas. And I want to have them be fully formed and you know, completed before I share them, because that’s, but then you get attached, you get attached. And there’s nothing wrong with having a clear plan and a clear direction. But if there’s, if there’s not some flexibility and adaptability, and you get too attached to how it’s going to go, you are almost guaranteed significant conflict.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Welcome to the business transition roadmap. My name is Elizabeth Ledoux. And through my years, I have seen how communities thrive. When business succession and transition are done. Well, me and my team at the transition strategists have been helping business owners develop and implement transition strategies for over 30 years. And on this show, we want to help you by giving you the roadmap to a healthy business transition. Let’s get started. Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the business transition roadmap. I am so honored to have Marcy McNeil here with us who is joining us again, for another episode. And Marcy, I just want to welcome you back.

Marcy McNeal: Thank you for having me again, Elizabeth. It’s really great to be with you. It was so much fun to do our first our first conversation looking forward forward to sharing some new learnings and insights for folks today.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, yeah, definitely. So I thought Marcy, just for those people who have did not see the prior podcast, just take a moment and tell us a little bit about your background and some of your just what your focus is.

Marcy McNeal: Absolutely. So I’m actually a native of Colorado, even though I don’t live there now. But I went to Colorado State University, got a degree in business, but actually then immediately went into nonprofits. So I have led a few nonprofit organizations and spent the most recent part of my career really teaching and coaching and training nonprofit organizations on how to reach sustainability for their missions. So I had had the distinct privilege to work with over 350 different nonprofit organizations helping them raise over $400 million to fulfill on their missions. And, you know, through the course of that work, I had so many opportunities to interact with really wonderful, wonderful business owners, because they are really small business owners media, all businesses are so critical to the nonprofit sector. And so got to work with them as board members as donors and you know, just have such a profound respect for the role they play in our communities. And the role they play in, you know, in that social network of nonprofits, and that third sector of our of our, of our industries, and just so appreciate them and love the opportunity to bring those learnings from my coaching and experiences there, to the work that we do at the transition strategists. It’s really a it’s been a great transition for me, and a great fit, I think, to really bring that expertise and that experience that I have. So thank you for having me back again.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Well, I’m excited. So yeah, so, you know, in our last episode that we did together, we were talking a little bit about social and emotional intelligence. And one of the comments that you made that it wasn’t just about your awareness, but it actually was also about your behavior, right, not just that you’re aware of what you’re doing, but the actual behavior. So why don’t we start there and kind of pick up on that, and then we’ll move through our podcast.

Marcy McNeal: Perfect, wonderful. So I think, you know, one of the things is social and emotional intelligence, in particular, has very much sort of become more known and in just our general culture, and a lot of people think, Well, I’m emotionally intelligent, if I’m just aware of how I feel and what my emotions are. And that’s just one very small slice of it. And what you’re really pointing to, and I think is, this is a distinct piece of emotional intelligence is the accurate self assessment. You know, you may feel a certain way, you might be able to say, oh, I can I see I know that I’m frustrated. But the accurate self assessment is, but do you know why? And are you going to take a moment to actually choose your response to why you’re frustrated? The other piece of the accurate self assessment is are you actually aware of your of how your behaviors reactions choices are impacting others? yours. And oftentimes, if we keep assessment to just a one way, a one way view, like, of what we think what our assessment is, most of the time, it’s going to be inaccurate. Have you actually checked it out with other people? have you actually been able to notice how people respond when you walk in the room? And is it a good thing? Or is it a bad thing? Do you ever ask your people in your business or in, you know, in that you had relationships with about, you know, how, when you fly off the handle, when you’re upset? How does that impact them? You know, do you even have visibility of that it might impact them in a way that isn’t positive, or really building, you know, making your relationship stronger. So that accurate self assessment piece is not simple. And it takes effort, it takes practice. And that’s what I that’s what I’ve worked with all of my coaching clients on is that, you know, I’m not a believer that that emotional intelligence is a switch that you can just say, Okay, I’m going to be emotionally intelligent. Now. It’s a practice, it takes intention, it takes, you know, really working on and recognizing, not just yourself, but how you impact others. And I think it’s a really it’s a, it’s a valuable, valuable skill. And it’s, it’s not easy, it’s not easy to say, maybe I don’t really know how I’m impacting others, and I’m going to be vulnerable enough to check it out. And actually ask,

Elizabeth Ledoux: yeah, so So when, you know, in our work that we do, we’re dealing with people that are shifting and changing at all times, and I was just on a, I just had a wonderful, wonderful meeting with a person and we were talking about just living living your best life and enjoying that. And I think every person, it goes through a transition from, you know, the very beginning all the way through to the very end of life, we’re always growing, we’re always learning. And as we get into kind of our career years, we’re trying to figure out, what’s my purpose? Why do I want to do this? Just how am I going to be fulfilled by some of these activities. And then, as we get in it, let’s say you’re the entrepreneur owner, and you’re starting the company, and you’re building and growing it, at some point in time you get to, towards the end of that career, the end of that time, when you’re starting to learn new skills, and new things that help you to transition into a role have like a journey of leaving instead of a journey of building and growing, you’re in the journey of transitioning knowledge and everything like that, and actually becoming a mentor and a teacher instead of the doer. So how does that social and emotional intelligence and the behavior and the Self Assessment play into that transition? As people are trying to figure out how to either come in? Or try to leave? Either way?

Marcy McNeal: Yeah, great question. When you think about, let’s first look at what is it like, and how does it? How does it play into when someone’s trying to leave? There’s, you know, there’s that accurate self assessment, and then there’s that other awareness, being aware of, and being able to take the time to stop and sort of look up from what’s happening and say, How are other people reacting to this, it’s important to be very keyed into yourself. But that can then alienate people, they can exclude people from being from wanting to participate, it might, you might make the mistake of not inviting people to participate, because you’re really just so focused, and kind of in that myopic view, but to be able to stop and actually, you know, inquire how are the people around me doing. And it may not be because of you, it may be because of as you’re transitioning, the transition is getting on them to they might not be technically transitioning, but it’s going to impact everything about your organization, all of the people in it people outside of it, it’s going to have a far reaching impact. So to take to be able to stop and really check in and see be aware and and curious, how are the other people around me doing and what role do I play in that if any, but most likely, there is a role to play there is communication to be had. Again, there’s mentoring and coaching, which is one of the core competencies of it’s one of the competencies of emotional intelligence, you know, where how is the trust? Building trust is another area so, you know, for someone transitioning out, it can you know, if it’s, if it’s not a thoughtful, well laid out process with a plan and a destination, it can become just just a push, like, just how do I survive it? How do I just get through it so I can get to the other side and be done. And that’s when you’ll leave Evaluate, this is a terrible term, but you don’t want to leave roadkill, you don’t want to leave the people just like, thrown to the side. You know, it’s that people first and really valuing those relationships. I think for somebody transitioning out, it can be tempting sometimes to be like, Oh, I can’t wait to wash my hands at this because it’s hard. But there’s so much value in stopping and seeing how the people how other people are doing and being impacted. Now for the person that’s transitioning in or maybe transitioning to a new role that maybe they’ve already been there, or transitioning to the new role as owner becoming an entrepreneur, whatever the scenario is, you know, there’s, there’s value in them in their accurate self assessment, particularly, particularly around the mindset, you know, their own mindset of how they approach taking on relationships, how are they building trust in a new way? Or at a new level? Maybe that’s what the same people that they’ve worked with, but now, it’s a different actual relationship? So what is the how does the trust, need to adapt? How does that feel different? And are you checking in with people on how it’s going? And are you being adaptable? As you’re going into that new role? Are you open to the coaching and mentoring of the person who is leaving? You know, that’s a place where you’re going to have the potential for significant conflict. You know, if it’s, I just, I know what I need to do, and your old way is not needed anymore. Good. That’s gonna be that’s gonna be that’s Ouch. Ouch, exactly. Wait a minute. Yeah, yeah, definitely. So it’s, you know, that the mindset of, you know, it’s easy for a person coming in to really be focusing on what’s next? How do I get to where I’ve proven myself, or how do I get the organization, the entity to the next thing that I want to achieve. But again, you don’t want to leave people in your wake, you need those people, they’re the ones that are going to actually help you get there. So it’s really, really continuing to be looking at the impact on others be that that other awareness of others and of their of how they’re being impacted and where they’re at is really is really key and, you know, can definitely have a have very positive impact on a transition. But it could also take it the other way, being negative.

Elizabeth Ledoux: So what I’m, what comes to mind for me is just the need to have a little, you know, some transparency, some vulnerability, they have open communications and things like that. And I think there’s a, you know, a belief out there that this is that transitioning out of your business, even if, and if it’s a short period or a long, a long roadmap, could be years. But that transition is something that you don’t want to talk about. And you want to keep it a secret, because it has the potential to frighten people around you. And so it’s kind of interesting, that belief or that mindset, that maybe we shouldn’t talk, and we shouldn’t go that direction, when everybody’s wondering anyway. And without the transparency, you don’t have a way to check in to see how your, how you are influencing and impacting others.

Marcy McNeal: Absolutely. You know, I actually had a coach once and she, she helped me see that I actually tend to be a little bit that way, and I have to work at it, I have to, I tend to sort of go into my space, and think of ideas. And I want to have them be fully formed and you know, completed before I share them, because that’s but then you get attached, you get attached. And there’s nothing wrong with having a clear plan and a clear direction. But if there’s, if there’s not some flexibility and adaptability, and you get too attached to how it’s going to go, you are almost guaranteed significant conflict, because you’re just not willing to consider within, within a framework of where you want to get to you’re not willing to consider how this might look, you might not be willing to consider Oh, that person who I thought would be great at this has absolutely no interest in that. But they have interest in this over here. Am I am I going to explore that with them? Or am I going to stick with no, this is your only this is your only path. You know, and that’s that’s that’s a great example of like just getting too stuck on that that mindset of I have the I have the answer. I have all of the details figured out and everyone better fall in line. Because I see it’s gonna look like this when it’s done, which is ironic and a transition because when it’s done it means you’re gone. So So, you know, it is kind of interesting. And it’s, you know, it’s, it’s something that people can definitely work on making sure that they do become more open. And exploratory. Again, that doesn’t mean you just sort of your direction changes, and you’re where you’re headed is, is up for, you know, complete negotiation. As the owner, you do know where you want to get to, and that’s fine, but to be flexible, and who comes along, and what what seat they have in the journey is, is hugely important is hugely important. So, yeah, and the transparency, the transparency, the point you made you started with was the transparency of we have been open to letting people know, we’re sharing with people, like, here’s where I’m at in the journey, it may not be time for you to have comments on it. But I’m letting you know where I’m at. And you know, you can trust that I have the best of intent to bring you in as soon as there’s as soon as the space for those comments and those ideas and suggestions and conversations, I’ll invite you in

Elizabeth Ledoux: to anything. So it’s so interesting, too, because, because, many, many times Well, that’s why we can believer that the transition is a journey. Because the owners typically don’t You don’t know what’s in front of you, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know what’s happening with your health or health around you up to an including you don’t know what’s happening with your potential successors. And it’s so, you know, we believe that we’ve got this roadmap in front of us, I’ve heard so many times, owners will tell me that they just can’t go talk to or really discuss some of the transition with either family members or non family members who are in the business. And the reason why is because I think as the owner, CEO, typically, you probably learned that whatever you say, people start to move. So if you say, Hey, we’re going into this area, they’ll start to go, Okay, guess what we’re going into that area, because why? Because the owner says, so that’s what we’re doing. Then when you get into this transition space, there are many unknowns, and so many puzzle pieces that have to come into place that sometimes take a while to get to get in place and to kind of, you know, shape and design, that the owners are afraid to actually say something because they’re afraid it’s going to be like a promise. And that promise, then they have to keep it and they don’t know if they can, I don’t know, if it’s gonna come together that way.

Marcy McNeal: You know, in that instance, you actually remind me of something that happened with a client recently, but then that instance, the very best thing that a successor can bring is empathy. Because that empathy gives gives the space or creates this space for that owner. To know it’s okay to not have it to not know every single step right now, you know, the, the, what won’t be helpful is when a successor is impatient. And I want to do need to make a decision now. And I need to know now, and you can’t change your mind. And you know, to be so to sort of demand that decisiveness without, with and not allow space for for incidents, unexpected things that are going to happen that are unknown, right the unknowns, then you can you can understand why an owner might be like, Well, I don’t want to talk about this as anybody because it might be construed as well, this is exactly the path we’re going down. And then they feel then they feel caught like Oh, but what if I discover that it’s not the right one, it’s not the best, the best one,

Elizabeth Ledoux: or even and, you know, we were talking earlier, even an example would be an owner who believes, you know, they’ve never done a lot of this before and transition themselves out, they might have helped others if they’re an accountant, or a lawyer or some somebody else. But when it’s you, it’s very different. And even with some experience of doing this, sometimes the agreements don’t come in quite the same, or the negotiation takes a little bit longer or whatever those things are. And so by setting deadlines and having that plan in place many times it’s not the owners fault, but it looks like they’re dragging their feet at times. So just the idea of Yeah, it’s a journey and with many unknowns and a lot of different moving parts within it.

Marcy McNeal: Yep, going back to that empathy, I can think of a specific company that that you and I have both had the chance to work with and You know, one of the successors recognizing they having that that kind of aha moment of accurate self assessment and being able to recognize, like, I have been really difficult, I can actually see, and I’m willing to see how I have not been kind or generous or patient with the, you know, the individuals moving on the people transitioning out and I’ve pushed, and I’ve, you know, sort of been been mean and and to, for a person who is coming into an organization or coming into a leadership position newly within that, or within an organization taking on ownership taking on the business itself, it like to be able, and willing to be vulnerable, and see that and take responsibility for it. What a, what a phenomenal leader they will make, how much trust will they create within their organization and the people and the culture of, you know, what this is you can be patient, you can be thoughtful, you can take your time, you can you can make mistakes, you can change your mind, like all of those things that are really valuable for people and organizations to grow and develop. And it was just such a huge and fantastic breakthrough to kind of witness that, you know, that this person had gotten to that place. And, you know, it had a profound impact on the transition moving forward, you know, for the people transitioning out to really feel, to understand and feel that that was acknowledged that that was their experience to that point, that they weren’t just being difficult themselves that they really had experienced that.

Elizabeth Ledoux: So and so the concept behind that is, you know, we, as a firm, we have our rules of engagement, right? And our rules of engagement, the first rule of engagement is that you have best of intent, always, and others do as well. And when when you really practice that, which is not very easy to do at times, that everybody has the best of intent. And so in this situation. So, if you have somebody who is excited as the successor wants to come in, wants to prove themselves is ready, has thought about it for years, and it’s like, oh my gosh, finally, I’m gonna get to be the one or one of the ones, right, I’m gonna get to be that leader. And they’re really trying to prove themselves and sometimes maybe even frustrated, I was gonna ask the why behind that. Sometimes so frustrated, because it’s like, come on, come on, come on. And we have many clients, this is not a this is not the unusual example. This is the usual example. So they’re ready there. They get frustrated, because the transition, the person transitioning doesn’t move quick enough. Things don’t happen quick enough. All of those different things. And that’s just a piece of that. But what it does is it almost backfires on them. Because if they’re truly entrepreneurial, and ready for this position and excited the owner, as they start to walk through this sometimes sees that as being pushy, and too much, and you know, and they’re not quite ready to go. So lots of times what one of the things that I talk to owners about is that it’s so great to have somebody who wants it so much that they’re willing to kind of push you and kind of engage with you. But that’s where I think a lot of that a lot of that open communication and transparency has to happen. Otherwise, the relationship gets destroyed, then in many cases, what happens is the owner believes they may have picked the wrong person, or they’re going down the wrong road. And so if it’s a, if it’s a multi, if the asset is being transitioned in multiple steps, sometimes they worry about whether or not they should actually complete it. Because usually, they have transitioned enough to still be the majority owner, the original owner, and then they’re looking at it going wow, this person’s personality is completely different than I thought and I’m just wondering if I made the right choice. So yeah, so that opened communication so important.

Marcy McNeal: Yeah. You know, one of the things as as I’ve been thinking about our conversation today, Elizabeth, you know, one of the things that I think is always good to, to acknowledge is that the work we’re talking about, is on top of all the work doing the business. And, you know, we’re so we’re so in this space of, of moving, you know, moving owners and successors through these these conversations and spaces and planning and thought, you know, thoughtful process. And you know, it’s so it’s very, it’s very natural to us. And I think one of the things we bring is the unique opportunity to really guide those individuals, but owners and successors through this work, because if they had to do it on their own, on top of everything else, keeping the business afloat keeping the business growing, taking care of all the people, all the things, it is just overwhelming it and how would I possibly find the time to think about my communication to my successor or vice versa, or come up with a plan to mentor and train and pass on those skills and, and because it’s, it takes a lot, it takes a lot. And, you know, I think that I love that I love that we can be that resource. I love that we have the the opportunity to be that resource for business owners and successors who really want to have a transition, go, not just well, but go exceedingly well and come out in a stronger place than they might have even ever imagined was possible.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, yeah.

Marcy McNeal: That’s very cool.

Elizabeth Ledoux: That is cool. We have a in a previous podcast that I did with Tom Kurt who transitioned he had, I think it was six transitions that he had done in his career. And he is now retired and completely out of owning a business. He’s still working in the business. But yeah, it was really interesting in that podcast, if you have an opportunity as the listeners to check that out. It’s fabulous to have a transition that goes well. He said, the first five did not go well. He said the last one that he did went really well. And in a community, he said, I said what, what’s great about that, and he said, and he said, You know, I get to walk around and see my old clients and see the business running and see the employees still working together. And he said, I’m proud of that. He said, That’s a really good feeling.

Marcy McNeal: Yeah. What an amazing legacy. I mean, what a truly legacy to leave. And what a what a remarkable just achievement. remarkable achievement. That’s really no,

Elizabeth Ledoux: it does. I liked what you said about you know, just an added layer to to business owners are busy running the business and doing all the stuff that they do and, and you know, have a full life probably a little bit of a overfull life at times. And, yeah, to add this transition piece on top of it really takes some focus and some intention to be able to do that. I think it is, it’s highly valuable. And truly, in the end, I believe that it saves you time in the end, because it’s just easier, I think conflict and all of that takes up so much. So much focus and so much space.

Marcy McNeal: So, yeah, well, it definitely saves you time. And if nothing else, it saves you energy, it saves you probably a little bit of heartache. And hopefully, you know, and most likely it could even save some of your relationships, you know, and that’s really that’s really what we want for for everyone as they move through their transitions is that they can keep those relationships that are most important to them intact. And that’s and that is not predictably going to happen if somebody’s tackling this on their own. You know, yeah, yeah.

Elizabeth Ledoux: So. So we’re, I think we’re at the end of our time, Marcin so fast, I can’t believe you know that we’re here. So if you I was asked at the  end, what one thing would you leave with our listeners to keep in mind as they are beginning to navigate or navigating their transition? But one thing would you want them to just remember?

Marcy McNeal: Oh, goodness, I probably would say this about every single one of my my coaching clients and the transition clients we work with is just just hanging out in the area of curiosity. It’s a really powerful positive place to be. When you find yourself resisting something when you feel that other people are resisting you. The perfect place to go is curiosity because that is where you will, you will stop your reaction. And you can open yourself up to what might be happening here. And what can I do and how can I participate in finding a great resolution? into anything it is it can be anything that you have going on in life. But it seems like curiosity is it’s not something we typically go to very naturally. And it’s it’s it, but it’s powerful. It’s just so powerful. And it does does wonders for relationships and communication and moving forward. So I love to play in that space.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Yeah, that is, that’s incredible. And a great thing that we all should practice all the time. Is that curiosity. So what a great thing to leave our listeners with. So, Marcy, thank you so much for joining us again, and for taking the time to be here. And just so appreciate you.

Marcy McNeal: Thank you, Elizabeth. It was it’s joy to join you again. And I hope this was helpful for folks that listen.

Elizabeth Ledoux: Thank you for listening to this episode of the business transition roadmap. If you’re listening to this and you find yourself wanting to go deeper into these topics and start the process of putting together your transition strategy. I’d love to offer you a free initial strategy session with my team, where we’ll help you to explore the future transition of your business, head over to www dot transition To schedule a call. Thank you again for listening, and I’ll see you on the next episode of the business transition roadmap.


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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