One of the most difficult matters to attend to in business is succession. One local business leader has not only transformed his own leadership, he has changed his organisation’s strategy and led a successful succession process.

Over two blog postings in the next month I will focus on one organisation and two leaders sharing their own stories on how true succession has taken place.

QuoLux recently commissioned independent research where 50 local business people were asked about succession. Almost all said they don’t have a succession plan.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Margaret Thatcher are cited as great leaders but both failed to execute a successful succession plan and their respective organisations have struggled after the stood down.

Just over a year ago, I began working with Rob Rees MBE, the Cotswold Chef and founder of The Wiggly Worm, on the LEAD programme. Wiggly Worm is a charity that exists to improve health, well-being and self-esteem amongst the vulnerable, disadvantaged or seldom heard. Rob collaborated with National Star creating the Star Bistro. This was then replicated at the Star Bistro Royal Crescent.

Although successful, Rob wanted more from life deciding it was time to refresh his personal aspirations, values, ethics and purpose.

Rob notes, “It was time to develop from a role that felt like a calling to one that would allow economic growth and sustainability to existing work. I wanted a new opportunity for what I do and who I do it for, plus the chance to develop a better work and home life balance with my family.

“I began working with Abby Guilding, my Director of Operations and the Game Changer for us was understanding how to create a segmented business plan. This led to a clear focus on what type of work to do and with whom.

“We both presented this to our Board of Trustees which they accepted. This then enabled me to bring forward the decision to emigrate to Australia with my family and create my new company, Food Works Australia based in Melbourne. I used the same strategic planning process to create the business plan for this new venture.

“Next, I tackled the thorny issue of succession. The years of working together and strategic work that I had done with Abby gave me the confidence to recommend to the Trustees that she should be my natural successor – she knew the business, the employees, the Trustees, key clients and had boundless energy, enthusiasm and new ideas. There was a clear fit. Abby had something else; the self-confidence to stamp her identity on Wiggly Worm.”

Rob has now settled in Melbourne with his family. His new company undertakes the work he most enjoys doing. Revenue streams are ahead of plan. He has also just been appointed President of Nutrition Australia – the first overseas person to receive this honour.

The social entrepreneur is changing behaviours Down Under satisfied that his successor is leading Wiggly Worm in the new agreed way.

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