Farm4Profit Podcast

From Me to We: Navigating Family Dynamics in Succession

Episode Summary

Andy "Bobcaygeon" Junkin, author of "Stubborn" and founder of Stubborn.Farm, dedicated to helping stubborn farmers thrive. Today, we're diving into the complexities of succession planning, exploring the generational perspectives and practical strategies for success. Join us as we uncover the keys to effective succession, navigating family dynamics and building a legacy that lasts. Let's get started!

Episode Notes


My name is Andy Caygeon Junkin.  Originally from Bobcaygeon Ontario and most of my friends call me Bobcaygeon or Caygeon.  Married American farmgirl and live in Mt. Vernon Iowa.  

Company name is www.Stubborn.Farm  and I just wrote my 7th book "Stubborn".  My nice:  I help stubborn farmers work better together



Avoiding succession planning in a family business can have significant adverse effects on mental health for all involved parties. Here are some potential impacts:

  1. Stress and Anxiety: The uncertainty about the future and the lack of a clear succession plan can lead to heightened stress and anxiety levels among family members. Concerns about the business's continuity and the financial well-being of each member can be overwhelming.
  2. Interpersonal Strain: Without a structured succession plan, family members may experience increased tension and conflicts. Ambiguity about roles, responsibilities, and future leadership can strain relationships, leading to resentment and misunderstandings.
  3. Feelings of Uncertainty: Individuals involved in the family business may feel a sense of insecurity when succession planning is neglected. Not knowing who will take over the business or how it will be managed can create a constant undercurrent of uncertainty.
  4. Impact on Leadership: For the current business leaders, the lack of a clear succession plan may hinder their ability to confidently step back or retire. The pressure to continue leading the business without a defined transition plan can lead to burnout and a decline in mental well-being.
  5. Family Dynamics: Succession planning involves open communication and collaboration. Without it, family members may experience a breakdown in communication, leading to isolation and strained family dynamics. This can affect both personal relationships and business interactions.
  6. Loss of Identity and Purpose: Family businesses often carry a sense of identity and purpose for the individuals involved. The absence of a succession plan may leave family members feeling adrift, questioning their roles and contributions to the business.
  7. Impact on Future Generations: In situations where succession planning is neglected, the next generation may experience frustration and a lack of motivation to engage in the family business. This can result in a loss of legacy and continuity.
  8. Financial Concerns: The financial implications of a poorly planned succession can contribute to mental health challenges. Concerns about the business's financial stability, inheritance issues, and equitable distribution of assets can create significant stress.
  9. Regret and Resentment: Individuals who postpone or avoid succession planning may later regret not taking timely action. This sense of regret can lead to feelings of self-blame and, in some cases, resentment towards other family members.
  10. Health Consequences: Prolonged stress and anxiety associated with the absence of succession planning can have physical health consequences. Chronic stress is linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular problems and weakened immune function.

In conclusion, avoiding succession planning in a family business can have far-reaching implications on mental health, affecting individuals' emotional well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. Addressing succession planning proactively can help mitigate these negative effects and contribute to a healthier family and business environment.










Here are the three common problems that are rarely openly said, but often felt by parents:


1. The parents love their kids, but don’t feel that they can take over full management of the

farm. At this stage Dad feels he can’t walk away from the business without it collapsing.

He feels that once his kids get the reins, they’ll run the farm into the ground.


2. Although he pretends to be humble, the patriarch is arrogant and thinks he’s smarter.

He (or she) doesn’t recognize the contribution of his kids over the past 20+ years to the

growth of the business and feels that any non-relative would have been a better

employee than the successor’s performance. The patriarch (or matriarch) looks at the

farm as his, not ours.


3. Parents fear being pushed off the farm. The different generations have been fighting for

control for years and don’t have a great working relationship. Dad fears that once he

surrenders majority control of the farm’s shares, he won’t be welcome in the shop and

die with his slippers instead of work boots on. Thus, he clinches power to his grave.


In some cases, these beliefs are true, and many times these believes are false. Sometimes it is

somewhere in between. These fears aren’t often stated but believe me…they are subtly there.


The legendary tale of Alexander the Great and the Gordian Knot dates back to ancient times.

According to the story, when Alexander encountered an intricate, seemingly impossible-to-untie

knot in the city of Gordium, he decided to tackle it in an unconventional manner. Faced with the

challenge, he drew his sword and sliced through the knot, rather than attempting to untangle it

as others had failed to do. This bold and decisive action was interpreted as a sign of his destiny

as a great conqueror and ruler. The "cutting of the Gordian Knot" has since become a symbol

for solving complex problems or overcoming challenges through innovative and forceful means,

emphasizing the importance of thinking outside the box and taking bold actions when