My Library and Courses
Last Update: Sunday April 11, 2021

Key Idea: Pass The Business On

Whether it's Ebby Halliday Real Estate or Michael Dell's (pictured here) PCs, billion dollar businesses can emerge from the desire to build a big business as well as the desire to pass something on to others who will grow it without you.

Key Question:


Pass the company to the people who helped you build it. Because Ebby did this, the company will outlive her. She said that the many long-term employees deserved to reap rewards because she could not have built the company without them. This overt, generous gesture places the company on strong psychological footing. While she is healthy enough to pass the business on and praise the leadership, they know that she is confident they will succeed without her.

Most companies die with their founder or they die when the founder decides to quit working. Some would throw these types of companies into a category called "lifestyle companies." In other words, the company was a vehicle for the founder to live a certain kind of life. We disagree.

Most small businesses would-could-and-should have a life separate and apart from the founder. If the founder would first learn to trust, it opens the way so the founder could find people in which to place that trust. And the business, with all its customers, suppliers, and employees, should continue to perfect relations, systems, and their contributions to their community and world. Mary Frances was groomed at Ebby's side for over thirty years plus Mary Frances has worked to refine herself into a smart and sophisticated leader.

When you plan to pass the business on to the next generation of leaders remember:

Don't Just Hand over the Keys. Each successor should be carefully groomed to take over the reins. This is critical to ensuring a smooth transition.

Respect the Heir. No one will make the same decisions that you would have made and choose the same path that you would have chosen. Don't hamstring the legacy by expecting to clone yourself.

Keep Disagreements Private. The keys to the Executive Washroom are best passed over gradually and there will be disagreements during the transitional period. Neither employees nor customers should be aware of even the remotest hint of conflict. Conflict is natural and healthy as the legacy is implemented, but is best kept private to ensure that its significance is not overstated.

Think about it

What keeps you from passing the torch? Do you have someone you are training that can move into your place soon? Are you nervous that if you pass the torch, you won't have anything to do? Do you think your life might feel empty if you don't have to be in the office everyday? If your exit strategy includes an established legacy, do you have a legacy plan and a timeline for its execution? What should you be doing now to prepare for the next stage in your worklife?

Clip from: Ebby Halliday built a business and a legacy.

Dallas: Ebby Halliday is a legend in this city.  She started her business in 1946 with nothing but the love of her family. Classic Americana, this is a rags to riches story. She went from the Great Depression to create a multi-billion dollar business.  She is truly one of today's pioneers and quiet heroes. .Today she has over 1500 independent realtors, hundreds who have become millionaires on her watch.

Ebby  will tell us how she broke through the gender barriers long before there ever was a feminist movement, how she found the person who replaced her at the top and why she gave the company to her employees.

Go to all the key ideas and videos of this episode...
Go to the homepage for this episode..

Ebby Halliday Real Estate

Ebby Halliday, Chairman

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
Real Estate

Year Founded:

Pass The Business On

HATTIE: But, Ebby, this is making me tired. Isn't that a lot of work?

EBBY: Well, it is. That's why I've got so many wrinkles. But it's fun and it's stimulating and it's wonderful.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Many entrepreneurs refuse to deal with the future and won't put a succession plan in place or relinquish power to younger leadership. This is not the case with Ebby. The future is clear. With Mary Frances Burleson, Ebby Halliday Realtors will go on and on and on.

HATTIE: You don't need to do this any more, but you still do it.

EBBY: Of course. Nothing I'd rather do.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) There are others, like Ebby, who are members of the zero-to-a-billion in lifetime club. There's Tom Stemberg of Staples, Michael Dell of Dell, Howards Schulz of Starbucks and Neil Clark Warren of eHarmony. While it took Ebby decades to reach 3 billion in revenues, Neil Clark will probably reach a billion in less than five years as the premiere matching service on the web.

NEIL: And so I do think that idea of just keep working your dream and just keep trying as much as you can and wait for your moment where the line opens up and you see some day light.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Opportunity abounds for the bold who have a product or service that adds value to the lives of its customers. Think bold, think billions.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!