It’s a question I ask of every candidate and of every owner. When it comes to recruiting a successor, there’s only one answer. People Skills.
If you’re looking for a good “individual contributor”, then technical knowledge and skills are important. But since a successor needs to lead and make good decisions, people skills are more valuable. If someone is bright and has industry experience, they can easily learn whatever technical knowledge.
Someone with strong people skills will earn trust and respect. Someone with good people skills will appreciate the strength of a positive culture. Someone with goof people skills will be persuasive and get buy-in for his or her ideas. And someone with good people skills will forge positive relationships with employees, customers, and vendors.