Let’s Take the Family Out of Business – Part 2

Pretending in order to please you Often, children join a company because they feel they owe it to a CEO-parent to carry on the family tradition….despite having little talent, passion, or ability to succeed in the business. The children spend their time attempting to hide this. Meanwhile, other employees go along with the pretense to protect their own jobs. You can imagine the problems that arise from this scenario. Here is an example. Roberto was an artist. All he really wanted to do was paint, be with his young son, and sell his artwork. Unfortunately, he inherited a failing company, which was co-owned by another family. Roberto became the head of marketing and web design, though he had little experience or education in either. His staff – both experienced and talented – did their best to cover for Roberto, fearing their jobs would be at stake if Roberto did not succeed. The staffs’ attempts at covering for Roberto only accomplished one thing: making the whole company look bad. Brochures were sent out with the wrong pricing. Total sales decreased. Employee morale and productivity suffered. The company continued to limp along, barely surviving. This is a situation in which a business directly suffered from everyone’s good intentions. For more information about family business coaching click...

Let’s Take the Family Out of Business – Part 1

The Head of the Pack Family members can lead businesses successfully. Take the case of Ralph and Samantha, a brother and sister team who are successfully running and growing their commercial laundry service. They are second-generation owners who grew up working at the business their parents started. They drove trucks, brought in clean uniforms, and took out used ones. They filled washers and hung pants. They answered phones. They have been cussed at and complimented and, in the process, have mastered both operations and customer service. Both Ralph and Samantha are capable business people who learned their industry from the ground up. They also gained experience outside of their industry and applied their experiences to their family firm. Ralph has an MBA from Harvard and worked as a financial analyst. Samantha has a Masters in education and taught special education in the public school system. Their ability to lead and develop their family business is obvious. If they were not top executives and owners of their company, they would be CEO’s and executives of someone else’s company. For more information about Family Business Coaching click...

Context is Decisive

  I was on a trip, surrounded by water. I slept in a room that was one sixth the size of my room at the Hampton. There was not even room for storage so my suitcase and I shared my bed. From our sleeping quarters, we had to go up ladders and then down ladders and that just got us to the dining room for meals! I also had to share a very, very small bathroom shower with no sink with seven other people. For all of this we paid several hundred dollars a day – sounds horrible – right?  Well horribleness depends on the context because context is critical. Context is the background conversation which surrounds circumstances and gives the circumstances meaning. What was the context here? I took a cruise in the Caribbean with my 87 year old dad. We did something that he loves, sailing. I had the best time ever; it was a great experience. My dad and I went on an adventure together – and given his age – that was so very precious.  What is the context of your day’s activities? Are you surviving and going through the day or are you up to something? What is the meaning of your work activities? The down side of being a human is that we create meaning automatically, without any conscious thought, just through reaction. However, the magic of being human is that we CAN create meaning consciously for the activities in our lives. Our activities can have meanings that light us up and excite us. We do not have to settle for our automatic...

Seven Rules of Strategic Guessing Part 8

Rule Number Seven Rule number siete is by far the coolest. This reglo says: It is critical that the team shows discipline and does the work. Remember the saying, “garbage in, garbage out”? It is important that the leadership team does complete work. In this endeavor, it is better to do less with better quality than to do a lot with mediocrity. Some companies have a heck of a time getting out of the firefighting mode. Others never do get out of that stage. Sometimes members of the leadership team are addicted to firefighting. They are addicted to the way things are and not to dreaming up ways the company could improve. To participate in a good breakthrough planning/guessing process, the planning team must commit time to this endeavor. Real thinking and dialogue must exist. Once you have created the plan, you need to make sure it is acted upon. Monthly meetings of one to three hours and spending time on objectives and action plans will ensure focus. Then, once a quarter, the planning team should meet offsite, preferably with a coaching resource like yours truly. (Bonus points if the coach is bald-headed…it makes the coach smarter and buffer—really!) At the session, the group will look at what happened in the quarter and then focus on what needs to happen in the next quarter. This will keep everyone aligned on what needs to take place to push the company forward. Well, there you have it – seven rules that will support you in establishing a successful planning process. Put another way, it is the plan to producing and implementing...