Let’s Take the Family Out of Business – Part 6

Rules for Relatives Business Leaders and Executives will slow and potentially destroy the growth and development of their companies if they have lower standards or different rules for family members than they have for their other employees. If you have family members in your business, and you truly love and support them, do the following: 1. Set the highest possible standards for family member behavior. Make sure they know their responsibility is to exemplify the company values beyond what any other employee does. Make it clear to family members that because they are family, more will be expected from them. For family members to remain at the company, they will be expected to work harder and longer hours. 2. Only place family members in roles where it is obvious they have the essential abilities and talent to excel and bring real results to the company. 3. Actively encourage family members not to work at the company; if they decide to do so, reinforce that it is a choice they are making. 4. If you have any unresolved issues with your siblings, cousins, children, spouse, etc., and you hope to figure them out by working together, forget about it. Go see a therapist and leave the business completely out of the equation. Taking the “family” out of “family business” is a rich topic. Not managing family relationships in a business can have disastrous results, not just for the business but also—especially—for the family. In my view, the destruction of family relationships is tragic. Use the principles within this article to stay within the light to promote family and business harmony...

Let’s Take the Family Out of Business – Part 5

Why You may not be the best choice… Often the best move for family business owners is to replace themselves as President. They need to bring in someone else with more leadership skills, ability, and talent who can build and develop their biggest, most important asset:  the company. Family membership is not a necessary qualification. Johnny is a case in point. For years, he complained of the burden of running the $250 million company that he had grown from scratch with his dad. He did not like having to teach and support everybody. Finally, he made Laura—his Operations VP and a very talented woman who was not a family member—the President. She proceeded to work with the company’s great leadership group and grow the organization despite a poor economy. The company achieved all their financial targets and opened a new plant. Johnny is still Chairman of the Board and is semi-retired. “I exercise and do a lot of fishing,” he recently told me. “I like the Green River, but sometimes I go fishing in Colorado.” I spent several days with him on a trip overseas and had never seen him so relaxed and emotionally available; all because he recognized he was not the right person for the job and replaced himself in the role. For more information about family business coaching click...

Let’s Take the Family out of Business – Part 4

Choosing your work Whenever possible, parents owe their children food, shelter, love, medical care, education, guidance, and coaching to become independent adults. However, they do not owe their children a job. Families and businesses have distinct and very different dynamics. When these different systems compete with each other, prepare for catastrophe. Ernest, the Chairman of the Board for a Manufacturing company, died. He left a series of directives in his will dictating how the company should be run: one son would be CEO and one daughter would be Senior Vice President of Manufacturing. However the directives were not fulfilled. Instead, elderly Mom, who historically had little to do with the business, was now the majority owner and the one in charge. Mom as business owner turned into a disaster. She made wrong business decisions in a changing environment and put the company at financial risk. Meanwhile, the son and daughter did not get control or ownership of the company they have spent their lives building. Turning this company around would be a lot easier if it were not so encumbered with family issues. The point is that the leadership in your company should be based on talent and ability. If it turns out that family members actually qualify, consider it a dividend and karmic reward. For more information about family business coaching click...

Let’s Take the Family Out of Business – Part 3

My mother the Boss In another situation, the CEO and her daughter, Sally, both lived and worked together. Sally was making $40,000 a year and complaining about not making enough. The CEO — or simply “Mom” — was trying to find something for the 25-year-old marketing major to do. The CEO admitted that if her daughter were just an employee and not a family member she would let her move on. “She should look for another job,” the CEO told me. “If I change her from hourly to salary, she would not work forty hours. What do I do with this kid?” The CEO was in pain because she was operating from a “mothering” state and applying it to business. Mothers do not fire their youngest daughters. It can’t be done  — though it is, however, acceptable for moms to complain about their daughters’ behavior Looking at situations like this as a parent is difficult. The little darling, also known as “your baby,” is born with limitations and gifts. You have the rest of your lifetime to deal with those, and deal you must; connected by birth, blood, and genetics – you are family. As a parent, your only choice is dealing with the child you have. But if this woman put on her “CEO hat” and looked at the situation from that point of view, a pathway would open up. As CEO, the decision about who belongs in the company is of primary concern. In Good to Great, Jim Collins says it’s all about the right person being on the right seat of the bus. In other words,...