Jan 09 2012


Think “Shrink”!


Are you a basket case business owner?



Let’s face it, fellow entrepreneurs, everyone is dysfunctional. The experts (whoever they are) proclaim to the universe of both trained and self-designated shrinks out there that everyone comes from a dysfunctional family. Well? Has it ever occurred to you that if each of us has a dysfunctional family, then each of us must also be… hmm?

Okay, so the sanity playing field is now level. So, going forward, let’s just accept that every entrepreneur (us included) is at least in part a psychological mess. Could it be the reason we tend to be so compulsive about so many things? Could it be the reason we tend to be over-stressed and over-react?

Maybe it’s why we jump so abruptly from one thing to another (vs. corporate guys who take the opposite extreme approach of belaboring and analyzing every issue to death, proving their mettle by seeing it all the way through to completion).

Success though is very much about balance, about keeping the highs and lows and the jumping around and the analysis paralysis on an even keel. Moderation is the king of balance. If, for example. we respond instead of react to words, actions, people, ideas , and situations, then there is no possibility of ever OVER-reacting.

Well, that makes sense, but isn’ it easier said than done? How do we get ourselves to respond instead of react when our fuses get ignited? Maybe get a longer fuse. Maybe keep your fuse away from ignition switches and spontaneous combustion dynamics . . .  kind of like not putting yourself intentionally in harm’s way.

It’s a choice. Let’s try that once more with feeling:

IT’S A CHOICE! Choose how-to steps like these:


First aid techniques include cold water on your face (perhaps a cold shower, depending on circumstances), washing your hands, taking a couple of quick deep breaths, briskly rubbing your temples or the back of your neck, taking a walk around the block, or saying a prayer of thanks for what you have in your life today.

In police crisis intervention training, the number one objective of any “domestic call” (usually a family dispute, and the source of more police injuries and fatalities than any other type of call, including robberies and high speed chases!) is to physically separate the warring parties into different rooms or spaces.

A business derivative of this is to physically separate yourself from a conflict situation long enough to gain or re-gain composure. There is no purpose to be served by “toughing it out”. . . save that notion for your next movie script, or sports field heroics. Reacting and over-reacting have no place in business. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

SHRINK YOURSELF OUT! Get in front of that mirror. Make an angry face and decide how that looks. Next, take a deep breath and briskly rub your cheeks and forehead for 5-10 seconds. Now smile your best, most genuine smile. How does that look and feel? How hard was to switch gears? You can do that whenever you want. Choice.


# # #

Hal@Businessworks.US  931.854,0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

2 responses so far

Apr 12 2010

Keeping “Family” Out Of The Family Business!

When you add


a splash of red


to a sea of blue,


people stop


noticing the blue…


     My wife Kathy (God Bless Her!) has been my business partner for 23 years. It takes an extraordinarily special relationship to survive and thrive in the same workspace AND the same homespace. 

     Oh, but don’t thinkI have a limited perspective on this. I’ve worked with every kind of FAMILY business imaginable … from restaurants, HVAC, farms, clothing, sewage, chiropractic services, heart surgery, landscaping, mattresses, trucking, dentistry, lumber, accounting, candy and travel, to manufacturing of computer and rocket-ship parts that fit under your fingernail. And that’s just my tip- of-the-iceberg list.

     Yeah, you might say, but just doing their brochures and websites doesn’t put you in the thick of things. How do you know what it’s really like? As a management consultant, trainer, coach, and counselor, believe me I’ve seen it all. I’ve managed succession planning, rookie coaching, crisis intervention, family foundations, partnership formations, partnership separations, and one fist fight.  

     The biggest problem with family business is family. Family relation-ships are a hotbed of emotions. Consider the statistics that claim every one comes from a dysfunctional family, which means there are an awful lot of weirdos out there. When the dysfunctional types become part of the family business, people see the business as dysfunctional. When you add a splash of red to a sea of blue, people stop noticing the blue.

Only a handful of really smart family business leaders have the good sense to realize a proven professional can help grow the business AND save the family.”

     When high emotions reign in a family business, you can be sure the business will not be a recommended long-term investment. Business ventures can be immensely emotional and supercharged, but keeping control of all that energy requires great leadership finesse, objectivity, and balance.

     Imagine a ship in a stormy sea, with an angry, blood-vessel-on-the-cusp-of-bursting, near-incoherent, screaming captain at the controls. You’d want to be figuring out the quickest route to the lifeboats. Some family businesses keep these stormy sea antics below deck, but they still take their toll.

You’d want to be figuring out the

quickest route to the lifeboats.”

     Here’s the good news: None of it is necessary. Here’s the bad news: Only a handful of family business leaders have the good sense to realize a proven professional can help grow the business AND save the family. The basic principles of anger management, stress management, time management, communication skills (especially effective listening), goal-setting, and leadership transparency are the ingredients of family business transformation and success. Someone who knows how and when to use these tools can help you get the red splash out of your sea of blue, and steady the controls.  

     The more generations involved, the greater the need. The more family members involved, the greater the need. The solution direction is simple. It takes a commitment to want to succeed, a willingness to share “dirty laundry” with an “outsider” (and a sense of partnership and perseverance with that outsider) to combine forces to make a difference.

     Family business growth and development is directly tied to the 4 R’s: Receptivity, Responsiveness, Responsibility and Respect. If those are present, an experienced coach can help them all work for the good of the business, and the good of the family.  


Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! 

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