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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