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Des Moines Succession Planning

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Des Moines, Iowa

       921 W. 18th Street S.
       Newton, IA 50208
       641.791.9060 (T)
       407.578.4480 (F)

       Complete Company Directory        

 

 

  Dowtown Des Moines, by Mark Hesseltine


Dan Schneider, M.A.

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Dan Schneider specializes in working with families and organizations to design, build, and implement emotional and logical relationship systems and processes that increase human and financial capital and stakeholder value.

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Developing High Performance Culture - Forget About Accountbility, Build Commitment

“We desperately need a culture of accountability around here!    How can I make people more accountable around here (including, in some cases, my children, my parents, my spouse, my siblings)?” 

Well, you can use your power and emotionally or financially abuse people; but that may be what’s gotten you into a commitment bind in the first place.  If you rely mostly on organizational power and position to drive results, you will generally wind up with malicious compliance. 

Why?  When most people think about accountability, they usually picture heads rolling, feet held to the fire, nose to the grindstone, or any other metaphor that refers to people being punished or hurt in some way for not having performed at a high enough level (which is usually either ill-defined or undefined and, on occasion, unrealistic). 

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Having A Hard Time Creating Buy-In? You May Be Confusing the Business with the Legacy

Not too long ago, a client asked how he could get his family members more excited about the family business.  "What would you do?” he asked.  "Well, what are you trying to sell them: The business or the legacy?"  I asked.  He paused and then replied, "I don't know the difference." 

Does that sound familiar to you?  If you're the family leader, can you distinguish between the business and the legacy?  While they may be one and the same to you, other family members may not make the same connection.

The farther away potential successors get from your motivation and perspectives, the more likely they are to have different understandings of what the legacy really is.  As an example, one of my clients has done quite well for two generations by pretty much ignoring the "green" movement.  Now comes the tail end of the third generation, and guess what repulses them about the business? 

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How to Focus On Outcomes and Get People In the Game

Some people are more effective than others when it comes to succession planning.  A few people are good at it because they have multiple generations of experience supporting them; others are good at it because they have the right team of trusted advisors looking after their interests.  In both cases, they have a proven model they can depend upon.

As you participate in your own succession journey, with or without benefit of such experience, there are a few factors that will be important to drawing people into a developing legacy.  When applied deftly, they make the compelling difference between ambivalence and commitment.  Consider these points.

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Business and Family Communication - How to Disagree, Agreeably

Disagreeing agreeably with others is an art form.  For some of us, it’s intuitive and comes quite naturally.  For others, it’s a learned behavior driven by unpleasant experiences at home with family or at work with business associates.  And, then there’s that group that just never seems to learn how to disagree without proving themselves disagreeable.  They just get nasty and treat every conversation as an interrogation.

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Succession Planning and the "Right Time" Myth

"I probably should do something about succession planning, but the timing just doesn't seem to be right.  There's a wedding coming up, we've got another grandchild on the way, and none of our children seem to want to have anything to do with the business.  Maybe I should just sell it."

That's a distilled version of a conversation I recently overheard in an airport.  I was minding my own business, and I heard those magic few words that immediately drew me in:  succession planning.  What really struck me was how creative and rationalizing we can be when faced with actions we don't really want to take. 

In reality, the best time for succession planning is similar to the best time for planting an oak tree, twenty years ago.  But, for whatever reasons, it didn't.  So that takes us to the second best time:  today.

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Family Business Issues: How Do I Play with My Predecessor's Team?

At some point in time, the ownership and leadership batons are going to be passed to the next generation.  When that happens, there's going to be some level of trauma for everyone involved, including the new owner/leader.  When the company becomes "yours", it comes with a team of leaders and advisors that you may or may not like and whom you may or may not trust.  If you are the successor, how do you make the best of this situation?

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Debate vs Brainstorming - Which One Actually Generates the Results You Want

Some people like to think out loud.  In fact, they must talk in order to think.  They love brainstorming; it’s how they create their map of reality.  The problem is that they think everyone else has to engage in the same technique in order to have an abundance of good ideas.  As a result, they subject whatever group they happen to be playing with – family, business, community – to the same process of “out loud” and “out of the box” thinking.

These brainstorming fanatics have even gone so far as to set up rules on how this unbridled creativity is to take place.  The most important rule requires that no one say anything negative or critical of another’s ideas.  In many cases, groups – family, business, community – leave a room pleased that the walls are covered with contributions.  This ideal, feel good boost to productivity or problem resolution seems to be the ultimate in creativity.

There’s only one problem...

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Want to Get Management More Involved In Developing Ideas? Try the Incubator Approach

When it comes to creativity, most of us have won the genetic lottery.  Trouble is, most of us get trapped in a “good enough” comfort zone, even when “good enough” isn’t.  It’s not that we don’t have the tools to grapple with business, family, and succession problems and challenges; it’s that we have chosen to use someone else’s best practices.  That can be a fatal flaw when it comes to succession planning.

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The Successor Coaching Cycle - Key Steps for Developing Your Successor

There are as many coaches running around today as you can imagine. There are performance coaches, life coaches, business coaches, parenting coaches, relationship coaches, and on and on. Some of them are qualified to do what they do, some will be in the future, and some will be doing something else in the future. 

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8 Must Haves In an Executive Coach

Performance coaching produces results that many organizations find wanting in the traditional performance management and appraisal culture.  The major difference is that coaching occurs in real time; and performance appraisal is retrospective and occurs – usually – well after the fact.  The practical impact is that coaching is appreciated and performance appraisal is resented.

Theoretically, every manager/leader should also be a coach to direct reports.  Maybe, someday, that will happen.  Imagine the impact on the organization from a personal and professional development standpoint if managers understood how to be an effective coach.

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Effective Leadership - What You Don't Know, Could Kill You

To borrow from Thomas Jefferson, each of us holds many truths to be self-evident.  Most of those go beyond the scope of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  He and his colleagues built a republic around that relatively simple concept.  Every two years, we subject ourselves to an election process that, as many elected officials like to point out, has consequences about future choices and decisions regarding our collective welfare on local, state, and national levels.

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Management and Performance - That "Oh So Enticing" Spirit of Healthy Internal Competition

On more than one occasion, a client has openly crowed about the “healthy competition” that goes on within the company.  You can hear their jaws drop when I respond “Gee, that’s too bad.”  You see, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen healthy internal competition; so, from my perspective, that concept is just as much an oxymoron as “family business”.  Perhaps Walt Kelly, who wrote the famous and well read comic strip “Pogo”, summed it up best in an often quoted frame:  “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Many successful business owners and leaders are competitive spirits, confident risk takers, creative and innovative people who believe that employee engagement in the business – family or otherwise – and personal respect are rewards that must be won.  As a result, they set up incentives, rewards, promotions and other forms of personal and professional advancement so that there can only be a few winners – possibly as few as one – and multiple losers.  All of this effort is made to honor the rationalized belief that “Healthy competition is good for us.”

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Management Synergy - How to Design Team Collaboration

Teams are a puzzle to me.  Individuals with unequal talent, different experiences and education, and sharing only a commitment to a common goal come together in ways that pull them together or push them apart.  The elements that make them succeed or fail have certain characteristics that repeat over time; and even replicating those that are successful is no guarantee of success the second time around.

There are, however, certain characteristics and patterns that consistently lead to successful outcomes and results. 

Here are some of the pieces that I consider most important in designing team collaboration.

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Not Every Collaborative Team Decision Has to Be Built on Consensus

One of the great myths of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is that collaboration stems from consensus. 

The common approach to collaboration suggests that engagement is not possible unless people have an opportunity to participate in the decision making.  My experience as a Certified Succession Planner® leads me to believe something somewhat different. The behavioral assessments we use in helping select the right people for groups such as operational teams, family councils, and various types of boards suggest a great many people want to be involved in the decision making process without necessarily having the responsibility for actually making the decision.

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Harmony, You Know It Don’t Come Easy

My apologies to Ringo Starr.  In case you’ve never heard of him, he played drums for the Beatles during the 1960’s until that family business came undone.  Wait a minute, you say, the Beatles were not family members.  Well, perhaps not by the traditional definition of family; but remember, we define a family business as two or more people together for purposes other than making money.  Whether you’re family, friends, or strictly business partners, personal and professional partnerships are a lot of work; and they require the eternal vigilance of the night watchman.

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The Incentive Trap, Are You Caught In It?

Here’s something that may challenge your current thinking about incentives: Not all incentive programs motivate people towards better and higher levels of performance.  In fact, a good many of these programs have just the opposite effect. They can also serve as a source of motivation for the wrong people or a source of entitlement.

Basically, there are three types of motivation:  Fear (self-imposed or direct threats); Extrinsic (outside programs such as bonuses, special perks, etc.); and Intrinsic (internal drive for accomplishment).  While fear and extrinsic motivation may have some immediate impact on performance levels their impact is generally short-lived.

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Employee Motivation - How to Power Your Organization from the Inside Out

If your overall compensation package is at least competitive and provides a reasonably comfortable life style for your employees and family members, then it is going to take more than additional money to bring out the creative and productive energy that your staff carries around with them.  It’s going to take INTRINSIC motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is the compelling desire to do and be better because we want the satisfaction that comes from doing something simply because we love to do it.  In his book, Drive, Daniel Pink tells us that there is a “mismatch between what science knows and what business does.”

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When Is the Best Time To Give Someone Feedback?

Life seems to be full of “Goldilocks” moments.  You know, the time when whatever is going down is just right.  So, when it comes to giving family members, employees or partners the benefit of your counsel, when does that magic feedback moment actually occur?

Before we talk about the timing, however, let’s mention one or two things about the nature of the feedback.  If it is constructive criticism it may actually have more weight than positive reinforcement.  While positive comments may be good for morale, they do not appear to have much influence on actual performance.  It seems that we pay more attention to criticism than we do to “wonderful, wonderful.

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Should I Hire People I Do Not Like?

Of course not.  No. Never.   Roy Reiman, publisher and philanthropist, writes and speaks about the virtues of hiring people you like and the positive impact that has on building or sustaining an accepting culture. Hiring people you do not like almost certainly leads to problems down the road, and those can be expensive in terms of energy, time and money.

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To Sell or Not to Sell? Removing the Confusion from the Question

I know someone whose business has been for sale many times over the length of our relationship.  In fact, he could actually have sold it on at least six occasions that I know about; and each would have given him a “never have to work again” lifestyle.  But, for reasons best known only to my friend Sam, he routinely leaves a willing buyer scratching his head in bewilderment.

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