Des Moines Succession Planning


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.




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.



Putting Your Business on Steriods

Some pretty famous people are back in the news for their alleged use of performance enhancing steroids.  That topic came up during a lunch with a client and a couple of her key advisors.  She turned to me and asked “Are there any steroids to enhance business performance?”

We all laughed, and then I said “Yes.  Of course there are.  We have been talking about them all morning; we just haven’t been calling them steroids.  We have been calling them by their generic counterparts:  policies, processes, and procedures.”  

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1257 Hits

The Key to Ending Business and Domestic Turf Wars

Conflict and disagreement are natural human occurrences.  Sometimes they escalate to the level of a “turf war”.  The consequences may not always be fatal in terms of physical life and death, but all too often they lead to the emotional death of a relationship.  Sometimes it’s a domestic fatality, and sometimes it’s a business fatality.  The real tragedy is that neither has to occur.

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1299 Hits

Watch Out for That New Best Practice. It May Not Be Right for You!

Much of the literature and buzz around best practices seems to presume that there is a universal business model or family governance structure that fits everything.  Personally, I haven’t found that to be true; so I generally do not recommend that a client, business, or family run out and adopt the latest and greatest approach to anything.  In fact, the greater the hype, the more likely I am to want to move away from it.  There’s something about a herd mentality that makes me want to wave the caution flag.

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1298 Hits

6 Steps for Developing High Performing Cultures

Most people would never think of beginning a building without a blueprint or some kind of schematic drawing. Succession plans and business cultures, however, are often viewed in a very different light. Many people consider themselves experts in succession success and business cultures, even though their frame of reference is limited to their personal experience with a single organization.

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Business Communication - How to Maximize Outcome and Reduce Conflict

Mismatched expectations supply the fuel that ignites much conflict. What is so amazing is how often the mismatched expectations result from the proverbial “failure to communicate.”   If you have ever seen the movie Cool Hand Luke, you may recall that a failure to communicate can be deadly.

Clients and audience participants often ask what makes communication so difficult.  The answer is people.  Most of us believe that we are exceptional communicators.  My experience in working with groups, businesses, and families is that most of us are not exceptionally good at letting people know what we expect or want them to do.  Depending upon our natural behavioral style, we communicate, or talk to others, in one of four different languages:

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BP's Flawed Decision Making Process and How You Can Avoid It

The Gulf of Mexico is going to take a long time to recover.  While the people responsible may never have intended the consequences, the choices and decisions made during any number of strategy and implementation meetings, all made well before the explosion of the oil rig, have left all of us with a terrible mess.

Most of us are not going to experience the same kind of public scrutiny that BP executives are going through as a result of their failure in the Gulf of Mexico.  However, the impact of a bad decision can be equally devastating, even if to a smaller business, organization, or family.

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Tips for Effective Communication

One of the reasons for going into succession planning is to communicate and present future expectations. Each of us has a very different physical and emotional map of the world. We experience the physical world through our senses – what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. These physical discoveries outline the territory. The emotional world of values and beliefs provides the filter system that help create a map for getting through life on a daily basis

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1106 Hits

How To Define Your Vision - First Comes Confusion, Then Comes Clarity

Last week, we began talking with a client who is just beginning the succession planning process.  His comments were telling:  “We have been talking about this for years; and until now, we’ve managed to avoid dealing with some of these questions.  We did not like pushing ourselves so far out of our comfort zones.  It was uncomfortable; it was disorienting; it was confusing.  Last week, it all began to come together; and now, we wonder why we waited so long.”

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Successors - 7 Tips for Taking Over the Reins

Every organization goes through some form of transition.  At computer giant HP, the hook has been used twice within the past ten years on leaders who seemed ready but somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of their personal victories.  How can you avoid having something like that happen in your own organization?

The answer comes from what might first seem to be an unlikely source.  In 2006, the World Health Organization began using surgical checklists to better manage the risks associated with surgical procedures.  Looking outside their own medical fields, the WHO team borrowed some of the best practices used in the aviation industry.

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1379 Hits

How to Make Sure You Are Effectively Communicating Your Expectations

Are you puzzled when others do not meet your expectations? Earlier this week, some clients were talking about how difficult it is to get some people to meet their performance expectations. Several years ago, I was having a similar conversation with one of my coaches and mentors. After moaning out loud about the poor performance of my group, I muttered out loud “You would think they would know better by now.” He looked at me and asked “Have you actually told them what you want, or have you just hinted at it?”

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How to Use Your Imagination to Improve Business Performance

“I've really got to use my imagination - To think of good reasons - To keep on keepin' on”        .....Gladys Knight and the Pips

Have you ever heard this song?  It’s an early version of an almost worn out contemporary expression – think outside the box.  Generally, when we have performance/behavior issues within the business (or the family), we tend to follow a relatively safe process:

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Move Beyond Your Limits - The Imaginary Power of "What If"

Last Saturday, four of us took in “Letters to Juliet”.  It turned out to be much better than I had expected; and a few of the lines reminded me how powerful two simple words can become when they are placed right next to each other.  As the title suggests, those words are “what” and “if”.

For the moment, clear your mind (and your heart) of everything except those two words.  Use them to begin a string of sentences.  The sentences can range from the ridiculous to the sublime.  Here’s what I mean:

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Incentivizing Performance: It Takes More Than Money to Bring Lasting Change

The common practice in motivating adults in the work force is to create opportunities for them to increase their compensation.  We have followed that practice for untold centuries; and still, some of us are shaking our heads and wondering why “money just doesn’t seem to matter to them.”

Well, money does matter.  And, for some of us, it matters a lot!  Our work suggests that people who are confident risk takers; fast, fluent communicators; results focused; and seek change and innovation are more likely to be positively influenced by variable compensation and incentive systems.  

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1292 Hits

Why Do You Have to Market Business Succession to the Family?

How much cash does your business invest in marketing?  No, not marketing to your customer base.  I mean how much do you spend on marketing to your employees and to your family. If your answer is anywhere from “Where did you buy that tobacco?”  to “Nothing.”, then you need not be surprised if your employees and your family members are somewhat less than engaged in your succession dream.

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1150 Hits

Can You Be Too Optimistic for Your Own Good?

What do you think?  Can you be so optimistic that you are completely out of touch with reality?  Can you believe so strongly in your own dreams and ambitions for yourself, your family, and your business that you just do not “get it”?

Just a few days ago, I discovered that one of Frank Sinatra’s trademark songs from a few decades ago is now a ringtone for cell phones.  Written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, “High Hopes” is all about the need to believe you can overcome great odds against success. 

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1036 Hits

How to Inspire Your Family With Your Succession Planning Goals

A classmate named “Howie” had a signature response to almost every exhortation that was meant to move him from one course of actions to another.  No matter how gifted the speaker or the written communication, Howie could be counted on to raise a simple question:  “And I should care because . . . ?”

We often believe that the power of what we say and/or do has the immediate impact of creating a compelling interest to do, buy, or follow.  When it does not, we generally think that others “just don’t get it.”  That is probably true.  But why do they “not get it”?

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The Difference Between the Best and the Right People and How They Impact Your Business

Jim Collins probably has many claims to fame.  However, he will probably be remembered most for encouraging business owners to get the right people on the bus.  He also said “in the right seat”; but many either skipped over that part of the book, have forgotten that caution, or have just never heard it.

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Want to Change Behavior? Feed the Right Beliefs

Roy H. Williams and I have not yet met.  But I think I know him.  When we do meet, I am pretty sure I am going to like him.   Roy, who is known in the business world as the “Wizard of Ads” has been sending me a Monday Morning Memo since April 13, 2003. Last week, the Monday Morning Memo was all about beliefs, which gave me the inspiration for this series of blogs, which will focus on the impact of beliefs on behavior and the impact of behavior on other people

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Is Your Success Left Up to Chance?

In the movie Lawrence of Arabia, Captain T. E. Lawrence has to shoot someone he had once saved.  One of his Arabian allies slaps him on the back and says “It was written.”  Lawrence promptly responds with “Nothing is written. “  Both men had a strong conviction.  One believed in destiny, the other in choice.

Belief systems powerfully shape your culture, impacting your business strategies:  how products and services are manufactured, designed, marketed, and delivered.  How successfully you implement these strategies will determine business performance.  And, how successfully your business performs may decide whether your enterprise is a golden goose or a dead duck.

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5 Methods of Dealing with Conflict and When They Should be Used

Over the many years of its existence, the human race has developed five primary methods or protocols of dealing with whatever type of cultural, interpersonal, or intrapersonal conflict may occur.  Depending upon the issue, any one of those five can be the best match for the circumstances.

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1248 Hits