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How to Avoid Your Family Business From Becoming a Sinking Ship

How to Avoid Your Family Business From Becoming a Sinking Ship

Last night was a great night for watching movies about righting sinking ships.  First, I saw a few minutes of Pirates of the Caribbean.  I tuned in just as Captain Jack Sparrow and the rest of the crew were running back and forth from starboard to port in an effort to right the ship and return to the land of the living. 

Then came the Titanic, the ship that couldn’t be sunk.  Unless, of course, it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic.  As the band played, passengers on that ship also got caught up in running back and forth.  For most of them, the outcome was tragic.

Sometimes, we see similar things happen with families, especially when one or both parents try to run the family like it’s an extension of the business or run the business like it’s an extension of the family.  In either scenario, there’s lots of running around and rearranging of the deck chairs; and it’s almost always damaging and sometimes fatal to relationships.

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How A Missing Toothbrush Can Cost $37,500 - Keys to Avoid This Mistake

How A Missing Toothbrush Can Cost $37,500 - Keys to Avoid This Mistake

Meeting expectations is the key to satisfying friends, family, colleagues, and employees.  Whether we talk about a company or an individual, experience teaches us that there is often a gap between what is promised and what is delivered and the difference can be expensive.

For example, a friend who travels a great deal forgot to pack a toothbrush.  She was pleased to see one of those “Forgot Something?” stickers on the mirror in her room.  The promise was that the hotel had your back if you had forgotten something simple like a toothbrush or toothpaste.  When she went back to the lobby, she stopped by the desk, explained her situation, and asked for a toothbrush. 

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Want Respect? Look at Character and Competence

Want Respect? Look at Character and Competence

We all have multiple roles; and there is a brand that accompanies each of those. We have a brand as a parent, a business owner, a spouse, a trusted advisor, a leader. While the responsibilities are certainly different, there is a common element in how well received each of those “brands” are in their respective marketplace.

That element is Trust. And that trust comes from consistent and predictable behavior on our part. It’s broken more easily than it’s built, but here are some ideas that you can put into practice that will help you in the construction process.

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How to Build Value in Three Forms of Capital Assets

How to Build Value in Three Forms of Capital Assets

I like to use the words capital and resources interchangeably.  So, from my perspective, there are three kinds of capital and/or resources available to us all the time.  Those three kinds of capital or resources are basically:  People; Time; and Money.

Let’s put people first, so we will begin with building the value of human capital.  There are probably several varieties available, but the more recognizable forms include Leadership Capital, Family Capital, and Culture Capital.

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Beating the Odds: Four Building Blocks to Create Change

Beating the Odds: Four Building Blocks to Create Change

recent survey of 3,199 business owners and executives indicates that only about 30 percent of programs addressing “change” succeed.  Where 30 percent sounds low, that is considerably higher than the success rate of programs addressing generational changes of business ownership or succession.  If both programs involve managing new behaviors, why is the success rate for one so much higher than the other?

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3 Keys to Inspire Change

3 Keys to Inspire Change

There are four building blocks that serve as cornerstones for successful change and, by extension, successful business and family transitions.  These four are:  Inspiration; Stake in the Game; Tools; and, Feedback.

A truly rational person, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, relies on common sense to convince others to move in a certain direction.  This approach, with all its logical merits, often results in misdirected resources of people, time, money, and unintended consequences for one simple reason.

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How and When to Turn Over or Sell the Reins

How and When to Turn Over or Sell the Reins

Today, let’s talk about how you set the stage for a graceful and timely exit.  Depending upon your disposition of the business – sale, family transfer, outside management - some of the steps listed below may take anywhere from a few years to a couple of decades to implement effectively.  So, the sooner you begin this process, the sooner you will be able to begin climbing other mountains. 

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Are You Falling Victim to the "Can't Leave" Syndrome?

Are You Falling Victim to the "Can't Leave" Syndrome?

In August of 1972, the celebrated childrens’ author Dr. Seuss addressed the issue of succession planning.  His chief character in the book, “Marvin K. Mooney – Will You Please Go Now!” just couldn’t bring himself to get out of the way and let someone else take center stage.  Almost two years later, in July of 1974, Dr. Seuss changed his main character’s name to Richard M. Nixon and sent his revised book to columnist Art Buchwald.  Buchwald received permission to publish the revised lyrics; and nine days later, on August 8, Richard M. Nixon went.

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Goals: Turn Them Into Reality

Goals: Turn Them Into Reality

We probably all know a lot of people and businesses with bold, audacious goals.  Some of them get accomplished.  Some of them don’t.  What happens to those that don’t?

After years of working with individuals, families, and various types of business organizations, I have come to the conclusion that people who realize their goals have a plan for doing so.  They are not content to be “dreamers”; they focus instead on being “doers”.

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I Have No Qualified Family in the Business - What Are My Succession Options?

I Have No Qualified Family in the Business - What Are My Succession Options?

In previous posts we touched lightly on the staggering statistics that show nearly 75% of all family businesses will have difficulty with perpetuating business success. Continuing business success into another generation is often dependent upon a variety of key managers, especially if you do not have family in the business or your family is unqualified for ownership. In effect, they become the “Succession Bridge” because a committed group of competent, capable, and committed managers can keep the company moving forward.

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What Happens When There Are Multiple Successors and the Eldest is not the Best Qualified?

What Happens When There Are Multiple Successors and the Eldest is not the Best Qualified?

In many, if not most, family owned businesses, there seems to be at least one member of the next generation who wants to take a crack at being Number One.  What happens when there are multiple successors and the eldest is not the best qualified? 

The wrong choice can, and probably will, have devastating consequences on future family harmony and business success.   Picking a successor simply because (s)he is the eldest or rejecting someone based on gender can be fatal.  Unfortunately, we still see far too many businesses being lead by incompetent sons when highly competent daughters were stereotyped into inferior roles. 

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Business and Family Success - Can You Have Both?

Business and Family Success - Can You Have Both?

One of the mantras around our offices concerns the health of interpersonal relationships in a family owned business.  It’s quite simple, and I really like it.  Are you ready?  Here it is:  No business success is worth a family failure.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that everyone’s family, my own included, experiences some level of dysfunction.  It can be anywhere from somewhat comical to outright tragic.  Imagine reaching a high level of business and financial success only to learn that your spouse wants a divorce and your children don’t want to be around you. 

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Are You Caught In The Right "Wonderloop" for Driving Business Growth for Your Business?

Are You Caught In The Right "Wonderloop" for Driving Business Growth for Your Business?

More than a few years ago, several of us would record music segments and splice them together to create what we called a “wonderloop.” Sometimes the only wonder was why we did it in the first place.

After getting involved in the business world, I discovered that the wonderloop concept was transferable. In business, it wasn’t music or sounds that I wanted playing over and over. It was product or service performance.

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4 Steps for Improving Decision Making and Business Performance

4 Steps for Improving Decision Making and Business Performance

Recently, a CEO friend was ranting about the poor judgment shown by her senior management team. “What I need around here,” she said, “are some good problem solvers and decision makers.” She used several more minutes to vent; and then she asked for my thoughts.

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Business Growth - How to Leverage What You Already Have

Business Growth - How to Leverage What You Already Have

The seeds for The New Marketing Method were first sown by a Frenchman known as Voltaire in 1759. Voltaire ended a short novel called Candide with these words: “… we must go and work our garden.” Think of that garden as your current customer/client base.

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How to Be a Better Leader Using Both Your Positional and Personal Power

How to Be a Better Leader Using Both Your Positional and Personal Power

Today, let’s talk about how you brand your use of power and influence within your business and/or within your family.

To begin, you should know that, for many years, I have maintained that the use of power and influence is at least the skeletal definition of leadership. Many have suggested that somehow the “intention” or the “outcome” also has to be considered; but, personally, I believe that gives leadership a moral connotation that is more properly the responsibility of the individual using leadership rather than leadership itself. I guess that’s another way of saying that some people give leadership a bad name.

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5 Keys for Business Growth In Tough Economic Times

5 Keys for Business Growth In Tough Economic Times

The question is, however, what does destiny look like? As I write this, I expect that the Dow will open below 7,000 for the first time in more than a decade. The S&P and the NASDAQ have also cratered but not yet bottomed. If I were “Chicken Little,” I would be saying that the sky is falling.

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What if the Manager Who Doesn't Get It Is One Of My Children??

What if the Manager Who Doesn't Get It Is One Of My Children??

Previously, we talked about the tendency to promote people into management positions because they are excellent performers who need advancement. Sometimes, that results in losing a high performer and not gaining a good manager/leader; so we gave you a list of ten questions to review prior to promoting someone – family member or not, into a more responsible position.

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What Do I Do With Managers Who Don't "Get It"

What Do I Do With Managers Who Don't "Get It"

Financial advisors tell us pretty quickly that the past performance of a stellar stock or fund is no guarantee of its future performance. Nevertheless, realizing that someone is in over his/her head can be a real shock to the person who put them in a position of greater responsibility.

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10 Questions To Evaluate If Managers Have What It Takes!

10 Questions To Evaluate If Managers Have What It Takes!

“He/She was so good before I moved them. I don’t know what happened.” That is said so often, it is almost unbelievable. The problem isn’t “them.” The problem is that you promoted excellent performers with a specific set of skills into a position that does not require what they are good at doing.

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