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Recipe for Success

Recently I had the privilege of attending a business Hall of Fame induction ceremony in the Midwest for one of my clients and several other business owners and leaders in his community. While each of the inductees had diverse business experiences and backgrounds, they shared several common traits which include: developing and articulating their vision, passion, humility, supportive families, winning attitude, innovative, surrounded themselves with the right people and promoted teamwork. These individuals knew where they wanted to go and were relentless in their pursuit to achieve excellence in their business and also giving back to their community. After hearing each of the individuals speak, it was apparent to me that the common traits listed above could be a recipe for success in your business as well.

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Compensation Plans for Family Member Employees

Most parents contend they love all their children equally, so naturally they want to treat them equally (which I can appreciate as a parent of three boys). However, there is a distinction that should be made regarding an equal estate distribution and equal compensation. Let’s face it, every person is blessed with a unique personality, unique talents and unique skill sets. Furthermore, every individual is motivated by different things. Doesn’t it stand to reason that individuals (including family members) should be compensated based upon what they do rather than who they are? I submit to you they should!

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Family Dynamics and Business Performance - How Closely Are They Related?

In my previous two posts, "How to Find Balance Between Family and Business"  and "How to Achieve Balance Between the Family and the Business," I discussed two of the three steps great and enduring families engage in:

  1. They establish balance between family and business priorities.

  2. They work hard to convey this balance to and through the next generation.

  3. They pursue Succession Success.

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How to Achieve Balance Between the Family and Business

In my last post, "How to Find Balance Between Family and Business," I suggested that there are three things that great and enduring family businesses do:

  1. They are dedicated to creating a balance between family and business priorities.

  2. They proactively encourage and are dedicated to the family’s cohesive, supportive values that promote family and business balance.

  3. They achieve Succession Success.

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How To Find Balance Between Family and Business

“Oh, I’m just so tired of this. I want the business to continue, but I don’t want to be bothered with it anymore.” These words, recently voiced by a client, came out of addressing family dynamics that are impacting business decisions. There are a multitude of reasons to not address family relationship dynamics as they are impacted by the business and, conversely, they impact the business. True family leaders don’t cower in the face of these family challenges because they understand that their greatest asset is their family members. Instead, they boldly engage the family in dialogue and interactions that can at times be emotionally trying and nearly impossible to navigate.

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Treat Me Like Your Business Partner, Not Your Child

My previous blogs, “Business is Tough, But Life is Good” and Business is Tough, What an Opportunity” focused on the need for positive leadership and the opportunity this economy is presenting to provide invaluable experience for your successors. This posting provides a twist on the topic of successor development focusing on the child/business owner dynamic.

“I am tired of being treated like a child! If this is the way it is going to be, I would rather work somewhere else!” These are the words uttered by a frustrated client during a visit a few years ago. These sentiments are undoubtedly shared and echoed by countless family members throughout the United States and around the globe. There is no question, maintaining a healthy balance between business and family is extremely difficult to do. However, it is not insurmountable!

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The 10 Commandments for Integrating Family Member Employees Into Your Business

The Biblical assertion” to whom much is given, much is required” certainly applies to family member employees. Although the doorway to a career may be open and inviting, the pathway of family member employees has many challenges. No doubt, earning respect is a formidable task. As previously discussed, many of these challenges are good as they separate the pretenders from contenders. However, family member employees do not need handicaps. There is no reason to add unnecessary frustration, stress and humiliation to the inherently bumpy road that they must endure to achieve the training and experience needed to become a successor.  

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Do I Need a Succession Plan If I'm Going to Sell the Business?

Some would say “No.” And they might be right. However, I would encourage them to talk with Jay (not his real name) before they make a final decision.

We had been talking with Jay for several months about why a succession plan would be important to him. “My children have no interest in the business,” he told us. And, since he had no brothers, sisters, or other generational family members involved or interested in the business, he could see no practical value in moving ahead with our recommendations regarding succession planning. 

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Vision, Conflict and Business

A clear, concise, well communicated, self-affirming vision is a critical component to the creation of an unstoppable family business succession plan.  However, just establishing a vision in this complicated world is not enough because in the business succession realm, this vision involves teamwork. Unfortunately those whom we endear, those whom we love, those whom we depend upon to continue our businesses and those who depend upon us for their careers can complicate our circumstances and the achievement of a succession vision that on a good day has many moving parts and on a bad day can appear mind boggling. In the midst of complications with family, key managers, lenders and vendors succession can become such a hassle that a business owner may want to isolate himself. Unfortunately this isolation is completely counter productive to the achievement of a vision that requires a team effort. Within the realm of business succession planning, the vast majority of these succession problems are cause by vision conflict. Allow me to explain this frustrating predicament and the remedy.

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Hold your Tongue to Keep the Peace in a Family Business

In route home from an endeavor to bring a family back from critical mass, I have confirmed again that families who choose to take advantage of family synergy in business must give up some freedoms to download emotions to intimate inactive family members. More succinctly, families who work together all day put the greater family harmony at great risk if they go home at night and emotionally download to spouses and children the acrid details of their daily experiences.

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What's the First Step in Succession Planning?

Succession planning can be an overwhelming thought. There is so much to be done. “I don’t even know what I don’t know.” There are so many potential issues. There are so many opinions. There are so many places where things can go wrong.

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