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As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Selling Your Business Because You Want To Not Because You Have To

As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Selling Your Business Because You Want To Not Because You Have To

As your business vision develops over time, evaluating the option to transfer the dealership(s) to family, key management, or to sell to a third party can be an emotionally draining process. As a successful dealer, passion drove you to make sacrifices and take risks to develop a strong automotive enterprise. Seeing the seeds of your labor that you planted early in your career grow and develop over time fuels your drive for the business.

Read the complete article on the Automotive Buy Sell Report Magazine website

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As Seen in Digital Dealer Magazine - Not Everyone is Built to Lead and Sometimes Leaders Are Overlooked

As Seen in Digital Dealer Magazine - Not Everyone is Built to Lead and Sometimes Leaders Are Overlooked

How often have we seen ineffective leaders in senior level positions? Likewise, how often have we seen a manager that demonstrates exemplary leadership skills? A question many of us probably don’t ask ourselves enough is: what is the difference between management and leadership? Without careful consideration, many of us would probably naturally question if there really is a difference.

Read the complete article on the Dealer Magazine website

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Successor Development and Talent Management: What Makes It So Hard?

Companies like to say that people are their greatest asset.  If that’s really true, why are so many organizations unprepared for facing the challenges associated with recruiting, selecting, and retaining the right people in the right seats?  

According to one COO I interviewed recently, “Talent management puts you under strain because it stops you from doing what you are rewarded for.”  This COO’s sentiment, one that I find many executives agree with, is one of the major obstacles to developing talent, family or otherwise: people simply don’t believe that’s what they’re paid to do.

Whether your business is privately held or publicly held, talent management and successor development in your organization probably share a common financial thread.  In both cases, development is expensed rather than capitalized.  Now you might be asking, “What difference does that make?”  Keep reading.

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Leadership Succession - Whom Do I Develop?

Not too long ago, I spoke to a fairly large gathering of people involved in Human Resources, Organizational Development, and Talent Management.  Some worked for privately held businesses, some worked for the publicly held sector, and some worked for the government sector.  Regardless of their affiliation, all had questions about what groups of people get the benefit of development dollars.

When this topic inevitably came up, I shared a story that goes back more than fifteen years.  My client and I were finishing the definition of the scope of the development project under negotiation.  Tom made it clear that he wanted family members involved, and then he added, “I don’t have to do everyone do I?”  To that I replied, “Of course not, Tom.  You just tell me whom you want to leave ineffective and non-productive; and we’ll skip right over them.”  Tom decided to include everyone.  

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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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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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8 Seconds After the Boss Is Gone, I'm Gone - Keys for Building Respect Between Your Successor and Key Managers

Over the course of the last decade in working with family-owned companies, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard horror stories of family successors driving their family’s business into the ground. Often times, it is our clients’ fear of this happening in their own businesses that motivates them to hire us in the hopes that we can help prevent this tragedy. In spite of situations that I  have been involved in where, after some time, I begin to share the business owner’s concerns, I maintain hope that I can be helpful in creating solutions to avoid this disastrous downfall.

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Driving Results - How Awareness Impacts Change

Lots of “best practice” programs promise to improve corporate performance and family harmony in seven (choose your own number) or fewer steps.  Some work for a period of time, and then the effects fade into the sunset.  They fail most often because they don’t increase the awareness level of those involved; and, neglect any new heartfelt emotion or head-smart reason to persevere with new behaviors and attitudes, the momentum to change for the better gives way to the inertia of getting back where we belong.

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Featured

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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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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How to tie Key Manager Golden Handcuffs to Performance

A critical component of the Succession Matrix® is Key Managers Motivation and Retention. The classic response to this issue is development of a golden handcuff that uses “gold” in the form of deferred compensation to provide a “handcuff” through deferred vesting and covenants regarding competition and confidentiality. Noting that there are three generic classes of key managers (Key Manager, Special Key Managers and Very Special Key Managers), the structure of the golden handcuffs is dependent upon the unique psyche of each class of key manager.  For more background on how the attitudes and motivations of each class of key managers impact the design of a golden handcuff, consult my book dedicated specifically to this subject titled “The Succession Bridge”.

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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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What You Should Know About Your Management Development Program

The ultimate success of both large and small companies is determined by how well they recruit and develop managers to train, guide, motivate and hold accountable the employees who are on the front lines with customers. I would not deny that some stellar employees just naturally evolve into good managers. However the vast majority of highly effective managers learned the core competencies of management in the school-of-hard-knocks. Taking two steps forward and one step backwards they became testimonies to my philosophy that “success is based upon the failures we learn from”. But my point is that although these over-comers are proud of their achievement, they readily admit that their failures were very expensive for all concerned. So consider these fundamentals that any company, large or small can use as a foundation to a management development program that will bring big time long term rewards.

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How to Align Incentives with Management Talent

I am a big believer that your business is only as good as the people you have working for you. When it comes to attracting and recruiting high quality, team-minded individuals, some companies do a better job than others.  Over time these individuals distinguish themselves within your organization through their positive attitude, commitment to your core values and performance. You know who these individuals are and at times you wonder how successful your business could be if only you could replicate these impact players. Alternatively, you may be thinking that this individual is so important to your business that you could least afford to lose him or her. So how do you acknowledge, affirm, motivate and retain them?

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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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Likability or Accountability - Do You Have the Right People Driving Your Organization?

In my last post, "Effective Leadership - Are Your People Loyal to You or Your Vision," I discussed the idea that there are several businesses with which I’m currently working that are performing and several that are not. The difference between the two is that they either have a culture of likability or a culture of accountability. The immediate differences between the two suggested differences in leadership, people, and focus on results.

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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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