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How to Build Teamwork Amongst Key Managers and Family

Your management team and family member employees should form the backbone of your business. Ideally, they know and live your values; they are in alignment with your goals; and they are your boots on the ground interacting with customers, employees, and vendors. At their best they optimize resources to achieve a high level of performance, and drive your business onward to future success. So what happens when your managers and family don’t work as a team, and how can you turn things around?

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How to Improve Teamwork and Increase Productivity

Organizational productivity is dependent upon teamwork, which I describe as two or more people working together for a common goal. “Team” can be expressed or implied, conscious or unconscious, but regardless, organizational productivity depends upon the effectiveness of interdependent, collaborative effort.

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Why Do So Many Businesses Underperform?

When the opportunity to work with a team of business leaders presents itself, one of my first questions is "How many of you are ready to go to the next level"  Depending on how I ask people to respond, either a lot of hands go up or there is a chorus of "Absolutely" that deafens the room.  It seems like everyone is in love with the idea of going to the next level.

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Working Towards Working Together

When I first met my wife, Patricia, I was head over heels in love. Although, just a few years after our honeymoon, our marriage appeared to be less than ideal. However, we decided we wanted to be married so we found a counselor to help us understand and deal with the good and bad we brought to our union. After 30+ years of counseling we have a marriage that isn't perfect but one that is getting better every day.

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Are You Overpaying Your Children? Be Aware of the Potential Long-term Impact

So, in my first two posts, How "Over Giving" to your Kids Can Impact Future Succession Goals, and Did Your Child Earn That Title? The Impact of Giving What One Doesn't Deserve, on this subject I have discussed how a past pattern of giving can have a negative impact on the eventual gifting of business assets.  The previous posts focused on two common areas where business owners "give" to their children, which can create havoc on the business, successor development and family dynamics - giving your child a job or a title without earning them. 

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OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

Take a close look at the letters above. Now, without changing the sequence of the letters, break those twenty letters into a sentence.

If business has been tough or you don't feel passion or commitment from your people, your sentence might read "Opportunity is nowhere." You might be thinking, "What have I done with that list of business brokers? I know it's around here somewhere."

Tempting as that broker search might be, don’t jump at it. Those same twenty letters can create another sentence: "Opportunity is now here." Same twenty letters, same and yet a completely different approach to finding a solution.

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How to Create a Culture of Excellence – Are your Processes Aligned with Your Purpose?

It is absolutely imperative that the sales and services your team provides be aligned around a common purpose. Your purpose, or the purpose of each department of your organization, needs to be well defined as it will determine how they go about problem solving, accomplishing daily tasks and long-term goals. When it’s all said and done, it’s what we actually do that matters, not what we say we do. How you do things will define your reputation in the community. One of the most common disconnects in any organization is between purpose and procedure, or between what we say we do and how we go about doing it. 

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How to Avoid Getting Squashed in Management and Family Feuds

Like many words in the English language, "squash" can have several meanings. For example, it can refer to a game played with racquets by players who whack a hollow ball around a court. For our purposes though, let's think of squash as the ancient sport of destroying someone else's ideas before they have a chance to break into full flower. It's generally played by one or more persons who use words as weapons and say things like: 

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Building Success: Do’s and Don’ts for Leadership

Business success, more than just “getting by,” is an essential first step to succession planning. Success is a key ingredient to Succession. It drives momentum, culture, purpose and profits that create business value.

As I work my way around the patch, I am often asked, “Swami of Succession, how do I build a level of success to justify succession planning?” It should come as no surprise to you that I don’t have a “silver bullet” answer. However, I can definitely share some “do’s” and “don’ts” of leadership and management that I have consistently witnessed as having a direct impact on success. 

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Skip Generation Cross Purchase Agreement

A new client consisting of two 50/50 partners expressed a desire to develop a buy-sell agreement around life insurance policies that they had been sold prior to my engagement. This was an extraordinary business reflected by the unique synergy created by the 50/50 partnership. Each partner had brought unique skills sets to their business that had been affirmed by success beyond anyone’s imagination. The values involved were tens of millions. The planning initiative also involved the updating of estate document and the initiation of strategic gifting.

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3 Tips for In-Laws in the Family Business

The third step to navigating in-law in the family business is to avoid giving off the appearance that you are motivated by the opportunity to live on “easy street.”  If you see an opportunity to work in your spouse’s family business as just one of many options, and that the job in the family’s business is the best opportunity to fulfill the expression of your talents, strengths, capabilities, and training, then you may achieve success. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay with you, as you will just move on to the next best option.  This will position you to make an unreserved commitment to the mission of the business and the existing leadership, which will provide for you the highest probability of success.

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Management Synergy and Teamwork - It Takes a Village

Teamwork is imperative to business succession simply because you cannot do it all.

The call for teamwork extends to your business partners, supporting family members, aspiring successors, key managers, employees, vendors, suppliers, advisors, and of course you as the owner. However, teamwork is not a natural behavior in business, as those involved tend to be competitive, ambitious, aggressive, and want personal recognition. But team dynamics can be taught, supported and ultimately embedded within your company’s culture if all involved are truly dedicated to high quality, high performance and high customer satisfaction.

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Case Study – Misaligned vision between Owner and Management Creating Low Business Performance

Industry: Automotive 

Location: Midwest United States 

Company Overview: Family-Owned Group of Auto Dealerships 

Succession Matrix® Issues: Business Performance, Management Synergy & Teamwork


Challenge: While the owner’s measure of success for each store was based on net return, the store managers were solely focused on gross sales. This misalignment was causing the stores to perform below the planned level of net to sales. Dealerships were also under-performing when it came to gross sales and were receiving only 60% of the manufacturer incentive opportunities.  

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Case Study - Management Synergy and Teamwork's Impact on Business Performance and Succession Goals

Industry: Automotive 

Location: Southeast United States 

Company Overview: Family-Owned Group of Auto Dealerships 

Succession Matrix® Issues: Business Performance, Management Synergy & Teamwork 


Challenge: The General Manager of one of the dealerships was making decisions solely based on what was best for him and his store which was proving to be counterproductive to the overall interest of the company. Dealership was not performing at the level it was capable of.

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What You Should Know Before You Make Someone a Partner/Owner

If you haven’t been in this situation yourself, you probably have one or more friends who have.  They  have rewarded a  highly productive employee by making him/her a non-family partner (NFP) in a family owned business.   

Maybe you’re about to do the same thing yourself.  That’s big of you, really; and some people might actually appreciate the honor you’re bestowing on them. Others will probably think “It’s about time!”  And then, it gets worse.  The loyalty formerly shown to the organization seems to vanish, and the imperial partner syndrome emerges. 

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Struggling with Your Business Partner? 5 Ways to Find Common Ground

If you happen to be an active majority partner in a business, you may sometimes find yourself struggling for alignment with your minority partner or partners, especially if the minority partners are also involved in the business.   They assume because they have some percentage of ownership that they have the positional power to make unilateral decisions that move the business in a direction that suits their liking, regardless.  In short, they throw their “weight” around; and they pay little attention to the unintended consequences of doing so.

 

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OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

Take a close look at the run together letters above?  Now, without changing the sequence of the letters, break those twenty letters into a sentence.

If you've had a particularly difficult day or few days, your sentence might read "Opportunity is nowhere."  That's most likely the case if you've gotten disappointing results after completing the "Where Are My People" (WAMP) analysis discussed in my previous blog post.  All of a sudden, you have no successor and things aren't looking real bright when it comes to the key managers and leaders within your organization either.  You might be thinking, "What have I done with that list of business brokers?  I know it's around here somewhere."

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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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