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Criticism is Criticism Irrespective of Intentions

As mentioned previously there are two issues implicit to this question. I previously addressed the motivation of an adult child when affirming the desired behavior has not worked and “tough love” is not practical because the reaction of the non conforming child is intolerable.  Unfortunately there are not many options other than what I described: avoiding confrontations to maintain a relationship while conveying “be respectful because your current behavior will impact your access to my estate after my death”.

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Family Business Issues: Love, Tough Love and Letting Go

“Loyd I have tried tough love and it did not work.”

Such was the frustrated, emotional exclamation of an 83 year old business owner trying to deal with a 58 year old son who was apparently acting like a teenager. According to the explanation, irrespective of pleads by his parents who were technically in control of the business, the son would spend from the family’s business on his personal desires and wants. Based upon the dad’s description, the son stepped across the line one day and could not tell the difference between the reasonable and the ridiculous.

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How to Overcome Management Resistance

“My managers just don’t agree with what I say.” Such was the frustrated, emotional exclamation of a 50 year old successor trying to assume leadership of the business his father had transferred to him through a ten year succession process. “I just struggle to get them to agree with me.”

“Are you struggling to get your managers to agree with you? What’s wrong with this picture”, I responded in dismay.

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The Gift That Can Keep On Giving for A Lifetime, By Denise Ware

It is Christmastime! A time where traditions of warm apple cider, eggnog, milk and cookies for Santa, fruit cake, candy canes, gingerbread houses, Yuletide Carols and various traditions that have been handed down through generations. Family members look forward to Christmas with excitement and anticipation, especially the little ones with great expectations. A big part of Christmas is the gift giving that occurs among family and friends. You spend a great deal of time and money to pick out just the right gift for that special someone. Sometimes when it is difficult to find the perfect gift, gift giving becomes a burdensome chore. This year we have the ideal solution for your gifts to family.

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Why Family Governance Should Not be Overlooked

In my first post on this issue I said that the reason for exploring family dynamics is precisely because family issues compel business decisions. I just got off an hour long phone conversation with a client regarding generational attitude differences between her generation and the 3rd generation family member employees. The mental health issue that has brought this to the forefront is that one of the G3 family members just admitted himself, at the urging of other family members, into a drug rehab facility.

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Dig Deep Into Family Dynamics - There May Be A Mental Health Issue At Play

Not too long ago a client asked, after our initial review of the family succession planning environment, where his family stood on the weirdness scale. Well, weirdness is not really the issue, but optimization of human functioning and relationships is of paramount importance. The reason I tell clients that we pry into family dynamics is precisely because family issues compel business decisions. Little did I know 8 years ago when I entered succession planning for family owned businesses as a career how helpful my background as a professional counselor would be. In my next three posts I’ll describe several scenarios and the impact on the business planning environment.

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How to Move Family Dynamics from "Good to Great"

Books like Built to Last and Good to Great offer a recipe for successful business performance.  There are now millions of people talking about big hairy audacious goals that can be accomplished by putting the right people in the right seat on the right bus. 

If your primary goal in life is business success, then these books – and others like them – should definitely be on your reading list.  By reading them, you will either confirm your belief in how to manage and lead your business or deny them.

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Stumped By Succession Issues - The Succession Matrix Will Help You Find Your Way Out

Two weeks ago I received a phone call from a business reporter who writes mostly for and about one specific industry.  The reporter reads the blogs that my partners and I write, which are about succession planning; and he/she wanted to talk with one or more of us for background information on a story being written about succession planning for families in the industry.

After the usual exchange of pleasantries, we got to the article.  The first question was really quite typical:  How much succession planning experience do you have in this industry (i.e., how many industry clients)?  In a way, this is simply a variation on the wicked queen’s “Mirror, mirror on the wall” question from the Snow White fairy tale.

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How to Create Opportunity from Disruption

In 1970, Alvin Toffler introduced the term “information overload” in a book called Future Shock.  Forty years ago, Toffler wrote about the impact of the accelerating rate of technological and societal change.  In a nutshell, he predicted that we humans would be left disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation”.   

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How to Use Management "Turf Wars" for Management Development Opportunities

Management mudslinging is the low percentage, high stakes process of advancing high performance employees to management positions without appropriate preparation, training or coaching. Apparently the presumption is that management is an easy job. Wow! How could someone ever conclude that motivating others to enthusiastically and effectively do what others want done is easier than looking out for yourself?  Or maybe there is something to the premise that employees naturally want to do what managers want done. Unless you have a short memory of your days as an employee, you recognize that the only “something” applicable to that premise is “malarkey”.  No doubt in consideration of the loss of a business owner’s resources (time, people and money) management mudslinging is a very expensive practice. In light of the ridiculousness of the logic relative to the cost, the only reasonable conclusion is that management mudslinging exists only due to ignorance, laziness or irresponsibility, none of which are long term traits of business owners.

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A Super Star Salesman May Not be the Best Manager - Make Sure They Got It

Mudslinging appears to be alive and well in family business. No I am not talking about the intra family emotional skirmishes where one or all parties say awful, hurtful things that they don’t mean. The mudslinging I am talking about occurs when highly motivated and successful sales persons, technicians, engineers, etc distinguish themselves through dedication, hard work, loyalty and exemplary performance. Consequently ownership recognizes them as rising stars by promoting them to management. Preparation for the new challenge" usually consists of a well-done pat on the back and proud reaffirmation that “we promote from within”. And this is effectively where the mudslinging begins as in let’s just see what these guys have got. Let’s see if they can handle the new challenge as in “if the mud sticks against the wall then maybe we’ve got something here.”

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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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Make Sure What You Have Is What You Need - The Importance of Reviewing Your Planning

You may have heard the saying “the only thing that remains the same is change,” and that is especially true when it comes to planning for the future of your business.  My partners and I are constantly reminding clients that change will be a constant in their succession planning environment especially as it relates to their feelings, finances, family and federal tax laws. As these changes occur, reviewing and updating various aspects of your planning is imperative. While at times this can appear to be inconvenient, it will ensure you maintain proper alignment and ultimately increase the probability your succession plan will succeed.

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How to Align Business with Family Goals

A few weeks ago I met a prospective client who happened to be in business with three of their siblings. Two of the family members are in their mid forties and two are in their mid fifties. They have done a fantastic job of giving birth to and developing a successful business over the past twenty years. However, they have reached a point in their business life where they are struggling with what to do next. After spending approximately two hours with this family, it became clear to me that they have been working in opposite directions. Each family member was doing what they thought was important for the business, not necessarily what is in the long term best interest of the company. Thus, one of my conclusions was, “your vision is in need of an alignment.”

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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

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

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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What is the True Meaning of Survival?

How do you define succession? It’s a mouthful – so be prepared. The definition is “The formal definition is the continuation of success through the next generation of owners and managers through proactive reconciliation of predictable, probable and possible contingencies.” Yes, that is an intense definition, so let’s not dwell on the formal definition any more. So what’s the practical definition of succession? SURVIVAL!

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Success - It is a Shared Thing

As a survivor who has passed the foremost trial of succession, it’s a good time to make an assessment of the things you have done right.  There is no future dwelling on the negative. On the bright side, your survival affirms my theory that as a survivor, there is nothing you do wrong that cannot be many fold reconciled by the things you do right. As expressed earlier, success is not always defined in terms of those thin disguises purchased with prior profits. How many examples have you seen of people with mansions, yachts and jets going bankrupt? Success, which comes from the things you are doing right, is a NOW thing. 

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