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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!

“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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How Do I select a Successor for My Business?

Very carefully! There is a great deal riding on this decision. Some of you have children actively involved in your business and, thus, naturally feel the above question does not apply to you. For a small minority of you, this may be true. You may indeed be blessed with a passionate, capable and committed successor. However, the vast majority should think again!

Approximately ten years ago, I met John Smith (fictitious name), a successful business owner, who was the proud father of three children. His oldest son, Harry, was active in his business. Unfortunately, Harry was not well respected by managers and employees in the organization. A logical question you may be asking is, why? Good question.

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How to Cut Back Without Crippling Your Organization

Around the proverbial water cooler, I have heard business owners discussing the reduction of expenses and, of course, we always end up on the topic of reduction of staff. During this last period of business expansion, we have steadily been increasing our staff due to increased sales volume, service support and ability to handle all of the administrative paperwork that flies in the wake of success. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is to think about letting go the highest paid, most experienced employees for a less experienced, yet less expensive replacement. If you remember reading “Good to Great,” Collins maintains that it is essential to have the “right people on the bus” that will secure your long-term success. These talented people do the right things, at the right time, because it is the right thing to do, and usually without you having to micro-manage or browbeat them to get it done.

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What is in Succession Planning for Me, Beyond a Distraction and Bills?

What's in Succession Planning for Me?

Some things are more obvious than others. However, occasionally I am asked “why should I do succession planning?” My response is that succession is not a natural progression of an enterprise. You have a right not to care but if you don’t care, your employees, bank, strategic partners, and community who love you are going to resent you.

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Have You Thought Through Your Exit Strategy

In my experience as a succession planner I have encountered several business owners who have expressed a desire to transition their business to either family members or entrepreneurial key managers. Many of them believe they are ready to turn over the reins but all too often they have not considered all of the implications and the vast majority have done very little to facilitate an exit strategy for various reasons.

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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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5 Problems and Solutions in Estate Planning Trusts

Estate planning is an integral part of business succession planning. I am commonly asked what are the most common problems encountered in estate planning trusts.  There are so many problems with trust administration it is difficult to find a place to start or where to stop.  For lack of a better plan, let’s consider what I have found to be the top five trust administration problems:

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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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Sibling Partnerships

Sibling Partnerships: If you are a part of a sibling partnership in business or anticipate being in one in the near future, please understand that your relationship, just like any other relationship, will require a significant amount of effort to make it an effective one. Effective sibling partnerships will not happen by default. Natural behavior is to be competitive, self promoting and self serving. It takes a purposeful, dedicated effort to achieve win/win with siblings and there are many factors that lead to the effectiveness of sibling partnerships. Here are ten fundamental suggestions as to how you can establish and sustain an effective working relationship with one or more siblings:

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Brand Bible?

What should be determined immediately is if "brand bible" is just being used as a cute term for core policies and procedures or do they really mean "Brand Bible."

The concept of using the term brand bible conveys that this document is the foundation or reference for belief, trust and faith. Inherent with the behavior, attitude, attained skills, knowledge and experience that are associated with belief, trust and faith there is the assumption that the business will grow in power, strength and resilience. However, this is faulty logic if there has been no process through which the brand bible has been proven as the source of strength as in Bible. In the absence of a profession of belief and faith by the rank and file employees and managers who are integral to the strength in the mystical powers of branding the use of the term bible is very assumptive. Actually, a safer presumption would be that all those exposed to the brand bible the first time will have doubt or even cynicism. 

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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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How to Overcome Communication Shipwrecks

Many people believe that conflict is natural and something to be sought after.  So far, January of 2010 has been filled with conflict.  Earthquakes (Haiti), political surprises (Massachusetts, Ben Bernake’s appointment), judicial surprises (Supreme Court and political contributions), and family squabbles.  Most of the family squabbles probably haven’t made the news; but for the people involved in many of them, the damage is every bit as catastrophic.

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