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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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Don’t Put the TITLE in Entitlement!

“Executive Manager,” “Director of the Custodial Arts,” “Chief Comradery Officer,” “General Associate Vice President” – Sweet titles, but what do they mean? Nothing without a job description. Unfortunately, a common family business mistake is endowing an important sounding title on someone in order to justify a paycheck that isn’t being earned.

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How to Build Respect for Your Successor Amongst the Management Team

Pride and heartfelt emotions are often factors when a business leader assesses his/her successor’s ability. Therefore, honest management feedback regarding a successor’s performance is a valuable piece of the succession planning puzzle. However, getting reliable feedback from management may be difficult unless the business culture supports open communication and an empowered management team. Ultimately, they are the ones who will be going to battle with the successor and their buy-in will be proportionate to their voice in the process. Management loyalty is not a company asset that gets re-titled to the successor!

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Planning for the Predictable, Probable, and Possible

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was widely ridiculed for his “what we do not know” response during a 2002 Department of Defense news briefing.

In part, Rumsfeld said about threat assessments, ‘As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.'

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As Seen On Automotive Buy Sell Report - The Right Price is Set by the Market, Not the Value of your Emotional Investment

Seventy-five percent of family businesses - especially highly demanding automobile dealerships - do not have the 4Cs of Successorship: Capable, Committed, Competent and Community-minded successor. In such instances, selling the family business is a viable succession option.

With all the money that is being thrown at buying dealerships today, the value of dealerships is a common discussion item. In some instances where there is no locked-in successor, I am often at the table helping my clients consider if they want to cash in on this hot market.

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Chimp, Chump, Champ: The 3 Stages of Successor Development

On a limited basis, The Rawls Group provides Successor Development Forums (SDF) for prospective leaders who feel they need coaching and education on the unique challenges of successor development. An SDF is not intended to be a "lucky sperm club;” it is intended to be a “work group" for successor candidates who are seeking coaching that they cannot get at home.

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What's The Purpose Of Your Success?

Succession is dependent upon success. Therefore, mediocrity is not a succession option. In order for you to have confidence your successors can survive the predictable distractions, issues and problems associated with the transfer of ownership and management control your business must perform above benchmark to assure that there is adequate margin for a dip in productivity.

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Knowing Your Role and Playing Your Position

Football is one of my favorite sports and football season is one of my favorite times of year! It has been said that football is the ultimate team sport. Success on each play requires each player understand their role, work together, communicate effectively and ultimately execute to achieve the desired outcome. The teams that win consistently have committed players who know their role, play their position and trust their teammates will do the same each play. From my perspective, there is a striking parallel between football and family business. To successfully compete and operate a family-owned dealership or dealership group, requires each family member, manager and employee to understand their unique role, work together, communicate effectively and operate interdependent departments well. Whether you are a team member of a family business or a superstar on a football team, knowing your role and playing your position are key ingredients to success.

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The Culture of People

I admit it. I’m an Apple junkie. Our family has iPhones, MacBooks, an iMac, Apple TV, and several iPads (I bought my 84-year old computer-less mother-in-law one last Christmas and had to increase my data plan just to accommodate her web surfing!). I will not, however, be sporting an Apple Watch since I don’t wear a watch anyway and even with sleek looks, the thought of wearing a ‘computer’ on my wrist reminds me too much of the geeks of yore who wore their calculator watches that required a toothpick stylus to peck at the small keyboard.

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The Rawls Group to Present at Digital Dealer 19 Conference and Expo

The Rawls Group announces that they will be presenting at the Digital Dealer 19 Conference and Expo being held in Las Vegas October 5-7th, 2015.

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A New Succession Challenge: Private Equity

The automobile industry has encountered significant changes over the last 20 years. We have seen public companies come into the market. We have seen the dot-com balloon inflate and burst. We have seen banks offer money to anyone with an IQ over room temperature and then call loans from the smartest, brightest and most successful in our industry. We have seen franchises devalued, nuked, given away and arbitrated as manufacturers went belly up and gave up control to our government. And here we are with stock market returns struggling to beat inflation and the investment world recognizing that auto dealerships are a good buy at six, seven and eight times adjusted earnings.

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You've Sold Your Business, Now What?

Recently I was invited to speak to a group of successful business owners about the various aspects of succession planning (what I refer to as the Succession Matrix). The Succession Matrix consists of ten interdependent factors that business owners must successfully address to improve the odds that their business will successfully make the transition to and through the next generation of owners and managers. Addressing these factors is important regardless of whether you plan to sell your business or plan to keep it in the family. Unfortunately, many franchisees and business owners are so busy “working IN their business” that they do not invest the time to “work ON their business” to consider their exit options.

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Spell It Out So There Is No Doubt, By Denise Ware

As a successful business owner with young children, homes in several states and a net worth in the millions, you need to periodically review your estate planning documents. Most likely you have taken your attorney’s advice and adopted a Pour-over Will and Revocable Trust. You have made important decisions regarding the disposition of assets upon your death.

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Successor Development Checklist

One of the biggest burdens weighing upon family business leaders is whether or not their successors will be ready and capable leaders for the next generation. No matter how intelligent, educated, progressive or firm, it is likely there will be some doubt and even more likely some challenges as you work towards preparing the next generation to lead. After many years of working with families, management teams and their business successors, we have put together a Successor Development Checklist to help clarify which factors are most important in knowing whether or not you have positioned your successor and team for the next generation.

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Just Give Up

If I were to place one image here, a ‘swoosh’ that looks something like a happy go lucky check-mark, you would instantly recognize it – the Nike logo. You would also call to mind their slogan, ‘Just Do It.’ My interpretation of that slogan is that they are calling us to just get started, get practicing, get swinging, get running, get physical, and enjoy life - using their products, of course!

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Caught in a Rut? How to Move from Intention to Commitment

I seldom have the time to watch a lot of television. Some days, however, I channel surf with the best of them. When I find a poker game on the tube, I stop and watch. I do that because I know that at some point, one of the players is going to slide all of his/her chips across the table and go “all in.”

I love it! It’s one of the best visual demonstrations of commitment that I have ever seen; and those two simple words, “All in,” define commitment better than any philosopher, business consultant, or management guru ever does.

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Franchisee Succession Fumble: Don't Forget the Franchise Agreement

Those of you who are franchisees pay close attention! Have you developed a succession plan for your business? If so, I commend you as many of your peers talk about having a succession plan, but have yet to develop formal documentation that reflects their goals and objectives. Now let me ask you another question. Does your succession plan consider requirements in your franchise agreement such as ownership transfers or successor qualifications? If not, I suggest you shake the dust off of the franchise agreement and find the specific paragraphs that relate to successor nominees, ownership transfers, death, disability etc. Many times the franchise agreement is overlooked or in some cases ignored when franchisees develop their succession plans. This could result in a violation of your franchise agreement possibly resulting in significant consequences such as the derailment of your succession plan!

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A New Frontier: Life After A Sale

Many of you have dedicated a significant part of your working life pursuing the American dream through business ownership. Some of you will pursue succession through family members or key executives and others believe a sale is the best exit strategy option. Selling your business is a viable succession option enabling you to harvest the fruits of your labor and investment as well as to take some chips off of the table. A few years ago, a successful client who is a franchisee in the Midwest chose to sell his business. I had the privilege of working with this couple to help them evaluate their succession alternatives. After considering several options, they ultimately concluded the best decision for them and their family was to sell the business.

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Exit Strategy: When Should I Consider One?

Technically, the answer is before you even open your doors for business (why go anywhere without knowing how you are going to get back?). Now I know that is idealistic to many of you as survival is your highest priority. Let’s face it, succession planning is a subject many business owners would rather not face. However, I submit to you that the earlier you begin the process, the less stressful the transition will be for you and all parties who are touched in some way by your business (employees, community, vendors etc.).

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How to Create a Productive and Empowering Culture

How do you create a positive business culture where all those associated view your business feel a stewardship responsibility for its success and/or its failures? To navigate this subject, let’s first focus on what generally gets in the way.

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