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.”
Just as your car occasionally needs to be aligned, so does your vision when it comes to planning for the future of your business. Other wise, your business could veer off track just as your car does when it is not properly aligned. In this particular case, one of the most glaring issues this family was struggling with was,
- Should we maintain the present size of the business or should we double the size of it?
- If we choose to grow the business, what commitment will be required with regard to people, time and money?
- What future role will each of us play?
These are a few of the many questions that came about in our discussion. I had to explain to the family that each family member has different motivations, personal goals, financial goals, family circumstances, health issues etc. This motivations must be flushed out during the alignment process. The ultimate goal is to have a unified vision that is shared by each member.
Is your business in need of an alignment? When was the last time you engaged in a strategic planning initiative? Do your employees know where you are leading them and are they excited about what the future holds? Chances are you may need an alignment too!
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