Strategy

Lessons from Dad, CEO: Conflict in the Family Business

Lesson Two:  We’re all in this together…believe in one another. A guide to navigating conflict in the family business.

Every family has unique dynamics and each member carves out a role that just seems to fit his/her strengths. Among the many roles, there is usually the role of “person in charge,” the role of “peacekeeper,” the role of “challenger,” and the role of “planner/organizer.” And in some cases, multiple people want the same role; which can cause conflict in the family business. To add to that, the role in the family may not match the position they hold within the company.

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Fear of Change

Recently, I visited the Grand Canyon.  For the fourth time, I had the opportunity to witness this majestic natural wonder.  Every time I go, it takes my breath away.  If you have been to the Grand Canyon, you know that you can see the canyon from many different viewpoints.  You can stay safe and walk only along paths that have guard rails (sturdy dividers between you and the vast drop to the bottom) or you can hike down to more rugged areas and find flat cliffs that jut out over the canyon.  These areas have no guard rails and no protection from falling.

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Do You Have Business Growing Pains?

If you’re a business owner or executive, you’re probably working hard to grow your business. And sometimes that means sleepless nights; long days. It can be hard not to think about business. And as the business grows, things change. Or at least they probably should. When we try to keep doing what we’ve always done, we soon realize that it won’t work. Now we have growing pains.

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Lessons from Dad, CEO: Hiring Family Members

Lesson One: Every family member earns their position. No free rides. A guide to hiring family members.

Parents are parents forever. That’s a given. As parents, we want to give our children every opportunity to be successful. Why not? We have nurtured them, guided them, and taught them; all in hopes that one day they will grow up, be successful and contribute to society. And we have to protect them. We don’t want any harm to come of them. No hurt feelings, no life setbacks. In that endeavor, as an owner of a family business, we have resources available to us to create opportunities for our children to become successful. And this is an opportunity they may not have in other companies. We’re very good at utilizing all of our resources! So we end up hiring family members.

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Shake It Up…

Disrupting the Org Chart

During a recent conversation with the leaders of a company, we asked them to imagine that their department was not a part of the overall company, but a stand-alone business having to provide value to its customers and make money to continue. Then we asked the question, “How would you organize the company related to positions, roles, and responsibilities? And how would you measure effectiveness?” This is what we call disrupting the org chart.

Some leaders had to be reminded that every minute someone is working costs money. They then considered how to measure productivity in areas that are service related. They recognized that their employees tend to come to work and most are busy. But they’re not necessarily busy with things that are high payoff or things that move the needle related to value and time. They came in to do their job.

They also recognized that they were not asking their (internal) customers what was needed from them as a department. They simply were doing their job and finding ways to make their job easier; not really considering how it affected others. There was no system in place to continually assess needs and effectiveness as things changed for their customers.

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Where is your business headed?

Business owners and executives across the country struggle to answer this question. Most make some comment that they are moving forward and growing. Others say they think everyone in the company knows where they are going. Yet when asked, employees respond by saying, “Wherever the company tells me we’re going.”

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Rapidity

[Ra•pid•i•ty]: noun
The quality of moving or reacting with great speed.

Is your company prepared?

We know that organizations have always needed people who are good at leading. Though we often hire and promote people who have been good managers and adequate leaders, it is now essential to find great leaders. The future of our organizations need leaders who will prepare us for the future.

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Make the Most of Your Training Budget

For many companies, this time of year is budget season. I know, you’re thinking…oh joy! Don’t remind me. But we bring this up for an important reason: the development of your employees. It’s pretty easy to view employee training as an expense to be managed; as just another line item or as an area to cut to balance your budget.

But do you know the result of this mindset? It can create a reactionary culture of supervisors that wait to act until something negative happens. Or it can result in employees learning to take action after something is a problem, instead of planning to eliminate it. It can create misalignment in your company’s goals, take away from employee engagement, and bring about a culture you’re not exactly happy about.

“Having a functional training budget is a critical component to your corporate strategy.”

 

A comprehensive training plan and training budget should be viewed as an investment…not just as an expense. Employee training doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. And it can provide a measurable return on investment that not only justifies, but validates the expense.

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Survey Says…

So, you’ve decided to conduct a company-wide employee survey. An admirable goal—one shared by many progressive organizations. What now?

Conducting an effective employee survey can be complicated. And if done incorrectly, can potentially damage internal relationships.

How then can you avoid the pitfalls and conclude with meaningful results?

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Tough Decisions: The Next Generation of Leaders

I was recently asked this question by the owner of a family business with four sons working in the firm: “How do I choose which one will run the business?”

Wow! There are so many ways to answer this question. Family business succession can be complicated. My first response was to ask, “Who wants to?” To which the owner did not know the answer. So that is a good place to start; however, there is more running the family business than just who wants to.

When deciding who should be the next-generation CEO and who should play supporting roles, let’s take a look at a few of the tough decisions at play here.

The owner may be asking several questions: Who can run the business? Who wants to? Do we have the talent? Do we expect that they will want to?

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