Succession: Begin Early

September 11, 2007

The only thing that causes more intense family conflict in a family business than succession planning is no succession planning or late succession planning. There is no way to cover all of the bases in one article. Let this one common example illustrate the point: early succession planning is critical in a family business. The next generation often gets involved in the business early in life.  They often get involved in the business before they’ve really given it a lot of thought. It would surprise many non-family members of family business to know how family members are often paid less than that position would get on the open market.  They aren’t, however, underpaid.   The problem often happens that because they start early they end up in a position that they are really (honestly) not that good at doing.  Now the 1st generation doesn’t want to get rid of them, so they end up keeping them, covering for them in many ways, but not really paying the what the position would be worth on the on the open market, but maybe over-paying for the abilities.  The next generation, however, is under the delusion that they are actually getting underpaid because they are building sweat equity.  Once the little white lie turns into a huge resentful barrage of accusations, things really turn messy.  Keeping in mind that the most important word in “Family Business” is “Family,” plan early.  The other thing that planning early will force to the discussion table, is who is really there because they want to be and are good at what they are doing.  This kind of thinking will not only save the family unity, but also save a family member from underachieving and being the martyr while at the same time preventing the company from hiring the best person for the job.Visit me at www.businesscoachchuck.com to learn more. 

Coach Chuck www.businesscoachchuck.com 

www.businesscoachchuck.com

973-670-7215

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The Family Business

May 24, 2007

Some times I wonder who allowed the words “family and business” to even be used in the same sentance together.  On the other hand, when it is good it is very good.  The difficulty, of course, is that most businesses don’t make it.  Why?  Because there are tremendous challenges.  Running a successful business requires every fiber of our being.  Add family to that, which also requires every fiber fiber of our being, means that we are using every fiber of our being to a factor of 2!!  How is that possible?  That is what we explore here. 

Coach Chuck

www.businesscoachchuck.com

973-670-7215 

Unconditional Positive Regard at Home /Positive Regard Subject to Review in the Office

April 21, 2007

When our child falls down and scrapes his/her knee, we comfort them without regard to the silliness or fault on their part that lead to the scrape. When our spouse comes home flustered from a poor client report, maybe a hot chocolate and blankie are in order. On the other hand, one spouse does reach point of have to leave the other, IT IS PERSONAL. This love and acceptance is often the hard but essential work of family. One does not leave their husband or wife because they didn’t sell enough widgets, or iron enough shirts, or mow the grass in a straight line. Marriages dissolve because the whole package is not working. That is why it hurts so much. By the same token, the reason why family is special is because we are accepted there despite this shortcoming or that. With that, true intimacy is possible.

In the workplace, however, it is essential that we use our critical thinking skills and appraise how we assess the work of others relative to their position’s responsibilities and expectations. Likewise, we need to review our own work in like manner, as well as expect others to do the same when assessing our work. Notice, I said, how we assess the work relative to the position or role. We are not assessing the individual. It is not personal. Or at least, if you want a successful business it shouldn’t be. Some one who performs their role well at work is a godsend, even if we’d shutter at the thought of them eating thanksgiving dinner with us. Developing job expectations and how to evaluate the performance of that job is not easy, but essential to a successful business.

But what if both of these people, the person at home and the person at work are the same people? Ah, now, while the work of intimacy is not always easy and the development and review of job expectations is a challenge; to combine them successfully is the work of very committed, dedicated and rigorous people. The challenge is high, and to you who do it, I tip my hat in praise.

First and foremost, each individuals involvement in the business needs to fall into the category of unconditional positive regard. In other words, each individual in the business is a volunteer.
That is the basis upon which all other conclusions are drawn. Can some one with a seething resentment build a great business? Sure. Absolutely. Are they going to be too harmonious with the people at home with whom they have the resentment toward? I doubt it.

The decision to be involved in the business or not is not simply a decision to be accepted without judgement at the beginning, but all along the way. As with any other employ that can give two weeks notice or partner, that has some means of exit, the family member should be in the same position. This is a critical starting point. More areas will be explored in later.

Coach Chuck

www.businesscoachchuck.com

973-670-7215 

Take the Next Step to Your Picture of Success
Go To – www.businesscoachchuck.com. – for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.
Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation – Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.
Or e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time. ©2007 Charles W. Markham MA. You may not copy, reproduce, post or forward this document in any format. For permission or joint venture opportunities contact Chuck Markham at chuck@businesscoachchuck.com.

Do the Employees Appreciate Me?

April 17, 2007

Don’t They Appreciate Me?

In a word: No.
If you have a family or small business and you find yourself asking this question to yourself of employees and partners then you are getting business and personal relations confused.
Example:
A business owner (whom we will call Mary) realized her manager (whom we will call John) really did not like to work Saturdays. Recently Mary hired a person to come in every other Saturday, thereby giving John the day off. Something came up in Mary’s personal life and she had to call John and ask him to work a double shift. John agreed to. Mary Further offered to work for him on the following Saturday (a day he would normally have had to work). He agreed to that too.
It came to Mary’s attention that John had a really lousy attitude that day and even told a customer that he didn’t feel like doing something because – “I’ve been here since seven this morning and I will be here till nine tonight.” Additionally, John was beginning to act like the owner. Mary had come to rely on John but she was getting very uncomfortable.
This is a situation doomed to blow up. It happens all the time. If the people involved are family members, it is even more explosive.
As for as John is concerned, he still has to work every other Saturday and he is annoyed about that. As for her working for him on Saturday in exchange for working for him … he feels that she is putting personal matters ahead of the business which he would not be allowed to do. In his mind, his power is growing. Perhaps he has even made people think he is the owner. The fact that Mary can call in and just say she’s not coming in (which is how he interprets what she did) and he can’t creates a resentment.
The underlying problem here is that John is not clear as to what his position is. Why? Probably because Mary was so overworked that when he began taking more and more over, she was happy to let him. Michael Gerber, of Emyth, describes this as abdicating responsibility as opposed to delegating responsibility.
Defining position expectations is key.

Coach Chuck

www.businesscoachchuck.com

973-670-7215 
Take the Next Step to Your Picture of SuccessGo To – http://www.businesscoachchuck.com/. – for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.

Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation – Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.

Or

e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time.

From Bitter Differences to Complementary Traits

April 17, 2007

Before:Bitter Personality Differences

Now: Complementary Traits
Result: More Money for Everyone

&
A Family that can have Holiday Dinner Again

Founder: Entrepreneur, Wife & Mother
The craftsman: Husband & Father
Manager: The Son

Then:

I first met them because the founder felt she could not leave the place of business to develop new business because the employees were like children. The husband was not much help in this particular regard because he worked at his craft in isolation. When things got loud enough to pull him out of the back, it meant that things were really out of control. Mom would either get called back in or walk in to the chaos and bring order back to the place. She resented being chained to the place of business, which her mind could not help to count what this was costing in lost opportunity. The son resented her both for 1) coming back and saving him, which usually involved completely disregarding whatever he was trying to do & 2) coming back with new ideas which more work for him to integrate into the chaos that he knew she was going to end up taking over anyway. As for the employees: there was a high level of insecurity, to say the least. Further, there was nothing that was within their power to change that lack of security. They were subject to the emotional whims of “the family.” One thing they did know though, Mom was in charge. Son, was just a Mood to be avoided.
Staff meetings amongst the family basically degenerated into: The son feeling really betrayed by his mother because when she takes over in front of the staff, it is embarrassing. He feels that she doesn’t appreciate how much work he does to try to manage her “flights of fancy.”
She on the other hand, feels that he does not appreciate what he is being handed to him and further she is scared he’s going to flub it up and leave her without retirement.

Now:

What they realize now is that the business issues they have are marketing and management issues. She really is the quintessential marketer and he really is the quintessential manager. She still has big ideas, and he computes and coordinates the details. The way they related to each other before created both chaos and inertia in the staff, between dodging his moods and waiting for her to land with a fury. Now he sees that without the vision, there would be nothing to manage and she’s realizing that without letting him manage, there is no time to create more pots of opportunity at the end of the next rainbow. And the craftsman, he just keeps doing his thing.
Now that work is about work, not working out personal issues, they visit socially again.
They are making money. They are getting along. It is a beautiful thing.Take the Next Step to Your Picture of Success

Coach Chuck

www.businesscoachchuck.com

973-670-7215 

Go To – www.businesscoachchuck.com. for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.

Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation – Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.

Or

e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time.