Family Business Peak Playbook™ – Genuinely appreciate each other for who they are

One of the most common sources of frustration I encounter with the family businesses I coach is the nagging feeling of not being appreciated. You would think this issue resides most commonly with the up-and-coming generation, although I often find it to be universal across all members of the family business.

As a Coach, my role is to help people step back and take an objective look at what’s going on. Like the Coaches of Olympic athletes, I help people constructively review their technique in their performance. In our coaching process, the Peak WorkoutTM, we call it reviewing the “game film”.

What I see so often is a lack of genuine appreciation and respect for the other person’s perspective. It’s actually the first step in developing and fostering mutual respect.

This doesn’t mean that we have to agree with all of our father’s values, strategies and techniques for getting through life. We need to remember that we were each born during a different time, in a different situation, and develop strategies based upon those unique circumstances.

Let’s take many of our fathers and grandfathers as an example. They were born or raised shortly after one of the greatest economic depressions of all times. That situation creates a powerful set of patterns and habits around being conservative and making the most with what we’ve got.

The younger generation on the other hand was brought into this world during a time of great prosperity and economic growth. They don’t have the same “historical perspective”. This usually creates a different set of values and orientations toward work.

The key is to not spend all of our energy trying to change each other to adopt each other’s perspectives and values. The best strategy is to spend time understanding each other’s perspectives through constructive and open-minded dialogue (a key skill we teach in coaching). Only then can we begin to truly understand each other’s perspectives and practice seeing them as legitimate.

One of the other key skills we teach in coaching is how to pay attention to what you’re paying attention to. We teach family business members who shift their “focal point” from what’s wrong with the situation to what’s right with the situation creates a whole new energy in the family business.

Younger generations should be appreciative of the unique and extraordinary opportunity a successful family business can offer. Conversely, older generations should be appreciative of having any younger generation members that are genuinely interested in the business and possess inherent skills needed to carry the business forward into the future.

Finally, we coach our clients to practice expressing genuine appreciation for each other. It’s like a new language for most families! When we can learn the new language, and authentically express our appreciation for each other, it opens up new, productive and powerful dialogue that can take the family and the family business to new levels of financial success and personal satisfaction.

As with everything we do, it’s all about PRACTICE. Good luck. Enjoy the journey!