Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

Winning in the family business – getting real with your sibling about performance and job duties

Business workers stand togetherI can’t tell you how many times in the family business I see people comfortably settling in to certain roles and responsibilities based upon their own needs not the needs of the business.

Take for example the family I was working with recently.  The more we clearly outlined performance expectations and standards, and mapped out where the family business needs to be for the arrival of the next generation, the more it became clear higher levels of results needed to be produced.

As we began discussing this, one brother spent a lot of time telling us about all the things that he’s doing.  That’s great but unfortunately many of those things are not the things that are most strategic for the business.  Or more importantly, what he’s working on is what he enjoys the most, but not necessarily what he’s good at!

In family business coaching we are constantly focusing on what the business needs to be successful.  Many times this involves what we call professionalizing the firm.  That often entails identifying higher levels of predictable and professional accountability for results.

It’s our job as coaches to “referee” with the family members and help them gain objectivity about what results are being produced and who should be producing them.  Many times this process involves prying a few fun things out of people’s hands and putting a few more difficult things on their plate.

If they can’t produce the results they are asked to produce then we help them identify what’s missing, is it skill, commitment, or talent?  Through coaching we will create a process to help them identify the gaps and they will be held accountable to closing those gaps.

At the end of the day, as family business coaches, we want to see all of our players succeed and win in the marketplace and the family for that matter.  Sometimes that involves helping them find the right role on the team and helping them acquire some new skills so they can produce high-level results.

Business is a competitive sport.  If the family business doesn’t continue to challenge itself and challenge its teammates to be open and honest about their performance and strive to compete at the highest level the family business will go extinct.

Winning in the family business – finding win-win and avoiding win lose

government-shutdown-closed-for-businessThe last couple of weeks are a great example of what not to do in a family business.  Imagine the family business if we had extreme positions on the left and the right that couldn’t be resolved and then somebody said “I guess we’ll have to CLOSE the family business for two weeks” until we can get this resolved!

Imagine the pain that could cause all of the employees not to mention the vendors and suppliers and ultimately your customers you could lose if you shut down due to the inability to find common ground.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  How do we expect our politicians to get along when we see the same kind of behavior in family businesses so often?

As family business coaches we work hard on helping people learn how to communicate more effectively, find common ground, and look for win-win solutions.  But, just like in our wonderful federal government, often times the agenda gets hijacked by people who are extremely rigid and sometimes vengeful when opportunity strikes.

Just like our federal government, many of these issues need our most open-minded and thoughtful approach.  The issues will not get resolved overnight and need a long term approach and a commitment to finding solutions not threatening shutdowns.

I’ve been approached by two families in the last 30 days that have pretty much caused their own shut down due to long protracted periods of bad behavior and gamesmanship.  I think at the end of the day they regret much of what they did, but good old-fashioned ego gets in the way of allowing them to apologize and get back to finding win-win.

Sure, the government reopened and are wonderful politicians are back to work.  It’s not as easy in the family business.  Sometimes the filibusters lead to family conflict and damage that can either take generations to repair or, worse yet, never get repaired.

Learn to look for common ground.  Find win-win.  Bring in outsiders who can add perspective and calm the situation down.  Communication and consensus building can be the life blood of a healthy family business.  Taking a win lose mindset can be fatal to the family business.

Family Identifies Humor as a Key Attribute for Family Business Success

file1161276033048One of the exercises we have families do is to reflect upon the attitudes and behaviors that lead to their success and conversely, their breakdowns. Business coaching utilizes many of the same ideas that are used in sports coaching. Teams get in the film room and review their performances to find ways to improve.

One family this week identified their ability to find humor in their daily work as an important skill in creating the right atmosphere for family business success.

Don’t mistake this with the overuse of humor. I’ve seen families use humor in ways that are harmful and a bit passive aggressive. These families use humor as a way to say things that they don’t have the courage to say without cloaking it in humor.

This family was talking about a healthy level of humor.  In coaching we call this the ability to embody “lightness”—not taking things too seriously.

I know many of the things you face in your family business are serious – I’m not trying to deny that. At the same time when I look back over the many challenges I faced in our family business most of them weren’t exactly a make or break moment.

Keeping a mindset of lightness is a muscle you can build over time. Brain scientists show us now how we are pattern makers. The research proves that we can build new patterns of thinking. We do that by staying mindful to our perspectives. It is a choice you make, to keep a light or heavy perspective on your daily work.

When you can learn to create lightness, you can have a team and family that learn to “roll with the punches” and that therefore can be more resilient and creative as they face challenges.

Keeping a perspective of lightness can make life more peaceful and less tiring. Make a commitment to discussing this with your family, and see if you can practice this new mindset. Remember, like any new skill it takes time to get a feel for it and make it a part of your daily life!

Don’t give up. Don’t back down if others in the family don’t jump on board. Make it your own personal mission to build new brain patterns. Lead by example. 

Coaching Pitfall – Skill vs. Commitment

You can see someone who has a lot of commitment, but does not have the skill.  In coaching this is one of our common diagnostic tools.  Do I think this person really wants to do this or do they have the skill?  Do not confuse the two.  Furthermore, is the person able to develop the skill?  So if you decide they do have commitment, they just do not have the skill, remember some people are not able to develop certain skills.

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
  • Comments Off on Coaching Pitfall – Skill vs. Commitment