Posts Tagged ‘communication’

Losing in the family business – be right but have no team

business-man-big-jumpMany of the family business entrepreneurs we work with are very strong minded individuals who have had a lot of success in the business.  Their success further strengthens their position that their way is the right way.

The problem is there’s been an ongoing trend over the past several years of people wanting to have autonomy – the ability to make their own decisions and add their own individual fingerprints to their work.

For the stubborn family business entrepreneur this seems like a bad direction.  I hear things like “Why fix it if it isn’t broken?  Why would we possibly want to do things differently when we’ve had such success with our current way of doing it?”

I have a client right now I’m working with who has been struggling with this dilemma for quite some time.  He continues to “be right” and continues to run off talented and hard-working people who would love to help the company move forward.

And truthfully, this guy is extremely smart and knows the business well.  Many of his ideas are great ideas.

I keep reminding him that if he wants it all to be done with his ideas he may be a leadership team of one.  He knows he wants to someday successfully transition the business and I have to give him a dose of reality with the fact that if he doesn’t start letting other people do things in their own unique way they will never stick around.

We’re a bit of a victim of the way we have raised the up and coming generation. We have encouraged them to be strong minded, confident and willing to speak their mind.

So the successful family business entrepreneur needs to find a way to gently straddle that line of letting people have a say in the matter but not allowing them to make decisions that will put the company at undue risk.

In family business coaching we teach the entrepreneurs how to use the Socratic method of teaching, mentoring and coaching to use their experience and expertise to ask better questions and do a better job of developing the younger generation.  When we teach the family business to create a coaching culture it accelerates development and communication and improves business results.

I know how hard it is to watch people make mistakes but ultimately it’s one of the best ways they really learn the lessons.  Remember you have a decision – you can be right and be a one man band or you can learn how to be a better mentor and build a great team and have a successful transition! Choose wisely!

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.

Communicaton 101

One of the most frequent areas of skill building in our business coaching programs is in the area of communication.

Participants in the coaching are required to bring a “highlight reel” of their successes and/or challenges.  One particular executive I worked with was struggling in his relationship with his direct report.  His direct seemed to be falling into a pattern of making excuses rather than solving problems.  In the communications coaching, the client learned how to use language to more effectively set the context for the conversation and use the language of curiosity (versus the language of blame or judgment) to open up the conversation.

The client was amazed how open his direct report was when he used a different and more thoughtful approach to word choices.  The language of curiosity created a more open and collaborative space.

If you think about it, we are linguistic beings – words are “the water we swim in”.  Yet it’s startling how incompetent, sloppy and downright stupid we can be about our word choices.  Mastering communication skills lead to higher leadership effectiveness, business results and personal satisfaction.

Coaching Leader Quality 8 – Strong Communication Skills

Communication skills are at the heart of great coaching. Great coaching leaders have the ability to convey not only the big picture vision, but also the minute details of techniques.

Communication skills obviously are critical in relation to creating accountability and drive for excellence. 

Coaching leaders are constantly reinforcing key messages that focus energy and effort on winning in the marketplace.

Communication skills include being a good listener.  Coaching leaders are constantly listening to their team members and the team energy overall as they develop and decide upon the right messages to help their team succeed.


  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Monday, November 8th, 2010
  • Comments Off on Coaching Leader Quality 8 – Strong Communication Skills

Effective Communication is the cornerstone of business performance

One of the backdrops of coaching and business coaching is performance.  Executive coaching and business coaching are designed to help participants find new awareness, techniques, and strategies so they can be more effective at what they do and reach higher levels of performance.

To be in a position to evaluate performance, we must first be able to define performance.  In the business world there are several ways to measure performance including:

  • Profitability and financial strength
  • Customer/client satisfaction and retention
  • Market share in comparison to the overall market

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