Posts Tagged ‘family business coaching’

Waiting Room Hell – Family Business Succession

One of the most common frustrations in a family business can be the question of succession. When will it happen? How will the decision be made?

For next generation leaders it can be like being stuck in the waiting room from hell. No sign of when something is going to occur and in the meantime, you have this uneasiness that you might be wasting your time or fooling yourself that it is going to ever happen. In my case, at my 90 year old family business, I wasn’t sure either – is going to happen when my uncle is 75 and I am 55? I couldn’t see sitting in the waiting room for another 15 years.

Here’s a short 2 minute video:

I’d encourage those in the waiting room to watch. It includes the important 5 questions you need to ask your leader – the answers may help you decide how long you are willing to wait.

Good luck and keep getting stronger even if you have a long wait!

Coach Pete

Sometimes leaving the family business is the best answer

I see many family business participants struggling to find both personal and family peace. They get so enmeshed in their family history and dynamics all of which becomes almost like a straight jacket in which they cannot move or see new perspectives. One client recently made the tough decision  to call it quits and move on. I see that as a great step for him personally and his extended family.

Leaving the family business has been like taking off the straight-jacket. He is suddenly able to move about, breath more freely and get a sense of who he is without the family drama.

My hunch, as their family business coach is that this is the best thing that could have happen to this young man and the family. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him come back to the family business at some point. I know this much, he has already gained a greater sense of self worth and courage. He has found employment in a company he loves and is gaining invaluable experience. He is finding room in his heart to have a healthy relationship with his parents and I see a new smile in his eyes and heart.

If you want to get a deeper glimpse into my client’s situation here is a video interview. Please encourage fathers, mothers, sons and daughters to be open to the idea of venturing out – it can be one of the best things to ever happen.

Mehmet + Instanbul = Amazing!

Executive coaching is about helping business leaders see from a different perspective.  It reminds me a little bit of my tour guide Mehmet last month in Istanbul.

We were walking along the gardens between Topkapi Palacein the Blue Mosque and Mehmet told me to stop and turn around.  We had the most spectacular view of historic Istanbul overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

It reminded me a little bit of the coaching journey I take with executives and family businessowners.  Like Mehmet I have been on many tours and usually know just the right place to ask people to stop and take a look.  Without him I would’ve walked right by that spot and missed an important vantage point.

I know it’s human nature to think we can figure it out ourselves, and many times we can.  But having Mehmet along made the process go simpler, quicker and more enjoyable.  I could have wandered around and seen many sites, but his expertise made the journey so much more fruitful.

And again like coaching, he turned me back out on my own in the city the second day but because of his guidance and experience, I was able to navigate with more confidence and ease.

I think I’m a tour guide for helping executives and family businesses have a more profitable and enjoyable journey.

 Thanks Mehmet!

Family Business Stories – Inc. Magazine

So many interesting family business stories!  I had the pleasure of sharing mine in Inc. Magazine:

The unique feeling of being born into a family business-it’s hard to describe if you’ve never lived it

 I was in an initial meeting with a client last week when he began to share with me all the feelings and emotions wrapped around being born into a family business.  Before he got too far into the story I stopped him and said, “believe me– I know what you’re talking about.  I was born into a 50-year-old family business which eventually grew to the ripe old age of ninety!”

It’s hard to describe that feeling if you’ve never experienced it.  In most families, the family business becomes almost like the number one son or daughter the family is so proud of.  Everything and everybody else can feel a little bit jealous and envious of how much attention the family business gets.  The business becomes a center point of discussion at holidays, family events and the evening dinner table.  It takes on a life of its own.

As a youngster growing up, you inevitably begin to either dream of the day you’ll join the family business or you have a growing feeling of disdain for all the attention and focus it gets in your family. Both of those paths are loaded with land mines!

One of the things we work on in our family business coaching is to help families distinguish between three systems.  The family system, the management system, and the ownership system.  The problem is with most families, all of those systems get confused and lumped into one.

Healthy families know how to distinguish between the different systems.  They pay close attention to maintaining separate identities within each of the systems.  It’s important for a family to know who they are as a family without the identity of the family business.  One of the most common challenges I see is younger generations having a difficult time establishing their own identity, value system, and leadership voice having grown up inside the family business.

In my family, like many family businesses, the founder or current leader of the business casts a big shadow.  That shadow or legacy can be a source of pride or a source of anxiety for the up and comers in the business.  We work with the emerging leaders and give them tools to be able to sort out and develop their own unique talents and skills that can build on or complement the skills of their predecessors.

When young business people can begin to create their own distinct and healthy identities, both within the family business and within their own nuclear family, they are well on their way to being happier, productive business people.

Being born into a family business is a unique feeling.  It’s something that I can now be so proud of, but at earlier points in my life caused a certain amount of uncertainty and frustration.  I was fortunate enough to have many life experiences, and a strong and supportive family that allowed me to create an identity outside of the family business.

Be aware of how your family business might be impacting your family system.  Find resources and tools to allow your family to have open and productive dialogue to create strength and health within three systems.

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
  • Comments Off on The unique feeling of being born into a family business-it’s hard to describe if you’ve never lived it

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!