Posts Tagged ‘performance’

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.

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. 

5 situations you want to avoid before it becomes too late in your family business

file3441270327326I can’t tell you how many families come to me when the building is already deeply engulfed in flames (metaphorically speaking) and it’s probably too late to stop the fire and/or there’s been such damage done to the family and the business it takes years to recover.

What makes me so sad about the situation is many of these families were in a decent place on a decent course before somebody lit the match that started the place on fire.  Business coaching, and sports coaching for that matter, is all about building skills, muscles and ability so that when the ‘U no’ one hits the fan in the game you are ready to perform at high-level.  Unfortunately so many family businesses resist training and development until the you know what hits the fan.

Here are five situations you could avoid if you begin skill building and development while you’re doing well:

Becoming estranged from a parent or sibling

I’ve seen it too many times.  People aren’t good at handling conflict so they let all the conflict build up and then at some point it goes off like a grenade and they say things that are highly destructive, harmful and hard to repair.  They become estranged from each other and because of pride and hurt they are unable to repair the damage.

Losing capable team members in the family business

Either strong outside professionals or even strong and capable family members can leave a business because they can no longer stand the dysfunction or discord in the family business.  The exit of the employee significantly impacts the business’s ability to be competitive and successful

Developing physical ailments due to stress

Staying in stressful situations and not doing anything about it is one of the worst things you can do for yourself physically and mentally.  Sometimes the prolonged stress can lead to medical issues or substance abuse issues that might have been avoided had the family realized all great teams at all great Olympic athletes use coaching to improve performance, point out blind spots and help people avoid career limiting medical conditions.

Causing marital and family stress

I know this one first-hand.  When you have issues in the family business you don’t resolve, they almost always cause stress in your own marriage and  family.  No spouse or child wants to see their father or mother upset – especially with other family members.  This ongoing stress can have a seriously negative impact on everybody involved.

Wasting precious years in your career

You only have so many years in your professional career to build your identity, become an expert and be paid highly for your knowledge, experience and results.  Nothing breaks my heart more than to see someone spend 15 to 20 years in family business and then finally, with frustration and futility, walk away to start over.  The sooner you teach the family to be open to training and development the sooner you will be a highly professional family business and make the most out of your career.

The families that work on their own development and growth before trouble happens have a much greater chance of long-term success and happiness.  Don’t wait for the you know what to hit the fan.  It could be too late!

After the Fact

This is a very common form of coaching.  Professional athletes will review the game tape later and then identify what kinds of mistakes were made during the performance.  Musicians in an orchestra might listen to the performance after the fact and then identify some new techniques or practices that would improve their performance.  After the fact coaching is very popular and effective, but do not wait too long to do it!  There is something that some clients call an “after-action review.”  This is a great tool for coaching after a big project, presentation, or client event.  Pull your whole team together and do an after-action review.  In business, we so often are off to the next project and missing those learning opportunities.

Coaching Leader Quality 16 – Ability to See With an Objective Eye

At the heart of coaching is performance improvement.  Performance improvement requires good technique and attention to detail.  Coaching leaders can see performance with an objective eye, being able to discern the nuances of great performance.  Seeing with an objective eye is being able to suspend personal biases, either good or bad, and see the performance without the “story”.  You need to be able to break it down piece by piece, dissect it, and look for ways to improve.

Bill Belichick, the great coach for the New England Patriots, made his name in the coaching profession for his ability to see details that others could not see.  His objective eye enables him to analyze not only his team, but the other team’s performance tendencies.  Seeing this way gives him access to information that other’s could not see and ultimately became his competitive advantage.

Great coaches are coaching ALL of the time!

One of the most common mistakes I see leaders make is sitting down with some of their key performers infrequently and sporadically to discuss performance issues either positive or negative.

Great Coaches are Coaching all of the time!

Let me say that again – Great Coaches are Coaching all of the time!

If you’re going to be the kind of leader that inspires great levels of effort, performance and results, you have to be Coaching all of the time.  Frequency, consistency in your tone, message energy, and attention to detail – all of those things are going to add up to a great Coaching and great performance.