Posts Tagged ‘results’

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.

Cousin Thinks He is the Star; Employees Think He’s Average at Best.

business-superman-955075-mIt’s not that uncommon for us to come across family members in family businesses that have an unrealistic sense of their abilities and impact. However, this can have a detrimental effect on the business as well as on the person living a bit of a… delusional life.

I have seen this many times. It happens for a couple of reasons. First of all, many family members assume greatness due to their name and lineage. It’s easy to see how that can happen. They grow up hearing stories about the founder’s vision, tenacity and accomplishments and they kind of fall into the trap of assuming all of those qualities were bestowed upon them at birth. We know that’s rarely the case.

The second reason it can happen is that deep down someone has a sense of insecurity, and so they overcompensate by acting as if they are the superstar, when in fact they are not.

These situations have far reaching implications to the family business. I’ve seen family members heading up key parts of the family business such as sales or finance, when they don’t have great skills in those areas. Having an underperformer in any area of a business can be potentially fatal to the business. Additionally, having an underperformer in a key role can be disheartening to other members of the team.

When you combine that situation with someone strutting around like a superstar, when in fact they are an underperformer, the effect can be downright embarrassing.

If you work with us at all, you will know that all of our family business coaching revolves around creating role definitions and results based upon the best practices of great companies.

Many family business people have convinced themselves they are great based upon their own scorecard. When we bring objectivity and business best practice measurements to the situation, it creates an opening for honest dialogue about improving family business performance.

Let’s go back to the underperformer. You want to create a safe, non-threatening environment where people embrace honesty and performance improvement. Lots of people kid themselves about their greatness, but strong, healthy family businesses face performance head on in healthy and objective ways.

Find a way to steer the family toward looking at performance, based upon best practices, and you will be on the way to improving the situation. Sometimes as coaches we can say things to people that no one else can say to them.

Winning: Family Business Dad Learning to Give Direct and Productive Feedback to Family Members!

file231263245813Yesterday was one of those days that gave me great joy as a family business coach!  Part of our process is to teach families how to have quarterly reviews of goals and business results.

At yesterday’s session, Dad was courageously giving feedback to the team.  There are a few things about this that are really exciting.

First of all, this father, like many others, found himself reluctant, uncomfortable and somewhat ineffective at giving feedback to his offspring.  What happens in most cases like this is that little or no feedback is given and results many times aren’t on track, and therefore resentment builds on both sides of the equation.

The second great point was, not only was dad putting himself out there giving feedback, the feedback he was giving was pretty darn good! (We still have some work to do J.)  In the past when he tried to give feedback, it often missed the mark or caused unhealthy reactions from the recipients.

The third thing that was exciting was to see his son taking the feedback like a professional getting feedback from the chairman of the board (vs. getting scolded by Dad).  That hasn’t always been the case.  In the past when dad tried to give feedback, the sons, in many cases, had emotional reactions and found themselves defending and justifying their behaviors.

In this particular session, the son took the feedback head on and head held high.  No shriveling, shrinking or walking away hurt and upset.  In fact, this son did the beautiful job of saying, “Thank you for that feedback.  Can you be more specific about what you saw exactly?”

I have to admit there was a certain amount of heat and discomfort as the discussion moved forward but it’s my job as a family business coach to remind the team that the discomfort represents building new muscle and makes them stronger as a team.

This all came as a result of this family’s dedication to practice, practice, practice!  It’s how all great teams become great teams, and stay great teams.

Afterwards I called mom and let her know about the great progress.  The reason I did that was mom, with her new found courage, pulled me aside last month and told me to be tougher on dad!  I absolutely love that we are all pushing each other to help this family business achieve greatness and long-term success! 

Coaching Leader Quality 5 – Produces High Levels of Personal Results

There is something I have always believed: you cannot teach what you do not know. In coaching, as in most things in life, if you are unable to personally produce a high level of results, those around you are not going to have great respect for you as a coach or as a leader. That does not mean that you have to produce the same type of results and the same type of work that those you are coaching produce, but you do have to produce at a high level in the things you are responsible for. You need to be able to model high-level performance if you are going to ask for it from others. If you were previously a high-level producer in the type of work that the people you are coaching do, that is even better, but not essential. The bottom line is you’ve got to be able to produce at a high level to garner the respect of the people you are coaching.
 

 

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Monday, November 1st, 2010
  • Comments Off on Coaching Leader Quality 5 – Produces High Levels of Personal Results