Family businesses are perhaps the most complex organizations combining two different and potentially conflicting value systems – the family and the business. Very few family business leaders successfully implement a “both/and” approach to managing this inherent overlap between their family and their business to effectively prioritize both at the same time. Neither is right nor wrong per se, and both very clearly serve a purpose. The question then for any family business owner is whether or not you prioritize the family or the business. Or do you do both?
As summer quickly comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the many different leaders I have the privilege of coaching these days. One of whom actually took an extended 4-week vacation this summer, and another who worked her way through a shorter 1-week family trip to Hawaii.
Let’s be clear. I am not judging either of these otherwise very busy and successful results-oriented executives. One for leaving his team to their own devices for an entire month. One for not getting the quality get-away with her family that she had expected. I’m simply recognizing the value of getting away for some good old-fashioned R&R from time to time. The physical and emotional break from work not only gives our bodies the rest they need but also gives our minds the fresh perspective to contribute when we return to work.
Family-owned businesses are much more than just the oldest form of economic organization. They may actually be the most important to today’s economy! According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, about 90 percent of all businesses in America – roughly 5.5 million – are family-owned or controlled. More than that, these family businesses contribute over 50% of the U.S. gross domestic product, and they employ more than 60% of the workforce in our country.
That all sounds great, but the overwhelming majority of these family businesses will not succeed from one generation to the next unless we do something about it. Only about 30% of all family-owned businesses successfully continue from their first to their second generation. Third and fourth-generation family businesses are even more rare at only 12% and 3%, respectively. That’s quite frightening when nearly 90% of these same families’ wealth will literally disappear during that same timeframe when they don’t successfully maintain their businesses.
According to recent studies as well as our own direct client experience, more and more private companies are establishing Boards. Countless CEOs and business entrepreneurs are strong-willed, talented professionals in their areas of expertise and can’t imagine reporting to a higher-level governing body. These “experts”, however, may still be interested in assembling a group of dedicated Advisors who bring complementary talents to the table. Other executive leaders, especially those in family businesses, may take it a step further by assembling a group of Directors who accept greater responsibility for the governance of the companies they serve. These Directors actually assume fiduciary responsibility for the company’s performance and thus have more of a controlling influence on their CEOs and broader businesses.
My business coach used to ask me the best question ever – one that I always hated! Whenever we sat down for our one-to-one coaching sessions, the conversation would inevitably turn to how busy I was and how I never had enough time to get it all done – especially not the future-focused strategic work. While he was a compassionate person, he never went down the pity party path with me. Instead, he simply asked, “So whose job are you doing now?”
I think we all know that the CEO’s job is to define the future vision and strategic direction for the company. From there, the CEO then needs to make sure that vision and strategy is communicated to and carried out by everyone across the organization. Why? To make sure all their efforts are aligned and help move the organization forward towards achieving its strategic objectives. But is that it? Is that all the CEO has to do? Absolutely not! That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what a good CEO does in his/her organization.
What impact would being more productive have on the results you produce? On your leadership and personal development? On your business’ bottom line?
Imagine how much more you could contribute to your organization if you could increase your productivity. Even by just a little bit. Like other skills, productivity is something you can develop. You can cultivate it. It’s possible you could be more productive than ever before!
I support a lot of family businesses and regularly hear from my clients how they pride themselves on creating positive work environments for their employees where they treat everyone like family. That’s quite admirable, and I’m sure those employees very much appreciate it. The question though is what to do with all the employees who actually are family!
Family businesses by their very nature are complex organizations. It’s not just about managing and operating a sustainable business with a family business. It’s about the leadership and governance practices required to keep any family drama and unproductive relationships away from work. In multi-generation family businesses, we’re talking 20, 40, 60 and even 100 or more years of history running the company. On the personal side, that’s generations of family members living together and growing up together who need to work together to operate that same business. That can create a lot of added stress and anxiety – something that many family business leaders are poorly equipped to handle – on an otherwise viable business.
Eight years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “The 4 P’s of Olympic Gold”. The article was inspired by Shaun White’s amazing Gold medal performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Anybody who watched the Men’s Halfpipe competition that year though knows that White didn’t just deliver one Gold-medal run…
The results were clear before White even started his second and final run. He was still standing on the platform overlooking the crowd when he learned he already won Olympic Gold. In that moment though, he didn’t stop and do the victory dance. He didn’t take the easy way down the pipe with his board in hand. After what seemed like a long debate with his coaches about what to do, he instead looked down to his fans and did what a true Gold medalist would do. He delivered an even better performance than his earlier run, stuck his final landing, and beat himself for the Gold medal – again!
Ever wonder how much time your employees are wasting at work? Try Googling “wasted time at work” when you aren’t otherwise being productive, and the statistics may amaze you! Between cell phones, Facebook, and simply surfing the internet, employees these days waste an inordinate amount of time not focused on work while at work being paid to work. Research over the last few years has shown that this wasted time is costing companies billions (yes, BILLIONS) of dollars every year.
Now, what if you too have fallen into this familiar time-sucker trap? And what if you are a senior executive or other functional leader at your company? The cost of your being distracted instead of focused goes well beyond your own work tasks. It likely impacts everybody on your team and around you!
Have you ever wanted to change something only to realize that others don’t want to change? Whether you’re trying to implement a simple process change with your direct team or transform your whole company, organizational change doesn’t just happen because you have what you think is a good idea or because you want it to happen. People resist change for a variety of reasons, so it is critical to communicate what that change is all about to those who will be most affected by it if you want them to embrace your changes like you do.
International Association for Refrigerated Warehouses
Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Your Warehouse Talent
- Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2017
- Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm EDT
- Location: Online webinar
- Registration: Click here to register and receive more information.
Recruiting and retaining a quality workforce is a challenge for warehouses across the world. In a specialized and often difficult environment, refrigerated warehousing jobs can be stressful and demanding for even the most dedicated employees. So how do we attract new employees to join our companies under these difficult conditions? Maybe more importantly, how do we retain them once they are on board? Join CHIEFEXECcoach CEO Dr. Jeremy Lurey on August 29th when he will help distribution and warehouse leaders better understand the employee life-cycle and what they can do to enhance this employee experience. He will also review several best practices for attracting new employees to join our companies and then developing and retaining them once they are on board. Click here to register and receive more information about this engaging and interactive webinar program.
I remember years ago when the cost of employee turnover was calculated to be 150% of an employee’s annual salary. That amount included any internal recruitment costs, external search fees, and hiring and on-boarding expenses as well as the simple loss in productivity associated with losing and then replacing a talented worker. While that may have been more accurate for higher-level leaders and professional staff, recent research still suggests that the average cost of replacing an employee who earns less than $50,000 per year, or more than 40% of Workforce America, amounts to 20% of the person’s annual salary.
So is it worth up to $10,000 per year for you to develop and retain your most talented workers? What about $300,000 – or more – for your most seasoned senior executives?
Succession Planning: Strategies for Leveraging a Multigenerational Workforce
- Date: Wednesday, August 30, 2017
- Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm EDT
- Location: Online webinar
- Registration: Click here to register and receive more information.
Your organization likely employs multiple generations of employees, from Boomers to Millennials. With such diversity, how can you identify and coach your next generation of leaders? Which of their widely varying skills and motivations should be developed to have the biggest bottom-line impact on your organization’s future? Plus, there’s your Board: how can you gain their buy-in for a proactive and dynamic approach to succession planning? Join CHIEFEXECcoach CEO Dr. Jeremy Lurey on August 30th when he will share a proven approach for adapting to these rapidly shifting workforce trends in the workplace with you and other executive leaders. In addition to learning the crucial elements of a “NextGen” succession plan, you will also review an actual case study that shares real-world implementation lessons learned from a recent business succession transition. Click here or contact us for more information about this engaging and interactive webinar program.
I regularly facilitate Innovation Workshops with leadership teams to help them establish their visions for the future. During these sessions, leaders regularly ask me how they can keep their Mission and organizational Values alive after these highly interactive group sessions. It’s not uncommon for a Mission statement to have a very short life of inspiring others for a few months or maybe a year before quickly fading away. Just imagine if you don’t ever share your Mission or related Values with any of your new hires who come on board after the workshop how it would have less and less impact on the organization over time.
So how do you keep everyone’s attention on your Mission statement when so much time has passed? There must be a way to keep it top of mind as opposed to having it fall off the radar, right? The following are eight great ways to engage your employees in your business and keep your Mission and Values alive so they do matter to your work.
1. Road Test & Refine – Some leaders think that once they develop a Mission statement or identify some core Values that they will magically appear in their organization and positively impact employee performance overnight. Remember, when you draft your Mission statement that only a select few even know it exists. Sometimes, it might be just you! The next critical step is to road test it with other key leaders and refine it as needed based on the feedback you gather. Note I said “key leaders” not “senior executives”. While you will surely want executive buy-in, you may want to share the draft Mission and Values with your more influential employees, including select individual contributors and customer-facing staff. Most notably, wouldn’t you want your receptionist (aka, “Director of First Impressions”) to espouse your core Values and live your Mission in every one of his/her interactions every day?
2. Showcase Star Performers – Beyond having your staff acknowledge each other, it is incredibly motivating for senior leadership to recognize their star performers too. You could do this verbally during those same staff meetings. Consider how powerful it would be, though, if you distributed a message to all staff every Friday afternoon or perhaps the first day of the month to explicitly recognize those individuals who best personify what it is you and your Company stand for. Be specific about what these individuals did to live your Mission and Values as well as how they were recognized.
Last week, CHIEFEXECcoach’s Founder & CEO Dr. Jeremy Lurey facilitated two separate workshops at the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses 2017 Spring Chapter meeting in Leavenworth, Washington. Attendees included family business owners and several key managers from the larger companies across the region. The first program called “Best Practices for Designing Your Always, Ongoing Performance Management Process” reminded everyone that performance management is not a once-a-year task to complete for HR. The second workshop called “Succession Planning & Developing Your NextGen Leaders” then gave these leaders some specific tools and techniques they can use to inspire discretionary performance from their teams. As the new Talent Management service partner for the entire association, Dr. Lurey will be continuing to facilitate educational sessions like this at other industry events throughout the year.
An important aspect of being a leader is the ability to identify your team members’ unique talents and then help them to shine. By bringing out the best in each of your employees, you will end up with a high-performing team that is loyal to you and motivated to deliver great results. Here are five tips for empowering your employees and finding that “special sauce”.
- Identify Personality Strengths & Differences
Your team likely consists of a diverse group of personalities who each bring something different to the table. One great way to identify your staff members’ unique strengths and talents (as well as their potential stumbling blocks) is to use personality assessments like DiSC or Myers Briggs. These tools can help your team members increase their self-awareness and gain keen insights into their natural abilities not to mention promote interesting conversations and appreciation for one another.
Review the assessment results yourself and identify ways to use this new understanding to align your team more effectively. For example, perhaps that quiet, introverted member of the marketing team doesn’t speak much during meetings, but if given a chance she could write truly compelling copy or do a great job