Because family emotions and individual family member personalities get in the way of operating under standard behaviours you would expect in a successful company, the future survival rate for family business is limited.
Yes , I have had some screaming moments since March. Not at others but to myself.
i was recently asked to give an example of my best and worst experience when working with families in business. The answer to that question is all bout the leadership qualities and attributes of the family member who sits in the position of owner, chair or CEO.
If I told you the worse example you would not believe me. Those who stand out have the same common characteristics.
Commentary on the internet is overloaded with leadership content. In my experience working in and with businesses of all size, effective leadership is captured in the attached illustration. You can add to that encourage the heart, model the way and challenge the process.
Why have I had a stone replica of this turtle on my desk for the last 30 years?
It’s all about your appetite for risk & willingness to have a growth mindset.
In order to move forward a turtle must stick its head out.
Victorian business owners have to decide on difficult choices in this lock down and some are about future survival.
Some owners are in a state of anxiety and not in a good mental place and unable to see a way forward. Others see it as a time to look outside their immediate situation and develop a new way forward .
In my own situation working in isolation I go through a variety of emotions on a daily basis. Some days I am all about a state of positive psychology and on others, I am having trouble getting my brain into action and being motivated to get moving.
I know that I am not alone. That’s why I work to a structured routine, talking to others every day, informative zoom meetings only, new learning on You Tube, writing, looking to see how I can add value and walk 10 klms a day.
Be a turtle and stick you head out and look for a way to move on
This month I celebrate what I consider a milestone birthday. The one thing I have learnt from this COVID-19 shutdown is that I will always keep working. For many similar to me who have so much to give and share, the way to thrive post pandemic is to keep learning and sharing knowledge and experience.
The tipping point for me was NFP board member telling me I was too old to be on boards and she did not want older males involved. What is old? Tell that to world famous business guru Peter Drucker who was consulting past his eighties and was still relevant.
That's why my purpose in business is to work with families in business from bright young teenagers to founders who won't retire to achieve harmony between age groups.
Looking forward to a changed business world when we know what the hell that may look like.
Our regional food and fibre segments, which are mostly family owned and managed, are employing many thousands of Australians across the whole agribusiness chain.
We need to ensure the knowledge gap that exists within our major city population of the critical economic driver from farming is understood and appreciated.
Current world political events are going to place a greater emphasis on Australian owned and grown food.
The integrity of our bio security procedures should be further strengthened to ensure we set the world standard for what we produce and eat in our own country
As we come out of uncertainty in understanding how things might change the way business is conducted in the future. It become even more important to communicate with your staff. They are also uncertain about the future and the more you can clarify your business direction the more they can embrace it and support you.
Don't throw the next generation into the deep end without standing on the side to pull them out if needed.
If you cannot give your family members a chance to take on responsibility and let them make mistakes they will end up in an confused state that only leads to internal family stress.
This a very good reason why next generation family members need to get away from the family business and work outside in a couple of other businesses for a while. Sometimes parents are too protective of their children and tend to keep making decisions for them and never let them have command or control of what they do. They are overly protective and we end up with what I call Golden Children.
On the other hand, some parents are unreasonably tough and cause all sorts of stress and conflict for those on the receiving end. This stress is usually felt most within the next generation's marriage. The daughter-in-law or son-in-law is then is a no-win situation when they protest that their partner is being treated unfairly.
I have seen this in a couple of family businesses where an in-law has complained. They are then persecuted and it's not acceptable. In fact, it is bullying of the very worst kind and the emotional effect is long lasting. Regrettably it has lead to suicide.
Bill Winter is a renowned family business advisor and facilitator of the hard to have family succession conversations.