One of the single hardest aspects of maintaining a successful family business is transferring it from one generation to the next. Only a third of family-run businesses will survive the transition from the first generation to the second, and while this is often attributed to the founding member’s singular vision, singular leadership style, or singular business mindset, the truth is that many of these failures are not due to a new generation unable to live up to the founder’s ideals but rather the founding generation failing to adequately create a smart succession plan.
Far too often, businesses become “family” businesses without much prior thought: “A small business needs new employees to expand, so why not hire the kids?” “We have a new role to fill, and our cousin seems good at that, so it just makes sense.” “My business is my life, so of course I’ll make it a part of the family; why wouldn’t I?” Decisions like this are often the default position, and it’s easy to see why. We know our families. We (generally) understand trust them, and even if they aren’t perfect, we’re used to dealing with their faults. Hiring outsiders can be a long, stressful, imperfect process and as the old adage goes, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Thank you to getAbstract for selecting The Soul of Family Business as their Editor's Picks Abstract of the Week! View the abstract and recommendation below.
We’ve discussed nepotism—the act of those in power favoring friends and family members when hiring, promoting, or building a business—before, but now it’s time to talk about the flip side of this phenomenon: entitlement. While entitlement can exist in senior generations of a family business, it’s most commonly associated with younger generations, where younger-generation family members feel entitled to certain rolls or positions of power or authority in a business by virtue of simply being related to the business owner or leader.
Minnesota Family Business Awards Call for Entry!
As the founder of the Minnesota Family Business Awards, which now is in its 12th year, I would like to invite you to submit nominations for this year's award!- Tom Hubler
See details below!
As a fan of classic films, I am always searching for films that apply to family businesses. I recently viewed the 1936 film, Dodsworth, that stars Walter Houston in the title role, as well as Ruth Chatterton and Mary Astor. Dodsworth, an entrepreneur, owns an automobile manufacturing company, who sells his company and retires without a plan for his future—not unlike many real-life entrepreneurs.
As soon as Dodsworth retires, his wife, Fran, begins to plan their extensive trip to Europe and throughout the process both Dodsworth and Fran encounter differences in their expectations for the trip. Their differences are similar to what my former colleague, Jeff Rothstein, referred to as “What’s the Deal?” Jeff’s assumption was that all couples have an implicit “deal” that is never spoken about and governs how they interact with each other. Jeff posited that when couples move into their 60s, they begin to discuss and question their expectations for their golden years. From Jeff’s perspective, this is an opportunity to dialogue and recalibrate your expectations and come to a common understanding about your future together.
Nearly all couples have implicit, unmentioned, assumptions about their marital relationship. As couples get older and consider retirement or changing their work relationship, many have not considered a plan for the future. They have no resources, no practice, no roadmap, and when they look ahead, they feel adrift.
Read the rest of the article at StrategyDriven.
I'm excited to let everybody know that I have recently joined the Board of Banyan Community, a non-profit rooted in the Phillips Neighborhood that helps transform lives by developing youth, strengthening families, and creating community.
Small Problems Ignored Become Very Large Problems
It’s yet another February, and that means it’s time to break out the clichés – love is in the air! No, this isn’t a schmaltzy essay about how “the business is like a couple in love” or some other stretch of the imagination. However, with hearts everywhere, and displays of love and gratitude on the minds of most, it does make sense to examine the cornerstone of a successful family business—a loving, supportive, and healthy family unit.
Family business counselor Tom Hubler started out working with disadvantaged kids (Originally Posted By Star Tribune)
He has spent nearly 40 years counseling family-owned businesses, including in a 2018 book, "The Soul of Family Business."
By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune
Tom Hubler was a working-class kid from Selby-Dale neighborhood in St. Paul in the 1950s who worked with disadvantaged children and families early in his career. He has spent nearly 40 years counseling family-owned businesses. His 2018 book, “The Soul of Family Business,” addresses typical issues and “provides readers with the tools and insights to build the emotional equity of their family, while simultaneously building the equity of their company.” That includes creating strategies to ensure personal and business success, “and wealth preparation planning to ensure that family values emphasize a family culture of gratitude, philanthropy and living purposeful lives.” This piece was edited from written remarks and a telephone interview.
Originally posted by Forbes on December 27, 2018
Chris Farrell, Contributor
Next Avenue, Contributor Group
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “new year, new me” coming out of the holiday season. In fact, you may have said it (or something along those lines) yourself while making a resolution going into 2019! But most of us have also experienced the issues ever-present when we focus only on ourselves during the crafting of resolutions, particularly if we work in small, tight-knit, or family-run businesses. Everybody comes to the table with new visions for how they want the family business to move forward, and how they want to move forward within that business, and sometimes these visions aren’t always immediately compatible. So for 2019, our challenge to all the family businesses out there is to—instead of (or in addition to) making individual resolutions—come together and craft what we call a Common Family Vision™.
December means we’re in the height of the holiday season, and that really does go for everyone—the number of religious holidays in December goes well into the double-digits, and this grows even further when factoring in secular celebrations. For business families, the season can be especially taxing, as many workplaces go into overdrive for the holiday rush, making it even harder to maintain a healthy separation of work and family life. In The Soul of the Family Business, Tom Hubler provides advice on managing work and home in order to make family celebrations more relaxed, personal, and meaningful for everyone involved.
Give your most precious gift this holiday season: Yourself
For many, if not most, of us the holiday season is a time to celebrate and express joy by giving gifts and going to family get-togethers. This year the season feels especially poignant in light of all the tragedies and hardships people all over the world are experiencing—record-breaking hurricanes, earthquakes and forest fires, unrest, saber-rattling and war.
Review by Barbara R Hauser, editor of the International Journal of Family Business
"This is a personal review. I first met Tom Hubler when I was a junior lawyer in Minneapolis and Tom was a family therapist working with some of our law firm’s family business clients, especially those whose lawyer was Steve Swartz.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches yet again, many of us are driven to reflect on the importance of gratitude in our personal lives, relationships, and businesses. Saying “thank you” is a reflex drilled into us by polite society, but so often carries little-to-no meaning or conscious sincerity, and taking a moment for honest reflection can help foster a healthier personal and professional life. Many of us are guilty of taking the entire concept of gratitude for granted, believing that our friendly actions, unconditional love, or even past statements of thanks will fully articulate our feelings of gratitude in any given moment. This is especially prevalent in businesses, where assertive self-confidence, fast-paced environments, and competitive cultures all work to suppress the emotional “softness” needed to exhibit sincere gratitude (of course, we put “softness” in quotes because the ability to express yourself emotionally actually requires a great deal of inner strength).
Article by AMANDA OSTUNI for Twin Cities Business Magazine
The family business consultant pours a career’s worth of advice into a new book.
“Sweep it under the rug!” “Don’t rock the boat!” “Take one for the team!” “Let it go!”
These are the words we say to each other when seemingly small problems arise. No friendship, work relationship, or family interaction is perfect, and we all have tiny issues in each and every interpersonal relationship that we often choose not to address, and it’s easy to see why! Nobody wants to be known for being difficult, bratty, or negative, because we risk hurting our relationships over “nothing” (especially if you’re like us and live in the land of “Minnesota Nice!”). But anybody who’s had a friend or loved one blow up over some seemingly trivial annoyance knows that clear and open communication, even about small issues, is important in building strong and trusting relationships.
Releasing on October 8th, Thomas Hubler’s new book The Soul of the Family Business: A practical guide to family business success and a loving family understands that soul, heart, and love are what keeps families together, and expands these important concepts to running a successful family business. While others may offer tips and tricks on keeping a family business afloat, Tom Hubler sees that the philosophical and the practical are one and the same: that purely practical advice about family businesses is meaningless without a deeper understanding of how families share visions, build trust, and communicate.
Given where you are in your career, what made you decide to write the book now?
I’ve been saying for some time that I’m playing the back nine, and as I round the corner to the end game of my career and my life, I’m happy to share what I have learned with others. It is my hope that what I share will help members of family businesses appreciate their uniqueness and understand what makes them special and utilize it for the benefit of their entire family and company.
We’ve talked at-length in the past about “leaving a legacy,” and hopefully we’ve been able to help make that slightly nebulous concept more concrete and approachable. We discussed how leaving a legacy involves passing on not just your assets, but also your beliefs, teachings, dreams, and everything else that helps craft a memory of what it means to be uniquely “you” for years to come, and categorized this concept into four “pillars” of inheritance:
Many funeral homes have been family-run for years, and eventually make the call to hire outside the family. Doing so can present a number of challenges.
If you already have non-family member employees, or you’re looking to bring new employees on-board who are outside your family, here are 4 common issues to avoid.
We were recently featured in an article by CRaKN.net about helping family-owned funeral businesses thrive for future generations. Read on!
Juggling your work, passion, family, and children is no easy task. Add working in a family business setting, and this can be even more challenging.
The reality is you know certain stressors will always be there when it comes to working in a family business. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to create balance and healthy relationships in your business.
If you start with these 3 tips, you can help “future-proof” your funeral home so it can thrive and continue on for future generations.
To keep reading & learn about our 3 tips: click here!
Take this risk-free first step in ensuring the continued success of your family business now. There is no charge for the orientation meeting other than out-of-pocket expenses for travel.
Does your family business need help with succession planning, conflict resolution, management or other issues? If so, we'll arrange a one-on-one orientation meeting with you and Tom Hubler to help you explore the possibilities of working with us. If you choose, your family and business associates can also attend. Here, in a relaxed environment, you can talk about:
Hubler for Business Families helps family businesses manage the boundary between their business/financial concerns and family relationships.
Hubler for Business Families and Platinum Group are merging to meet the unique challenges of family owned businesses.
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