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Title: The Soul of Family Business: A practical guide to family business success and a loving family
Author: Tom Hubler
Publisher: Lilja Press
Date of Publication: September 2018
Retail Price: $29.95
The Soul of Family Business by Tom Hubler takes readers on a journey through the heart and soul of family business. Using case studies from his more than thirty-five years as a family business consultant, Hubler explores what it takes to run a successful family business, illustrating how love is the foundation and family values are the secret sauce for success.
The Soul of Family Business covers topics such as the development of a shared vision for the family and for the business, tackling “speck of dust” issues, creating individual and organizational strategies to ensure a personally and financially rewarding business, and wealth preparation planning to ensure that family values continue to emphasize a family culture of gratitude, philanthropy, and living purposeful lives.
Packed with family business best practices and practical tips for everything from managing conflict to succession planning, The Soul of Family Business is an essential guide for family business owners and advisors alike.
Click here to read an excerpt from The Soul of Family Business.
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.
What’s an example of a typical client situation and what is the goal of your work?
There are three types of family businesses that are typical clients. They include a typical succession planning process between the senior generation and the younger generation. The second type is a family business where the senior and younger generations are already having some difficulty and there is a rub between them. The third is a family business where there has been a succession plan and there are a number of siblings who are working in a family owned business and are not getting along. It occurs to me that there is a fourth type of client situation, which is family businesses who have sold their business but are concerned about the impact of wealth and having wealth corrupt their adult children and grandchildren.
Given the title of your book, explain what you mean by the soul and what’s love got to do with it?
The soul of family business has to do with the family’s values, love, and heritage. It has to do with everything that has happened in the family—both good and bad things alike that create the essence of who they are. The soul of family business is their uniqueness and what differentiates them from all of their other competitors.
Love is the driving force in all family businesses. Love is an underutilized, under-appreciated ingredient that can contribute to the success of a family business. In terms of the 10 obstacles to succession planning, it is the number one issue in regard to the lack of expression of appreciation, recognition and love. It drives family businesses.
One of the concepts you highlight in the book is the B.O.S.S. What does that mean?
Normally when I mention the B.O.S.S. everyone thinks I am talking about their parents. I tease and say sorry mom and dad, I have just demoted you—your are no longer the boss around here. The real boss is an acronym that is defined as:
B - Represents the Business and what does the business need in order to continue to be successful.
O - What do you want for the Other about what the Other wants? The idea here is to have a reciprocal commitment to each other’s success, and that is what creates a team in a family owned business.
S - What do you want for your Self. It is important to be able to articulate what you want for your Self, but you can’t have a team if people only think what they want for themselves. That is the reason for the Common Vision, another integral part of The Soul of Family Business.
S - What do you want for the other Stakeholders, which I would define as the family’s role, the employees, customers, vendors, the board and sometimes the community.
One of the famous theories you mention in the book is: “Hubler’s speck of dust theory.” Please explain.
Everyone wants to have a happy family and most families go way out their way to make sure that they have happy families and don’t bring up the things that are going to be disruptive. As the result of that, they inadvertently create the very problem that they are trying to avoid by not taking about their differences. That is the basis for Hubler’s speck of dust theory.
Family members say if I bring that issue up its really going to upset our family and so I will let it go. And they let it go, and they let it go, and they let it go and it grows—that is what creates the problem.
What is the importance of legacy in family business?
There are multiple parts of legacy. Often times legacy is associated with money, but a recent study by Allianz indicates the non-financial aspects of legacy are 10 times more important than the financial parts of legacy. Family values, family heritage, family stories are an integral part of legacy and are a gift to future generations.
What is the Last Challenge of Entrepreneurship?
The Last Challenge of Entrepreneurship is where entrepreneurs make a decision not to leave their company, but to discover what gives him or her heart and meaning so that they can continue to come to the company and not be involved in day-to-day operations. It also means that he or she has to change his or her job description and become the architect and designer with their advisors and family members about the new ownership system and the new management and leadership system. In addition, it includes getting involved with your family and your grandchildren to help them understand the values that you have lived by.
What is the meaning of Kything and how does it relate to psychic energy and the “O” part of the B.O.S.S?
Kything is an integral part of the soul of family business. It is a synonym for the “O” part of the B.O.S.S., as well as is psychic energy. Kything is a Scottish word that means connecting together at a spiritual level and the idea is to Kyth to the other members of the family that which they want. The concept of psychic energy was developed to help families understand that they cannot survive in today’s environment without the regular infusion of psychic energy or what I call building the emotional equity of your family.
What is the business of gratitude?
The business of gratitude is learning to love the life that you have. It is the recognition of all of the blessings that have come your way. Gratitude is the way the heart remembers kindness—cherished interactions with others, compassionate actions of strangers and everyday blessings.
What are the two major obstacles to success in family owned businesses?
The two major obstacles to succession planning are avoidance and inability to have a plan. In regard to avoidance, in order to do succession planning in a family owned business, you have talk about two of the most difficult things to talk about in our culture—you have to talk about money which is very difficult for most families and, in addition to that, you are implicitly talking about death.
It is not unusual for family businesses to become preoccupied with whatever they do in terms of production of goods and services. As a result, they often fail to have a plan.
In order to have a successful family business, they need to have four plans in place. The plans include an ownership plan, management and leadership plan, a business plan, and a family plan for how you are going to be a family without the undue influence of the business.
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“The Soul of Family Business is all about creating and preserving a truly healthy family in business. Unlike most family business literature, this book’s focus is not best practices but rather the heart and soul of the family in business. Conflict resolution, recovery from substance abuse and family betrayals, forgiveness, and gratitude are elegantly and practically discussed in Tom Hubler’s book.”
–Ernesto J. Poza, founder of family-business.com, professor emeritus at Thunderbird School of Global Management, and co-author of Family Business
“Tom Hubler has written a book that is an instant classic for family businesses of all kinds… The Soul of Family Business reflects Tom’s consulting style, one that encourages family members to speak up and be heard, to feel secure and be listened to, and to be motivated and tested in achieving goals. Your family – like ours – will be better for having benefitted from Tom Hubler’s wisdom.”
–Richard Murphy, president and CEO of Murphy Warehouse Company, and fourth-generation family business owner
"The Soul of Family Business is a masterpiece packed with wisdom and stories from one of the pioneers of family business consulting. Business owners and consultants alike will benefit from Tom’s deep understanding of the intricacies of running a successful family business."
–Dave Wondra, president of Wondra Group LLC and past global chairman of International Coach Federation
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