Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Family Business Mistakes #3, #4 and #5

In my recent blogs we’ve explored some reasons that family owned and operated businesses have problems and how it’s generally related to the inability to separate the FAMILY from the BUSINESS. We also looked at some of the ways this shows up in specific mistakes many businesses make.

Mistake #1:  The absence of clearly defined rules, roles and responsibilities.
Mistake #2:  The failure to treat adult children like grown adults.

Today we will move on to the other three mistakes that a lot of family businesses make and talk about how to fix them.

Mistake #3:  Assuming every family member is a good fit for the family business

Business success depends heavily on hiring the right people and placing them in the right position that allows them to use their greatest strengths for the company’s benefit. Clearly, if a particular family member is not the best candidate for a position, the business owner sabotages their potential success if they hire...

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Family Business Mistake #2

In my last blog I shared that one of the most common mistakes that can cause problems in a family-owned business is the absence of clearly defined rules, roles and responsibilities. Today we will address another major mistake that can seriously damage both your business and your family – failure to treat adult children like grown adults.

Continuing to treat the second generation as children carries heavy consequences, such as:

Good ideas and opinions may be devalued or dismissed. If “Little Johnny” was the class cut-up in junior high, it’s easy to dismiss his suggestions, even once he’s in his 20’s, 30’s or even older. Not only does this have the potential to deprive the business of creative new opportunities or methods, it also decreases Johnny’s confidence. If his input is consistently devalued, why should he try? Both Johnny and the business lose out.

Decisions may be reversed or overruled. If the adult child has a position of...

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Family Business Mistake #1

In my last blog I talked about one of the core issues underlying most internal challenges faced by family-owned businesses – the tendency to run the family BUSINESS as a FAMILY business. In order to succeed, some of the family dynamics need to be set aside during work hours so the business can be run by solid business decisions.

In the next few blogs, I’ll talk about the specific mistakes that have the potential to derail your success and make your work experience more frustrating and less satisfying.

Mistake #1:  Absence of clearly defined rules, roles and responsibilities

When most family businesses begin it is not uncommon for the employees to wear multiple hats – that’s okay and even necessary.  However, the moment a business adds a second employee, even if part-time, you want to put in writing the role and responsibilities that individual has.  From this list of responsibilities, job descriptions can be created. Just because the...

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Is Your Family Business Making these Common Mistakes?

Owning a family business can have some great benefits. For example, you already know the strengths and weaknesses of employees (no surprises), you can cut a lot of red tape to get things done, you can usually count on family to be loyal when things are tough, and you can communicate more openly (even if it falls into a familiar pattern of raised voices.) 

But let’s be clear; while there are special benefits, there are also challenges unique to family-owned and operated businesses. In my work I have found that most family business problems are much more about the FAMILY than the BUSINESS and inevitably involve human behavior and relationship issues rather than technical or money issues. Problems are almost always caused by family members making one or more of the top five mistakes common to family businesses. But first, let’s start at the root of the problem…

Are you a FAMILY Business or a Family BUSINESS? 

According to Quentin Fleming, author of the book...

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Give it a Rest: The Importance of Taking a Break

When I think about resting, something rather strange occurs. At first, I begin to imagine lounging on the couch, watching golf and (inevitably) falling asleep. But just as I begin to enjoy this image, I am yanked back into reality with the thought that dozing off to a lullaby of polite clapping and hushed announcers is just plain lazy.

This kind of internal scolding is a culturally-driven, knee-jerk reaction many of us have because we have grown up in an environment that values Type A drive and workaholism. “I do, therefore I am.” We have come to believe that our worth is found in our productivity, and our value to our employers is achieved in tireless, devoted activity with no thought of our own needs.

The good news is that the tide is turning, and workers today are less likely to be plagued by guilt if they grab a quick nap mid-afternoon or take a short walk outside to clear their minds, and some companies actually endorse activities that refresh their employees. This...

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How Do I Get My Husband to Help Around the House? Part III

In my first two posts addressing the question of how to get your husband to help around the house, I talked about two key components to the answer.  First, get rid of the mindset that you are a Volunteer Coordinator and replace it with a Partnership mindset.  The second part of the answer involves being open, honest and direct with your spouse about what you think, feel and need from them and when understanding is achieved, ask for agreement.

If your husband is willing to meet your need for equitably dividing up the responsibilities around the home and is in agreement with the final “plan” you are well on your way.  Congratulations!  The next step is to periodically review the agreement to see if it is working out as you both had hoped.  If it isn’t, continue to modify as appropriate and revisit again in the future.

This last post is for those instances when you might meet up with a little resistance or opposition from your husband. ...

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How Do I Get My Husband to Help Around the House? Part II

Today I will continue to respond to Sandy’s question related to how she can get her husband to help around the house. If you missed the first part of my answer to Sandy’s question please check out my last blog post.  I also want to reiterate that, with some couples, it is the husband who is more concerned about household chores than the wife is, so the principles I’m sharing can work for either partner.

First, the best solutions to life’s challenges are always those built upon solid principles.  The first part of my answer to the challenge Sandy is facing is based on the principle that husbands and wives are partners in their relationship and consequently share responsibility for managing and maintaining their home.

What I’m about to share with you today is built on two additional principles.  First, the principle of being open, honest and direct with your thoughts, feelings and needs and, second, seeking to first...

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How Do I Get My Husband to Help Around the House? Part I

“How do I get my spouse to help around the house?  I’ve been married for 15 years and I still don’t know how to solve this problem.  What can I do?”  – (Sandy L.)

Unequal division of labor related to children and household chores has been a growing problem, especially as more and more wives and mothers work both inside and outside of the home. It creates resentment and hostility and often leads to conflict. In fact, a couple’s inability to effectively remedy this problem can significantly undermine the quality of intimacy and connection in their marriage.

In the next several blog posts I will offer what I have found to be some highly effective tips for solving this very common and frustrating dilemma.

First of all, it’s true that more wives struggle with this issue than husbands, but I have seen plenty of men frustrated with it as well. So, although I will address the problem by answering Sandy’s question, the truths and...

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Character Counts at Work

It’s a classic scene from a movie: The crime boss orders a hit and the professional killer finds the target. He looks the victim in the eye and says, “Nothing personal. It’s just business.” I would argue that the situation is extremely personal for the guy that gets shot! It’s also deeply, personally affecting the ones who gave the order and the one who pulled the trigger. We cannot really separate what we do from who we are at the core, that is, our character.

So, assuming that you are not in such an extreme profession, it’s still important to remember that character counts on the job. Whether you’re president of a large organization or just starting out washing dishes at a restaurant, integrity, diligence and honesty are the keys to success and satisfaction at work.

It’s important to remember that character and integrity at work should not be based on external circumstances, but by inner convictions. Sometimes people tend to view a...

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When your Spouse Wants Out of the Marriage - Part II

Last time we introduced you to the first two steps of my recommended five-step response to when your spouse wants out of the marriage, but you don’t.  The natural temptation when we experience rejection is to hold on very tightly to what we fear we are about to lose, however, when it comes to relationships that is generally the last thing you want to do.

To review, the first step is to “go on the record” with what you think, feel and want from your partner.  The second step is to resist the urge or impulse to over pursue.  When you play the role of pursuer your partner is much more likely to play the role of distancer – even more so than they might on their own.

Here are the last three steps to consider applying when your spouse wants out of your marriage.

3. Set appropriate boundaries and be willing to follow through with them.

If your spouse is disrespecting your marriage by staying out late on the weekends, pursuing opposite-sex friendships...

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