(by Beth Adamson as originally appeared at FamilyBusinessEducation.com)
This is a series of six blogs comparing the characteristics of our great national bird, the Eagle, to the characteristics of successful family businesses. In the first blog, I talked about the Eagles keen sense of vision. We examined fearlessness in the 2nd blog. Today’s blog is about TENACITY.
Watch an eagle when a storm comes. When other birds fly away from the storm with fear, an eagle spreads its mighty wings and uses the current to soar to greater heights. The eagle takes advantage of the very storm that lesser birds fear and head for cover.
Challenges in the life of a leader are many. Like an eagle, a family business leader can only rise to greater heights if (s)he takes up the challenges head on without running away from them. So let’s look at TENACITY in a family business!
Here are some of the typical “storms” that present themselves in the family business system:
1. Family member’s employment
2. Spouses working together
3. Compensating family members
4. Equal versus fair in ownership and management decisions
5. Family ownership – entitlement or contribution
I was recently contacted by a family business leader who was facing the storm of his lifetime. He had made a business investment decision which had gone bad. Some family members were involved in the decision, others were on the outside, unclear of the details and the emotions were running high. Family relationships were rocky as the family’s financial security was turned upside down.
Decisions, decisions, decisions…. let it ride, hope everything just heals, or take advantage of the storm to bring the family closer and make the business stronger?
This particular leader decided to spread his wings and soar – to use the storm to face the fear and build something even stronger.
Through a series of facilitated family meetings, the foundational business is re-building itself, the family understands what ownership means – both the risks and the rewards, the family is communicating like a business when it comes to the business decisions and they are 100% supportive of a new venture that is leading them into the future. Family meetings included education for ALL family members-including in-laws. Once there was clarity around the roles and responsibilities, we were able to address the appropriate family, business and ownership challenges in the appropriate venue.
How does your family business react to the storm? Are you reacting like the TENACIOUS EAGLE or running like the others with fear? Be different – soar above the storm!