01 Apr April 3, 2019 – Family Businesses Tom Hubler, Disney Entrepreneurship Rob Mathews and Right Hiring Lisette Howlett
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Tom Hubler – President of Hubler for Business Families, Succession Planning, and Author of The Soul of Family Business: A practical guide to family business success and a loving family – Read interview highlights here
It is so important to talk about the idea of living a purposeful life. So that
consumerism is not what gives you happiness. Anything above a middle
class income does not increase your happiness.
When Tom Hubler began his family business consulting practice, he was one of few professionals addressing family-owned businesses in the United States. He integrates the notion of spirit in his work with family businesses and assists family business clients with succession planning, leadership development, business planning, board development and wealth preparation planning. In addition to consulting, Tom has served as a professional in residence at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis and served on the advisory board for the Center for Family Enterprise for ten years. Formerly he was an adjunct instructor at the University of St. Thomas., teaching Family Owned Business Management. Tom is a founding member and Fellow of the Family Firm Institute (FFI) in Boston. Additionally, he serves as a member of the editorial board of the Family Business Review, and has authored articles on success strategies for family-owned businesses and has been widely quoted in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Corporate Report, Nation’s Business, Inc. and StarTribune.
Entrepreneurs need to know where their sweet spots are, and they need
to know were their blind spots are. So many entrepreneurs think they
have to be good at everything, and the truth is they need to focus.
Dr. Rob Mathews is a long time entrepreneur and educator. He is the Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Ball State University. His new book Entrepreneurship the Disney Way brings entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership to life through the compelling story of one of the most recognizable businessmen and companies of our time. The author’s interviews with high-level executives provides the reader with a rare inside look into the way his company functions. Disney fans, executives, and students of entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership will find it a delightful and informing read. Rob is also Co-Owner of Mind2Momentum.
Lisette Howlett – Sandler Trainer and Author of The Right Hire: Attract and Retain the Best People
You need to be establish what your organization stands for, what is your
employee proposition? What is you are offering? What do you expect from
people that work with you?
Lisette Howlett is a licensed Sandler Trainer and has fifteen years of global change leadership and business development experience. She is called upon by business owners of small and medium-sized companies for strategy and business development. Her experience includes financial services, technology, pharma/biotech, manufacturing, IT, media, recruitment, and professional services. Finding and retaining top talent is the key to a successful enterprise, yet too often this vital task is performed in an ad hoc manner. Even when companies believe they have a formal recruitment process, it frequently involves a good deal of guesswork. In her new book The Right Hire: Attract And Retain The Best People, Lisette takes the mystery out of hiring with a step-by-step approach for selecting the most qualified candidates.
Adult children are not prepared for stewardship or the responsibility of money. They’re also not taught about their purpose in life. People do much better when they’re taught to lead purposeful lives. Then they’re able to handle the responsibility of money. We want to prepare our children for this responsibility, so that they don’t become slugs. It’s like a client from Georgia told me, “We don’t have slugs in our family, we all work, we’re all making a contribution. We’re all adding value.” That’s what’s necessary. Being good parents and preparing your children for this responsibility is critical. One of the things that I do with my grandkids is teach them about the value of money and teach them about family values around money.
When my oldest grandchild, who is now 22, was six years old, I said to her, “Kelly, I’m going to give you a share check.” And she said, “What’s that?” And I said, “From now on, every time I give you a gift, I’m going to give you this share check, and you and your parents can decide which kind of a nonprofit you want to give it to.” She worried, “Grandpa, does this mean I’m not going to get my Christmas presents?” I said, “No, Kelly, you’re always going to get your presents, but you also get a share check.” Later, she’s completing second grade, and she calls me and says, “Grandpa, I need some money.” I said, “What for?” She says, “I’m involved in the Heart Association.” I thought, that’s fantastic. It was my little second grade granddaughter, doing philanthropic things, creating positive money memories, and developing a sense of gratitude for blessings. So I increased the share check.
That’s the kind of thing that needs to be done with families who have significant wealth, where they need to develop positivity and gratitude for their blessings, and to develop a love of service and philanthropy. There’s a fellow named Michael Thompson from North Carolina, who said that service is on the outside, like prayer is on the inside. They get the family involved in service projects and philanthropy so that money doesn’t corrupt them.
I’ve had clients where one brother was promoted to having a vice presidency and a significant salary, while making significant sacrifices to help his father run a very successful business. He even sacrificed going to college to help his dad. Meanwhile, the younger brother went to college, then went to Europe for the summer and traveled around, and came back to get the same sort of treatment. That created a tremendous problem. The older brother left the company, set up another company across the river in Wisconsin, and acted as a competitor. The family wasn’t talking with each other.
One day, the older brother was on a rural Wisconsin road, and saw a car off in the ditch. He stopped to help, then another car came along and hit him. He ended up in the hospital. When he woke up after the surgery, his younger brother was standing there holding his hand and saying, “I want you to know that I love you.” Reciprocal love and commitment to each other’s success is what creates the atmosphere that prevents negative competition around money. What’s most important is that they love each other, and that they know they’ve got each other’s backs. That’s the essence of all family values; it’s family heritage. It’s all the successful things that have happened, and it’s all the things that have been painful. It’s what makes them unique and special, and it’s what differentiates them from everybody else in their industry. Their soul is that secret sauce that differentiates them from their competitors.
When I work with my clients, we use their family values to create their common vision. The common vision that they have is the embodiment of their soul. Using that and resetting it on a daily basis is what I ask them to do. Along with that is what we call a family prayer for loving-kindness, which is praying that their family be filled with love. So we’re praying that their family be peaceful, at ease, happy, and filled with loving-kindness. We’re praying that they be well and peaceful, so that they can be happy. The idea here is to program the family’s subconscious, so that they are able to create what it is they’re looking for. Another aspect of the soul family business is called kiting. Kiting is a Scottish word that means committing to each other at a spiritual level. The idea is that I would die every day for what all the other members of my family want.
One thing that comes up all the time is the kind of work I do. And I say, “My job is to help the boss be successful.” And whenever I mention the boss, everybody thinks I’m talking about their parents, and I tease them and say, “Sorry, Mom or Dad, I’ve just demoted you, you’re done being the boss around here.” The real BOSS is an acronym. The B is for the business and how we take care of it. That’s absolutely critical. The O is even more important, it’s the other members of the family, and what you want for them. It’s also about what they want, and knowing that we’re committed to helping each other. The first S is articulating what you want for yourself. But you can’t have a team of people only think about what they want for themselves. If it were the Beach family, we would create the Beach with the common family vision to unite the family at a suitable support and level. That would become the essence or soul of their family business. The last S is other stakeholders, and what you want for them. I would define all of them, the employees, the customers, the vendors, and the board as the family as a whole.
The goal is to create win-win solutions to help them become a vision-driven family owned business, as opposed to a problem-focused business. One of the synonyms for all the parts of the BOSS is psychic energy. There’s a mechanic named Chuck I used to teach at the University of Chicago, he said that families in today’s environment cannot survive without a regular infusion of psychic energy.
What’s important is to build emotional equity with family while building the equity of the company. Emotional equity is a synonym for the family part of the BOSS or for psychic energy. So the idea is that, as though you and I were brothers, you know that every day I’m putting my sort of spiritual energy into your wellbeing, and that I’m committed to helping you, so that you’ll be successful.
I was doing a seminar a few years ago, and I had a PowerPoint with these big circles. There was a family circle and a business circle, and they were overlapped. And this young man stood up and said, “The circles are equal in size.” He went on, “If my dad were drawing those circles, his business would be really, really, really big. His family circle would be pretty small.” And then he said, “If my wife were drawing those circles, her family circle would be really, really, really big, and her business circle would be very small.” And he said, “The next time you do the presentation, I think you have to mention that.” He was about to sit down and someone said, “What do your circles look like?” He said, “I’d rather not say.” He said that he was caught between two people; he really loved his dad and his wife.
The background was that two weeks prior to the seminar, Cohen said, “I’m in business with my two sons, my oldest son’s my heir apparent, and he’s been terrific up until two years ago. That’s when he got married, and my daughter in law’s a problem. Can you come and fix her?” And I said, “No, I don’t do that sort of thing.” What happens in family businesses, is that when the circles are overlapped, there’s an organizational problem that people within family businesses experience as an interpersonal issue. And the way they deal with it is to blame. For example, the dad was blaming the daughter-in-law. And after the seminar, the daughter-in-law came up and thanked me for inviting her. She said, “This is the first time we’ve ever talked about any of this sort of stuff as a family. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work together as a family to heal all the difficulties we’ve been having.” Oftentimes, the spouses were raised in a family of a different type, with a different set of values. And so when they come into the business family, they’ve got a job description in the back of their mind about what it means to be a good spouse, a good daughter in law, etc. And there’s the clash, and they don’t talk about it. The fact that they don’t talk about it is what creates and perpetuates the problem.
One of the big concerns is that business and financial issues often erode family relationships, because the family loses its perspective, because all it does is talk about the business. There was an article a few years ago, in the St. Paul paper’s food section, about couples who were in the restaurant business, who had divorced but kept their business relationship. That indicated to me that all they did was talk about the business. They forgot about the importance of their personal relationship, and they ended up getting a divorce; it’s a real tragedy.
I just had a conversation last week with a couple, where we were talking about the importance of work and learning how to be responsible, learning how to be accountable, learning about quality. And while it’s important for children to do well academically, it’s also important for them to take on responsibilities that help them add value to the family. What creates part of the problem is that kids get a lot of money to spend. And there’s no antidote to that other than service and philanthropy. And that’s why it’s so important to talk about the idea of living a purposeful life. People need to understand that consumerism is not necessarily what gives you happiness. According to the research I’ve read on happiness, when you make about $70,000, anything above that does not increase your happiness. Happiness is a function of leading a purposeful life, using your purpose as a means to help you become happy, and wrapping your life around your purpose for the benefit of your family, your community, and your higher power. All those sorts of things are what’s important in life. That needs to be taught to our children and grandchildren.
My book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I also have a website at www.hublerfamilybusiness.com with multiple articles and ideas about how to be a successful family business.