I’ve certainly enjoyed more than my fair share of quality time on airplanes to contemplate some of the fascinating family business stories I’ve collected on the speaking circuit. It’s pretty common for professional speakers to spend a little time with audience members who confess their stories and share details about their family firm fiascos after
Last month I was speaking at a convention in Vancouver and took a question from the audience that made me laugh, even though I’d heard versions of the question before: “How do I get my 85-year-old father to stop coming to the office and causing all sorts of disruption?” Before I could answer someone in
It was on the 18th green that a friend who owns a successful executive search firm answered a question about family business leadership that had challenged me from the very first day I sat down to write Every Family’s Business. Finally the penny dropped. As he stared at his improbable 60-foot putt he opined that
For me, business has always been about dominating the competition – not just beating them but seriously overpowering them. Personal enmity has never driven this approach but rather a kind of institutional loathing underpinned by the idea that there is a finite number of customers worth battling for. I have never sought my inspiration from
When the sale of a family business is all about a founder becoming wealthy and their children losing their jobs, you can see why so few ever put themselves in play and sell. The CEO – the Chief Emotional Officer (Mom, and increasingly Dad) – just can’t stand to see the family pull itself apart.
I was speaking to a friend who owns a successful manufacturing business and asked him when he plans to sell his business”. His response echoed something that I’m hearing more and more from business owners in my audience. “I can’t afford to sell – if I sell and take the proceeds and invest in this
With summer approaching I know I’ll be back to consuming my favorite iced coffee beverages and despite knowing better, I’ll drink the odd one faster than I should, causing one of those excruciating brain freezes. Another kind of excruciating pain in the brain can come from a different kind of freeze – the estate freeze,
When the world’s largest speakers’ bureau sent me an email announcing that it had given me its Speaker of the Year Award, I was awash with emotion. My ego swelling with self-congratulation, I proceeded to moonwalk across my office – not pretty.
Sitting in the departure lounge at LAX, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between an investment banker and his younger associate. I learned two things. First (and most business travelers can relate), it is amazing how cavalier people are about discussing confidential details in public places.