How do know what people’s expectations are unless you ask them and they can clearly articulate them? In our experience, families have all sorts of expectations for each other and the business yet they haven’t effectively discussed those expectations.
They expect people the read their minds, I guess. They say things to me like “you would think they would know that about me!” or another one of my favorites, “Well I guess I just figured everybody knew that.”
If you want certain things from your family business and your family members, you better learn how to articulate what you want. That’s your responsibility! Don’t ask people to be mind-readers.
One of the core skills we teach families is effective communications. When the family can sit down with the right tone and mindset they can start to sort out everyone’s expectations.
Many people have unrealistic expectations in a family business and unless the family learns to talk about it they will continue to be tiptoeing around the landmines.
The most common areas where we find mismatched expectations are:
- compensation & ownership
- preparing to enter or exit the business
- perks of ownership
- being an ambassador of the brand
- providing input and direction to management
- business etiquette
Many families benefit from outside family business experts who can help the family sort out the reasonable and realistic expectations from the “pie in the sky” expectations.
Don’t allow yourself or your family members to sit back and hope people will read their minds. Learn to articulate what you want from others, be open minded to what others want and find the common ground. You’ll have a happier and healthier family.
If you want to find these or other landmines that may be laying below the surface in your family business check out our free Family Business Landmine Detection Map.
Play to your family’s potential!