I had a conversation with a 3rd generation family business player last week. It went something like this…
“I was getting ready for the family meeting and I was thinking, ‘There’s no way this meeting is going to be successful.’”
I asked her a simple question, “Can you see how YOUR MINDSET could actually have a pivotal impact on how the meeting turns out?” She looked at me and said, “Yeah – I guess I could see that.”
My next question was, “What might have happened if everyone came to the meeting with that mindset? OR Everyone came to the meeting with a mindset that the meeting was going to be highly productive and impactful?”
New Focus Lens
I believe we get what we focus on. The more I believed Uncle Tim was closed-minded, the more I would approach each interaction looking through that lens. When I could “let go” of my assumptions, or even our past interactions, the more I could present the new idea with genuine optimism. I did that one day and I was pleasantly surprised when he gave the green light to my new (and somewhat pricey) idea!
What would happen to your family and your business if everyone had their best mindset?
Can you see how certain beliefs and attitudes might be holding back your business and your family?
Most people can understand this concept at a high level. The problem is they don’t know how to actually improve or shift the mindset. The truth is sometimes it’s really difficult to access those conversations within the family. For example, if I think my sister has a bad attitude about me AND I’m the one asking the question, she may not be particularly open to discussing it. She may not be or thinking about how to shift her mindset.
That’s where outside tools or facilitators can really help shift the conversation. One of the tools we’ve developed is a series of questions as part of a board game to help families begin to have some of these difficult conversations.
Right now why don’t you think about circulating this article and ask the family to come together soon and answer the following questions?
What beliefs or attitudes might be holding us back right now?
What would we say is the collective mindset of our family and the individual players on our family team? Are we confident, excited, happy, concerned, apprehensive, angry, frustrated, hopeful or cynical?
What do we need to do to shift some of those mindsets? What are one or two new actions or behaviors we can take to help shift our mindset?
Here’s a little hint for you
After working with families over the past 20 years, I found that many times just beginning to have the conversation helps people to start to examine these kinds of things. This is the first step towards making significant progress toward a better future.
I’ve been teaching mindfulness and mindset in both family and non-family firms for many years. There have been significant and dramatic changes in results and people’s ability to communicate and interact when they can get a more thoughtful and productive mindset.
Checking in on everyone’s mindset should be a part of your family meetings. Remember, mindset, like most muscles, needs focus and repetition to stay strong.
Good luck and play to your potential!
Mindset is one of 10 core skills successful families master. Our Family Business Decathlon Board Game helps your family learn how to interact, have fun and build new skills for your long-term success. Email me if you’d like to learn more about the game.
Pete Walsh is a demanding, courageous and playful Master Coach in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the founder of Peak Workout Business Coaching and the Family Business Performance Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.