At the beginning of the year great businesses, great families and great teams set goals for themselves. Great teams also realize that they need to continue to focus on improvement. If you were a great team last year, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a great team next year.
One of the things I’ve noticed family businesses struggle with, is how to measure their success, not just the obvious business measurement such as profitability. I’ve worked with a lot of families that have highly profitable businesses. Although, in many ways they are not very successful because there’s a lot of turmoil and conflict. These things are robbing them from enjoying the fruits of their financially successful businesses.
This year, I’ll be giving you many opportunities to measure and improve your family business team.
Here’s the first one I’m encouraging you to try:
Get everyone together and ask them, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how are you doing in the family business?”
Yes, the question is a bit vague by design. Basically, by asking this question, I want people to let me know how they’re doing in the family business. There are a lot of ways to measure that — financially, emotionally, physically, etc.
One of the ways coaching works, is to get people to open up and take personal responsibility for their own success and happiness. Good coaching involves open-ended questions.
This is an open-ended question that will create an opportunity for good dialogue.
So, let’s pretend the son in the family business gives an answer like this, “I’m a 7.” That’s great — that is a good starting point for the follow-up question.
“Can you identify one or two things that will help you improve your score?”
The son might say, “I’d like to set a few goals and get a few more strategic initiatives accomplished in my department this year. If I could get that done, I would be a 10.”
Someone else might say that they are 4. You would ask them the same question, “What would make it even better?”
They might say, “I’m constantly tired and feel overworked.”
That would be an opportunity to help them identify a few new practices OR hire another resource so that they do not have to feel overworked.
Do you get the idea?
At the beginning of every year, great teams sit down and identify areas in which they are doing very well. They also identify areas they need to improve upon. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Start with this simple question and ask people to put a number on their success.
What’s really important is to then give them the opportunity to take personal responsibility for improving their number and their success in the family business.
Get the family together again in 90 days and ask the same question. You will have opened the conversation to helping people report how they are improving or explore why they are stuck or not improving.
You can do this. There is so much at stake — you owe it to yourself, your family and the company’s loyal employees and key stakeholders.
Be a leader and get the conversation started. As always, if I can help in any way let me know.
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.