Coach Pete discusses different personality styles in family business.
Hi, it’s Coach Pete. Thanks for joining us again this morning. Today’s letter is from Jeff in Seattle. And Jeff writes, “Dear, Coach Pete. My brother and I have been working together for seven years and I’m not sure I can take it much longer. I see several opportunities to grow our business, but my brother says we’re fine just the way we are. I’m optimistic and aggressive, and he’s conservative and content. I see huge personal opportunities slipping away because I’m stuck with him as my partner. What should I do?”
Great question, Jeff. I seen this play out with so many of the families I work with. In fact, it was one of the biggest contributors to why I left my family business after sixteen years. The underlying issue is what we call in coaching, style differences. And as I look back now on our situation and I think about it, here’s a concept, get this, if we’d have learned to appreciate each other’s styles, we would have been an even stronger team, but unfortunately people get stuck in resentment and frustration which leads to real issues in the business.
It reminds me of the days back at Walsh Brothers.
Trust me, we can sell a ton of them, make a bunch of money, work about the details later!
I’m not sure that’s going to pencil out, it’s going to take me about six weeks to crunch the numbers.
I’m truly worried about this. Some of our employees and customers might really be offended by this.
All right, everybody shut up. We don’t have any more time for debate, I’m going to get started on this right away!
Look familiar? A successful family knows you actually need a healthy amount of tension between the different styles. It’s what one of my clients described how they get the most juice out of the orange. The first thing you need to do is to learn to identify and name the different styles between you and your brother. I use a very simple and inexpensive questionnaire from a colleague of mine, Loribeth Jones. She’s identified four basic styles: earth, wind, water, and fire. You can find the link to the assessment right here on our blog and I’m telling you it’ll be some of the best $29 you’ve spent this year.
Sit down and map out your communication dos and don’ts. Really figure out what really works for you when others communicate with you a certain way and what really drives you nuts. Now here’s the most important part. Really start practicing having some self-awareness, you knucklehead. Really start to see your style and other people’s style in action and try to identify their style and see if you can modify your approach to speak in their language. Trust me, it will make a big difference getting things done the way you’d like to get them done. And then after you do that for awhile, go to your brother, tell him what you’ve been up to, and ask him to participate in this exercise.
Listen to me, you really do need these different styles, and the sooner you can begin to genuinely appreciate each other’s style you’ll have better decisions, better results, and better satisfaction in the work you’re doing.
And as always, send this e-mail on to others that you think could benefit, and send us your successes, your challenges with this drill, or your other questions you’d like to see us handle. It’s how we help all of the families in this community. We all learn from each other. Here’s a bonus for you: Send me your test results, I’ll compare them to all the other people I’ve been working with and tell you really how screwed up you are.
Now, get back into the game and play to your potential!