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The Full Picture Announces: Family Business Operating Dynamic Focus…Trust October 11, 2007

Posted by Tom in : Uncategorized , trackback

The Full Picture Announces: Family Business Operating Dynamic Focus…Trust

The Full Picture, a consulting business with a focus on Family Businesses, announces a range of services focused on specialized areas that Family Businesses face at different stages of their Operating existence.

Tom Horne and Steve Wallman, partners in The Full Picture, work with Family Business owners on many areas of their businesses. Let’s look at Trust as an essential element that underlies successful family businesses. We will also look at how and where The Full Picture helps to maximize Trust as a success element.

In family businesses, trust flows from what we know about (and have experience with) our family members. We are generally clear that they are honest, and competent, and benevolent. Even if they are not completely competent, we know our family members will work harder to accomplish objectives. We also know that none of our family will ever hurt the company or any of ‘us’. How do we know all this? Well, we grew up with them and we’ve been working with them, and we…trust them.

So, all family businesses work well because each member trusts one another, right? Well, not quite!

What is it about trust that affects the family business negatively? You see, trust is affected by communication, change, and how each family member’s values and personal circumstances change over time.

Communication is more often than not based on assumptions about what ‘we’ think and ‘how we’ve done things’ in the past. ‘Real’ communication is often defined as what we say are the arguments, and even silences, that happen between family members. We all have experienced this type of communication and we know how unsuccessful that is.

Now, let’s talk values. A family often believes “we all have the same values”. We’re from the same family…we must have the same values! As each family member in the business ages, they begin to get how erroneous that assumption may be. Phrases such as “I want more money”, “we are growing too slow”, “Quality costs us too much today…we’ve got to modernize”, “George just isn’t pulling his weight anymore”, “Tim only works 8 hours a day and still gets the same comp as I do and I work 16 hours”, “Helen used to be good at that job, now she is a fish out of water”, “Dad was so creative in the past, now he’s tired but won’t give up the reins” begin to go through our heads and cause resentments and mistrust in a family business. Trust begins to wane, even for those with whom we have had a close relationship.

Next, change happens. “New competitors are entering our market and taking business from us”, “the company is growing and cash flow is a challenge”, we need a new business model and we’ve always relied on our family for solutions yet that isn’t working anymore”, “Dad never lets me run my area without interfering, so I am leaving this business”. Do these sound familiar? Change happens on top of weak communication, and on top of unclear values.

All of this drives a decline in trust within the family.

The Full Picture works inside of these challenges. We work with the family in the context of their relationships where all the above dynamics exist. Family members unwittingly erect barriers to success over time in very subtle ways in the area of trust and are reflected in destructive behaviors, actions and interactions among family members and even extending to customers and employees.

We help the Family Members identify the Business and Personal Issues that prevent organizational goals from being met. We create a safe space where the family can talk openly and become clear about the real issues that are hidden from their view.

The safe space is created by allowing the family members the opportunity to revisit and share experiences that they had in the family that are unresolved. We allow them to talk about things that they were afraid of and not ready to address earlier and didn’t feel safe in the family to bring these issues out. What we facilitate is the Family Members learning to support each other and confront and communicate with each other in healthier ways. We help them to work on old family dynamics that need to be restructured in order to create trust within the family business.

Want to know how Steve and Tom and The Full Picture can help your Company achieve its goals?

tom@thefullpicture.biz T: 773-764-7646

steve@thefullpicture.biz T: 773-255-8189

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