Tag Archives: Hargrave

Laying the Entrepreneurial Foundation

Anne Hargrave
Anne Hargrave

At a recent gathering of 100 family business and family office advisors, from numerous professional disciplines, there was an expansive discussion about what it takes to foster entrepreneurship in business, philanthropy and wealth management.

Over the course of two days, a few themes surfaced around specific actions parents might take to instill qualities often found in successful entrepreneurs, such as…

Create a Foundation for Resilience. Resilience surfaced as the most common thread in entrepreneurial success stories.  Healthy relationships, sound health, eating and sleeping well, and physical activity all create a foundation for resilience.   When relationships amongst people in a family are healthy, individuals can withstand stress, even trauma.  When you feel resilient you are more able to view risk as a means to reward (not an impediment), and gain strength and courage from difficulties.

Insist on Respect. 
Being considerate of each other, demonstrating respect, is the tie that binds, even more than love. When we allow family members to define themselves, appreciating and celebrating differences, they can then embrace their own strengths – fostering confidence and self-esteem. When someone feels respected they are more able to believe in possibilities and their own personal ability, and dream actively – a foundation of entrepreneurship.

Embrace Failure.  Treat failure as a given; celebrate failure.  Some families actively seek out failure examples at the dinner table, or in family meetings, to explore what was learned and how the experience can be turned into another opportunity.  Making failure acceptable and expected encourages resilience, courage and the inner strength to continue to move forward.

Look for Mentors. Encourage family members at an early age to ask for advice, learn from others, and shape and create opportunities.  Mentors can be found through school, athletics, community, social relationships, business contacts, and family members.  Entrepreneurs generally have a strong work ethic influenced by those around them who modeled the right behaviors.  Mentors can help frame up a vision for the future.

Share

Does Your Leadership Inspire Others?

Anne Hargrave
Anne Hargrave

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams

Entrepreneurial leaders encourage entrepreneurial behavior and innovation in all that they do, which enables others to see things differently, and capture and act upon the problems and opportunities they see every day, in all their walks in life.

Entrepreneurship is really a life philosophy composed of attitudes and behaviors that can be applied professionally and throughout one’s life.  An entrepreneur believes that he can affect change, that there is a better way, that opportunities are everywhere and that there are no mistakes.  Failure is just about learning, and it’s important to embrace innovation, change and growth.  By persevering, pursuing opportunities and being willing to take risks the entrepreneur influences her business, family and herself.

Be an agent of change in your family business, or family office, by designing your own dream, by looking outwards and by empowering the organization to do the same.

 

Share

Creating community…

Anne Hargrave
Anne Hargrave

Last week’s Time Magazine article, The Last Politicians, highlights female senators, from both sides of the aisle, who have been engaging regularly with each other for decades over lunch, dinner, bridal showers and play-dates.  Over the years they have created an unwritten rule of refraining from publically criticizing one another; they focus on what unites them and on listening deeply.  By getting to know each other well, they have learned to value different life experiences and appreciate their colleague’s ability to approach a problem from a different perspective.  Family business owners who spend time together having fun may find that it’s much easier to make decisions together when times get tough. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Help new executives avoid landmines…

Anne Hargrave
Anne Hargrave

When you start the process to hire an executive from the corporate world to work in your family business, be proactive in setting the stage for the person to be successful.  Explore cultural and job fit deeply, and reveal sacred cows early on.

Before starting the recruitment process, create a job description that clearly defines reality and highlights decision-making scope and areas of authority.  And, do the hard work of getting buy-in from all key family and non-family stakeholders.

Cultural fit is much more than a buzzword; it often exceeds the importance of skill level.  In order to use cultural fit as a screening mechanism, step back and have multiple people participate in a process to define the current culture, or the culture you desire, and then create a robust methodology for assessing cultural fit in candidates.

When you have found the right person, encourage them to stay within the scope of their area of responsibility and authority so they don’t loose focus and credibility.  Often people fail in their roles because they loose perspective on the nature of the relationship between the family and the business; setting the stage for accountability early on supports their ability to succeed. 

Any executive worth their salt is going to challenge the status quo – that’s what you want.  The sacred cows often found within a family businesses come as a surprise to a person from the corporate world.  By laying out the realities of projects or initiatives that are important to the family or the business, and are not up for discussion, there will be less chance of creating unnecessary waves.  Evaluating fit effectively and being transparent helps new executives avoid landmines.

Share

Trust is a Two Way Street

Anne Hargrave
Anne Hargrave

“I’m not sure I can trust my brother to handle that; he just hasn’t proven that he has what it takes,” a client said.  Too often family members place responsibility for trust on the shoulders of the other person, instead of their own.  Trust has come to mean focusing on what we expect, need or want from another.  When we lose confidence in someone, don’t see eye to eye, or our expectations are not met, we tend to react.  We don’t feel that we can trust.

If you don’t feel that you can trust a family member, consider stepping back and asking yourself some questions:

  • To what extent might there be a disconnect between your perception of that person’s actions and their intentions?
  • Might there be another way to interpret past events?
  • How do you differ in the way you respond to conflict and stress or solve problems?
  • How might you adapt your style to motivate the family member to be their best self?

Trust is a two way street – we each play a part.  And we can only change ourselves.

Share

Next Generation: Embrace Your Development

Anne Hargrave

Often members of the youngest generation in a family enterprise sit back and wait for someone in the older generation to tell them what role they can fill within the family business.  When they don’t get a tap on the shoulder with a request to join in, they can become frustrated and negative. The business didn’t get to where it is today by sitting back and waiting for something to happen.  Success was likely related to pursing an objective with passion, and staying aligned with values.   

Rather than feeling neglected or incapable, a next generation family member benefits from looking at themself as a work in progress, with resources from the family that can support their development.  In order to have a positive impact in the business, or the family, it helps to have something concrete to offer which will be respected by others.  It’s important to explore what competencies and skills need to be developed in order to be credible within the family enterprise.  Take a thoughtful approach to choices about how time is spent, what would be good to learn, and who you are. Explore the world and look for where your passion is ignited.  Look for ways to develop a set of capabilities in other work environments, so that when you present your great ideas to your family there is a reason for people to pay attention. 

By exploring, learning and developing yourself outside the family and the family business, you have much more added value.   

When you come back to the family with something to offer, take baby steps.  Begin by having conversations with those in your own generation, with the intention of developing meaningful connections.  Then start a dialogue with the older generation and present ideas from the younger generation.  In a healthy family system, the younger generation doesn’t need to ask for permission if ideas are presented respectfully, and within the parameters of how the family operates.  By bringing useful insights to the family, you may help in creating an empowered next generation.

Anne Hargrave can be reached at hargrave@efamilybusiness.com or 973-377-3079.  Click here to read Anne’s biography.

Share

Sitting with Discomfort to Make Progress During Transitions

Anne Hargrave

 

Increasingly we have come to expect quick fixes to just about every problem….   

It doesn’t work that way with family dynamics, especially as leadership roles transition from one generation to the next.  There are expectations on all sides – from each generation to the other, and within a generation.  Often expectations are not aligned and this causes a lot of tension and discomfort.  While it may be hard to hear, tolerating discomfort and disruption has value.  

Embracing those feelings requires patience, persistence and time.  Sitting with your own discomfort allows family members and the family system to evolve.  Growth comes when the family accepts that solutions and the way forward may not please everyone – that some amount of dissatisfaction or frustration are normal.  If you expect discomfort, it also may make it easier to think in terms of what is best for the family, and the family business, as a whole.  Quick fixes are often fear based or the result of assumptions.  Sitting with discomfort adds value in the long term. 

Anne Hargrave can be reached at hargrave@efamilybusiness.com or 973-377-3079.  Click here to read Anne’s biography.

Share