Many times I feel like I am on a loop. Each family business I visit keeps telling me the same things. They keep repeating the huge problems they have with staff and their attitudes and their production levels…..and I keep repeating the same thing. In general staff respond to the culture you create in your own family business. As a family business owner you have full power over the culture you create in your family business.As the famous saying coined by Peter Drucker goes “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast”. Yet I still see various family businesses who do not understand the power of the cultures they create.
Let me try to be more specific by using some examples.
If for example, you have team members who are under performing, how are you dealing with it? Are you spending time to train your team members and most of all communicating clearly with them? Do all your employees know exactly what their role is and what their responsibilities are? Do they know how their role fits within the whole organisational structure? Is your Organisational structure well set out, with clear reporting lines? Do your employees know what is the performance requested from them? When they under perform do you just close an eye or do you have the necessary conversation to address the matter?
Many times, I see family businesses grumbling about their employees, when they skip many of the items I listed above. To add insult to injury they fill in the gap left by their under performing employees by getting involved in doing the work their team members should be doing. That passes on the message, that under performance is acceptable here, which then becomes the overriding culture.
The typical response I get is that family business owners are afraid, to face under performance issues or instances of bad attitudes with their employees as they fear that they will resign and it will be tough replacing them. I always smile at this and try to have family business owners understand that if they give in to any employee that threatens to resign when their attention is drawn to their under performance, that basically means that they are allowing that employee to set the culture in the company and basically to run the show. Is that how you intend to create a culture that supports the business?
Businesses need a culture that is going to support the type of organisation needed to enable it to succeed in the market that business is operating in. Businesses need a culture, whereby everyone understands that they are here to serve the business and not the other way round.
Such a culture can only be built if you, as a family business owner and leader, are trained in leadership, communication and teamwork, in order to be able to then create the necessary cultures that will support your business as needed.
Many business leaders I deal with, use 99.9% of their energy on just operational issues. They are like fireman trying to put out one fire (crisis) after another. Then they get frustrated when they see key persons within their business organisation, that do not pull their weight as they would like them to do. What do you expect if these people have never been given any proper outline of their role and how that role fits into the whole organisational structure and/or no effort was ever done in building an organisational culture that is in line with the needs of the business? What do you expect if you have been closing an eye for under performance, that is has now become the norm?
So my advice to family business owners is that a professional mindset will also help them in setting the right type of culture within the business. When employees understand that they are working in a professional business that is run by the appropriate structures, with a clear vision and strategic objectives and communicates clearly about what needs to be achieved by each and every person employed, all this will create a culture where employees feel the need to pull their socks and shape up.
The new Business Reality Check Service setup by EMCS helps to assess the cultures present in your family business and outlines what needs to change to make sure that your business is supported by an adequate culture. You can also click HERE to review what the Business Reality Check is made of. Feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions.
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