Sunday, March 24, 2013

Family 4 Generations

            I recently read an article that described the recent phenomenon that many businesses now employ as many as four different generations in their company. 

            These include:

     1.     Traditionalist (born between 1925 and 1942)
     2.     Baby Boomers (born between 1943 and 1960)
     3.     Generation Xers (born between 1961 and 1981)
     4.     Millennials (born between 1982 and 2004)

If this phenomenon can be found in businesses in general, it certainly also applies to family businesses.  How exciting for 3 or 4 generations of the same family to be working together to create a family legacy. 

But as with all new situations, there can be upsides and downsides.  Traditionalists may be unable or unwilling to change their methods or ideas, but may still wield significant power in the business.  GenXer’s may refuse to acknowledge ‘proven, tried and true’ methods that have previously served the company so well, bringing in new technology and new strategies.  Millennials are embracing totally new styles of communication and employment.  Baby Boomers may be caught in the middle, trying to embrace change and also acknowledge the facets of the business that have worked so well in the past. 

It’s a challenge for all generations to work to compliment styles and not let our differences tear apart both the family and the family business.

What generational challenges are you experiencing in your family business?

How has those differences impacted your family communications?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Telecommuting – what’s your opinion? By Guest Blogger – Kathy Moyer

Telecommuting has suddenly become a hot topic these past few weeks as Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer announced through a HR Memorandum to her employees that there would be no more telecommuting at Yahoo – period.  Shockwaves reverberated throughout the media and business world, but I’m sure they were mild in comparison to the shockwaves that must have been felt at Yahoo.  Let’s face it – Yahoo is an internet company. 

Shouldn’t they be leaders in telecommuting?  Apparently not.

            Marissa’s memorandum indicated that there is a need for all employees to be under the same roof in order to begin producing more creatively.  Apparently she feels that some of the company’s problems are due to the fact that employees don’t have the opportunity to work together creatively unless they are spending time together. 

Does she have a point?

            I remember working in office settings as a high school teen and young adult.  Our desks were in one big room – no partitions, no cubicles, no hiding from everyone.  Everyone saw how diligently you were working and producing.  Everyone overheard your phone conversations.  It forced you to learn to  focus on your own work and overlook distractions.  But the best part for me was that I could observe and take notes and learn from the others in my office.  They shared their knowledge.  They shared their tips and strategies for dealing with problems, they helped me learn how to deal with people, and they became friends.     
            When I moved on to  a new job, I found myself in a cubicle.  It felt good to not always have somebody looking over my shoulder, to not be interrupted by others in nearby proximity, to not feeling like I had days where I was constantly being distracted,  but I soon found the cubicle to be isolating.  It was harder to get to know others in the office.  It was harder to collaborate on projects – we were always looking for an open conference room so that we could discuss/hash out  the project/problem and then be able to lay out the project. 

            In telling you all of this, I am trying to relate my “cubicle” experience to that of telecommuting.  Of course, there are upsides to telecommuting – it’s much greener; you can telecommute from almost anywhere in the world, so your employee pool is infinitely greater; it’s lower overhead for the company in terms of necessary office space; it’s great for employees who need to be on call for children or elderly family members, etc. etc.  The list could go on and on.

            But there are some of the same downsides to telecommuting that I experienced in my little cubicle.  Lack of personal involvement, lack of mentorship, lack of camaraderie, etc. etc.

            So how do I view Ms. Mayer’s edict?  Well – she has chosen a “one size fits all” type of approach that I think will only serve to alienate employees.  Not the outcome she is looking for.  Instead, I think a better, more balanced approach would have been to decide which of the positions really need to be “in office” to generate the creativity/productivity she is looking for, while leaving the other positions open to telecommuting.   

Discernment is a quality of a true leader

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

How does a Business Family make sure the right people are in the right seats?

Bruce Clinton strongly believes one of the least developed assets in most businesses, including Family Businesses, is the people. In this challenging economic climate he states this has become more evident to many business owners who have experienced: flat or lower sales, morale issues and in some cases the loss of top producers. With Family Businesses trimming overhead, maximizing technology, outsourcing non-essential services, and instituting tighter controls, there is one area that Bruce believes has been omitted. That one area that has been omitted by most that will provide businesses with an ultimate competitive advantage…the ability to obtain and retain top producers at all levels of their organization. 

Bruce will define and explain a process to get the right people in the right seat with a high return on investment proactive process.

Read Bruce Clinton’s White Paper and join The Network of Family Businesses for a virtual educational Webinar on Thursday, March 21st, 2013 at 11:00 AM EST, with Bruce.

Bruce G. Clinton is the founder of BusinessWise, LLC, an executive coaching and consulting firm, which specializes in helping entrepreneurial organizations solve the “people challenges” associated with growth and succession by installing timeless leadership processes to obtain and retain top producing talent at all levels of the organization. He is a co-founder of ASearch, LLC a retained search firm that takes a unique organizational development approach to find key people. Bruce is an expert in organizational leadership, management and development, having spent over thirty years as a consultant in the field. He has run many seminars in management / leadership skill development. He is a noted author and speaker who appeared on numerous national convention programs.

Registration to join The Network of Family Businesses and be eligible for the On-Line Educational Seminar is available at:

For additional information email: