Family Business Problems? Ira Bryck, Solutions!


Don’t Worry- Nobody Knows How Much We Fight

Last night I gave a talk to the Babson College Family Business Club (really interesting group) and in conversation, one young man talked about working for a company where the boss didn’t sit at the head of the table, listened carefully to everyone’s thoughts, very occasionally interjected with a subtle course correction, and respected the group, including that he expected them to “go deep” in their thinking and creativity.

As opposed to the too common experiences of the leader not being able to control the chaos, or at least not lead them to the promised land. The topic of the evening was how family meetings and family councils could make all stakeholders more aligned philosophically, more attuned how that philosophy would translate into decisions, how communication between the family and business would be clearer if boundaries, policies, standards, et al, are thoroughly vetted, massaged, and implemented. All this on top of how lucky your family may or may not be, to be imbued with good will,  brain power, work ethic, patience, balance, joie de vivre, je ne sais quoi, and kop far gesheft (a head for business).

You can’t fake it till you make it with the vital ingredients to success, but trying your best at best practices is certainly going to get you further than letting it all hang out. Your employees, customers, suppliers, all expect you to control yourself, be your best selves, and practice doing your best.

You’d be wise to assume they see what you don’t want them to see, and they’d rather see you trying harder to create a workplace where they can thrive, and help you thrive. You will be their hero for making this effort. If this is not a competitive advantage, I don’t know what is.

I’d be glad to speak with you more about next steps your company can take. It’s inspiring to me to go behind the scenes with you and your people, and it starts with you giving me a call.


Ira Bryck    Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley    413 835 0810

Now that we are entering the season of Thanksgiving, here’s a short quiz

What habit should you really quit, cold turkey? 

And what makes it so hard to do? Does it have some weird payoff or comfort? What would be the hardest part to get used to, if you stopped doing something stupid or started doing something more effectively? Do people expect you to continue doing something that isn’t great for you or your company? What’s up with that?

With whom, and about what, should you talk turkey?

And why are you not, really? What would be the consequence of switching to a more honest and direct mode? Does it somehow seem safer to not be up front about what you have to say? Are you scared to hear what the other person would then be able to tell you?

What turkey in your life (or even in yourself) should you pardon?

What’s the benefit to you of not letting yourself (or someone else) off the hook, so they can live another day, be a better version of themselves (or yourself), realize that the way they were has outlived its usefulness? How would you then see yourself, if not as a guilty, shameful person? How would your relationship change, for better or worse, if you took your thumb off of their head, or your own head?

In competing with your company, what do your business opponents see as a turkey shoot?

Are you somehow complicit in letting them triumph so easily? Will you need to make a major shift or attitude adjustment to stop being such an easy target? Could you do business totally differently, if you no longer felt so threatened by that other company that forces you to be too cheap, too fast, too easy?

You may think there is no time for poking around like this.

But are you wasting time, energy, money, talent by keeping your nose to the grindstone? One reason there are holidays are to commemorate the important turning points in life, be they seasonal, historical, cultural, taking a deeper look at what it all means. Giving thanks, for instance, requires that you take a break from the treadmill and contemplate what’s happening all around you. Give yourself permission to do that, and enjoy the benefits!

When you are asked, later on in November, what you’re thankful for, instead of being stumped, or giving the same shallow answers, how about starting now to figure out what needs changing, so on Nov 23rd, you might say “I’m thankful I’m not the turkey I was in October; and here’s how I made the change!”

Thanks for taking the time to consider what I have to say.



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