Since most people readily acknowledge they are conflict adverse, it is not surprising that most will not see conflict when it is right in front of them. Sometimes it has been there for years. Frequently, we have seen this superficially described as a “communication problem”. The reality is that conflict is universal. Whether it is having trouble deciding which movie to see, navigating a restaurant choice with a spouse, or trying to understand and get along with a senior manager in your organization; it is all conflict. Recognizing the existence of a conflict is the first step. When we help you resolve a conflict, it is gone. It isn’t a partial solution like compromise or accommodation; it is resolution. We help you get to the root cause and talk it out. The result is that the conflict is no longer there, and the relationship is strengthened.
Generational conflict is the disruption that arises from clashes between Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 -1982), and Millennials (1983 – 2004). In each generational group, the work ethic, communication styles, comfort level with technology, and attitudes toward authority, are likely to differ. We facilitate conversations that lead to understanding and cooperation so that the strengths of each get mobilized, limitations and issues get addressed and resolved.
Leadership Team Conflict
Unhealthy conflict within a leadership team is usually destructive. Most people try to avoid it. When conflict doesn’t get addressed, over time, feelings may often become more intense. It becomes a focus for both people. Whether people avoid each other or periodically snipe at each other, unresolved conflict will disrupt your business. We, as a neutral party, calm in the middle of conflict, help your people stop their destructive behavior and resolve their anger. We facilitate the ‘tough conversations’ that are necessary to resolve conflict within a team.
Managing Friends and Family as Employees
Managing and/or terminating friends and family can be one of the most challenging experiences for the business owner. Friends and family can easily become legacy employees; those whose employment continues and are who only marginally contributing. Worse, they usually are a “culture drag” in that others look at how this person is getting away with not contributing, taking excessive time off, has special access to the owner; etc. This often creates strong emotions that interferes with their alignment with the organization. Additionally, feelings of unfairness, anger and resentment are distractions so that they are unable to do their best work. With our outside perspective and an allegiance only to your organization, we are uniquely able to assess these situations and propose solutions that are both strategically and tactically sound.
Onboarding Friends and Family
Hiring a friend or family member seems to be an easy and natural choice because you know them and already have a relationship. However, having a relationship often results in us being blind to and rationalizing some of their weaknesses. Worse, later when issues arise it feels like it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to talk with that person. We help organizations rationally look at potential hires who are friends or family, examine their strengths and limitations to see if they are the best choice. Additionally, looking at the, “What if down the road a problem develops” scenario. Sometimes even though there is a good fit, an owner and/or potential employee may say no. The risk to a valuable relationship isn’t worth it.
Our approach to coaching provides an experience that is more than individualized, it is uniquely so. My training as a clinical social worker, post-graduate training in psychodynamic psychotherapy, and years of experience providing individual and group treatment inform my business coaching. Let’s be clear, coaching is not therapy. Psychotherapy is, literally, healing of the mind. Coaching is different; it is a collaborative interactive growth experience. Yes, the focus is on growth. Goals frequently include building trust, developing self-awareness, enhancing your ability to listen, developing and using Emotional Intelligence, understanding how and when to give and receive feedback, developing more vulnerability, learning to recognize your blind spots, and developing and refining your communication capabilities.
Business Succession Planning
Succession planning is frequently neglected by business owners. While statistics vary from year to year, those who have an operational plan is always less than 50%. That means if you are hit by a bus, your business doesn’t have a plan to continue. Frequently, particularly with family businesses, conflict occurs, and chaos follows. All too often this ends the business. Planning for this eventuality is essential and usually not complicated for the attorneys and accountants experienced in this area. As a member of the Exit Planning Institute, we regularly work with the other professionals helping businesses ensure their future. At Stanislaw Consulting we focus on recognizing the interpersonal dynamic issues, determining their root causes, and then facilitating and guiding the often-difficult conversations that lead to resolution. Having a business succession plan in place provides peace of mind for you, your family, and your employees.
Why Succession Planning Fails
Succession planning fails because most business owners simply don’t do it. Why? The primary problem is the owner’s and/or CEO’s ambivalence about addressing succession. Despite all the reasons we have heard; “I’m too busy”, a fear that there will be conflict, that it will take too much time, and that it is too complicated, these are not the real problem. Ultimately the issue for most owners is accepting their own mortality. It is planning for a future ‘without me’. We help owners address and resolve this frighting specter. We facilitate these conversations and shepherd you and your other stakeholders through this process.
Founders have devoted so much time and energy to their business that other pieces of their lives have suffered. Often the founder of the business has been deeply immersed in the business for decades. While not 24/7, it has often been day and night with short and/or interrupted vacations. And it is their ‘baby’. Often family members feel neglected, often conflict ensues, and the may family splinter. Frequently divorces and estranged relationships are part of the picture. We recognize the seriousness of this fall-out and help you address it. We have had engagements where we have facilitated healing old injuries and wounds.
Whatever your goals in exiting your business might be, we can help you achieve them. Whether it is maximizing your personal wealth, providing for a future for family members, or offering security for your employees we can facilitate a process that allows for your legacy to be realized.
Finding Your Successor
Sometimes as an owner you have already selected your successor, or you may be baffled as to who that person should be. If your interest is primarily in leaving a well-functioning business, the answer is simple. Hire the best person! Ah, but who is that person? Perhaps a family member, a particularly capable manager, or someone maybe from the outside. The primary question is what kind of leader your organization needs now. If you are the founder, it is likely that you need someone put together differently than you. Entrepreneurs function well in a chaotic disorganized environment. This is essential in the early stage of most businesses; simply getting stuff out the door. Later your business would probably do much better with a leader who is steady, helping your company develop systems and processes, scaling upward allowing for growth. We can help you determine what kind of person should succeed you. Further, we can help you qualify that person, particularly from the standpoint of personality and cultural fit.