Resistance to advice with family business clients


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Resistance to advice with family business clients

  1. 1. The “Yes, but” Syndrome: Presented by: Dr. Wm. (Chip) Valutis Resistance to Advice: The Psychology behind why Business-Owners may (or may not) follow your council.
  2. 2. Real Life Learning <ul><li>Before we begin, take a minute to apply this to your client base: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think of a business owner who you’ve had difficulty moving to action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pick three things you believe contributed to the resistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What have you done to break through this resistance? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Revisit these answers after the presentation. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Owners of Closely-Held Businesses are Different. Why? <ul><li>They live in multiple systems (family & business). As such: </li></ul><ul><li>they juggle different agendas & visions </li></ul><ul><li>There is not one common problem-solving criteria to use. </li></ul><ul><li>Secrecy, doubt and skepticism is common. </li></ul><ul><li>Things aren’t always what they appear to be </li></ul>
  4. 4. Understanding a Systemic Perspective <ul><li>Everything is connected </li></ul><ul><li>Each system has a set of roles, responsibilities, expectations, rules, boundaries and history </li></ul><ul><li>Systems can be closed or open </li></ul>Family Needs Business Needs Owner Needs
  5. 5. Can you Empathize? <ul><li>How are you different? Similar? </li></ul><ul><li>How is conflict handled (different/similar)? </li></ul><ul><li>How are decisions made and problems solved (different/similar)? </li></ul><ul><li>How are accountability and consequences delivered? </li></ul><ul><li>What roles or boundaries are adhered to? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the dynamics in each? </li></ul><ul><li>If you are like most, the dynamics, behaviors and roles are very different in your “work” life than they are in your “home” life. Imagine blending them together! </li></ul>Think of yourself at work and at home...
  6. 6. Common Areas of Conflicting Agendas & Visions <ul><li>Inter -generational differences </li></ul><ul><li>Intra -generational differences </li></ul><ul><li>Needs versus wants </li></ul><ul><li>Needs of the business versus needs of the family </li></ul>
  7. 7. No Common Decision-Making Criteria <ul><li>Because members have different goals in mind, the means by which they get there are often quite different </li></ul><ul><li>Tend to be more self-serving </li></ul><ul><li>Not an agreeable style or approach </li></ul><ul><li>Roles/authority are rarely equal </li></ul>
  8. 8. Historical Perspective <ul><li>The Forever Young syndrome </li></ul><ul><li>Long-term memories </li></ul><ul><li>If it worked yesterday, it is a proven technique </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t predict the future, so play to the past </li></ul>
  9. 9. Secrecy <ul><li>Never sure you have the whole story </li></ul><ul><li>Can protect each other at the expense of the business </li></ul><ul><li>Closed systems do not allow outsiders </li></ul><ul><li>“Magic bullets” and “pixie dust” — expect to be fixed without risk or vulnerability </li></ul>
  10. 10. Things Are Rarely What They Appear To Be <ul><li>Control/authority </li></ul><ul><li>Compensation </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Hiring/promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Retirement </li></ul>What you see/hear is often not what is really occurring: Issues of:
  11. 11. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>Address the symptoms and not the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Keeps you busy but not productive </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent changes in priorities or agenda </li></ul><ul><li>You’re working harder than they are </li></ul>1. Failure to Identify the Real Issue
  12. 12. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>Advisors are quick to “solve” a problem with expert advice </li></ul><ul><li>Many needs (fear, security, self-worth, love) can’t be addressed in an estate plan </li></ul><ul><li>If we control the contingencies, then we think we can control the concerns (e.g., locks on your door) </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t have expertise in emotional problems, so we avoid them </li></ul>2. Solving Emotional Problems with Logical Solutions
  13. 13. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>Trying to please different Masters </li></ul><ul><li>Conflicts of interest </li></ul><ul><li>When, where and to whom do you report/communicate </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of clear criteria for decision making </li></ul><ul><li>“Don’t forget who’s paying your invoice!” </li></ul><ul><li>“You’re Dad’s advisor, not mine!” </li></ul>3. Failure to Identify “Who Is the Client?”
  14. 14. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>Having your hands tied </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of talk but no communication </li></ul><ul><li>All the wrong people are hearing what is said </li></ul><ul><li>Enabling </li></ul>4. Triangles & Confidences
  15. 15. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>Owners will often fail to disclose all of the information you need to do your job </li></ul><ul><li>Unspeakables, undiscussables and skeletons in the closet </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for serious problems </li></ul><ul><li>Warning sign is when you begin to feel crazy </li></ul>5. Unspoken Rules, Norms & Dynamics
  16. 16. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>We listen for “just enough” information </li></ul><ul><li>We fail to hear what is not said </li></ul><ul><li>We miss early warning signs (verbal & nonverbal) </li></ul><ul><li>We listen for data, not dynamics </li></ul>6. Poor Listening
  17. 17. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>Danger of not meeting real needs </li></ul><ul><li>Pleasing one while displeasing another </li></ul><ul><li>Making sure client knows and accepts their role in the process </li></ul>7. Failure to Define & Clarify Expectations
  18. 18. “Hidden” Resistance <ul><li>Map out rules of engagement and acceptable vs. unacceptable behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Let client know what you can/can’t and will/won’t do </li></ul><ul><li>Set milestones for touch base and review progress </li></ul>8. Failure to Define & Clarify Expectations
  19. 19. Keys to Success (Overview) <ul><li>Help to pick a common philosophy from which to operate </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify roles and boundaries with the owner/family/business </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver the Bad News (don’t join the system) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Keys to Success (Overview) <ul><li>Facilitate understanding instead of agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge your clients </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage multi-discipline interaction </li></ul>
  21. 21. Actions Toward Success <ul><li>How to balance the needs of the business with the needs of the owner? </li></ul><ul><li>What criteria should be used in decision making and problem solving? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a common goal toward which they can work? </li></ul>1. Help Pick a Common Philosophy
  22. 22. Actions toward Success <ul><li>Identify the different roles </li></ul><ul><li>Define expectations for each </li></ul><ul><li>Keep appropriate roles in the interactions; monitor </li></ul><ul><li>Remember your roles and boundaries as well </li></ul>2. Clarify Roles & Boundaries
  23. 23. Actions toward Success <ul><li>Candor builds respect </li></ul><ul><li>Be a reality test - call it the way you see it </li></ul><ul><li>Talk about what no one else will talk about </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be “yes men” advisors </li></ul>3. Deliver Bad News (when needed)
  24. 24. Actions toward Success <ul><li>Provide candid feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Offer constructive criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be overprotective of your business </li></ul><ul><li>Treat young and old equally </li></ul>4. Challenge Them
  25. 25. Actions toward Success <ul><li>Know your limits </li></ul><ul><li>Build a network of trusted advisors to help with clients </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate with the other professionals involved </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure no one is working at cross purposes </li></ul>5. Encourage Multi-Discipline Interactions