You Canít Fire Me ó Iím Your Father!
By Ed Brindley, Publisher
Date Posted: 1/6/2003
Looking into a new year, we have a tendency to make some resolutions and look ahead with expectations of a better tomorrow. For me, it is an excellent time to look at the business that has absorbed so much of my energy for the last 26 years and examine ways to ensure that it will continue to be there for both my family and the industry I love so deeply.
I am fortunate that I have two sons, both exceptional young men, who are taking greater leadership roles all the time. It is easier to give up some reigns because both Scott and Chaille are so exceptional at what they do. Their strengths vary considerably, and each plays a unique role in the business. They are outstanding businessmen who do what they do better than I have any right to expect. I am fortunate that the Lord has blessed me with these two fine young men. Our business interaction has added to our mutual love and admiration. Both of them wanted to come into our business and share their considerable strengths.
Many readers face the same situation that stared me right in the face. How do you formulate a secession plan that will carry on your dream? There are many books on the market that help people learn how to handle this very important issue. "You Canít Fire Me ó Iím Your Father!" by Neil Koenig caught my attention. Part of the Kiplinger business management library, it provides valuable insights into what every family business needs to know for success.
Koenig wrote, "The business of a family business is business; letís run this outfit like a business." This has proven to be difficult at times. Separating home and work can be one of the most difficult things to actually accomplish. A balance between running a professional business and incorporating my familyís drive and enthusiasm is a challenge. Family time should be family time; business talk is part of business time, not family time.
A balanced life style where business and family are both top priorities is the best goal, but accomplishing this requires conscious thought. My two boys have helped me in this regard. While I absorbed myself in the business during its formative survival years, I probably grew to deserve the title "workaholic." My sons came along at a time when they could work hard with their business contributions and still be very active with their own lives. This is a blessing for them, the business, and the family. The last couple of years our family has shared a week at the beach; increasingly business talk is taboo.
I am resolving to do a better job next year of handling my personal life, of becoming involved in a wider variety of outside activities. As our business continues to mature, I can actually see some light at the end of the tunnel. When I was literally buried with the countless details in our business, it was difficult to get to the bottom of a pile. At times it was difficult to even make out a pile. Running our business more like a business is making it easier to manage. Hopefully this shows in our products, often in the little ways as much as the big things.
Using leadership and management skills from outside of the family is one of the things that Koenig discusses in separating home and work while learning to run your business like a business. Because there are four Brindleys actively working here, this is an area where we still need work. Harnessing my familyís energy to successfully run our business is certainly one of the biggest challenges and greatest opportunities I have faced in my adult life. We try to contribute our best as individuals while working together as a family and team.
Much has been accomplished but much remains to be done. Working together as family in a successful business is an ongoing, living organism. When the action is hot and heavy, sometimes a casual observer might wonder if there is any sanity, but most of the time the positive energy reigns. Any time that my sons get the idea that Papa Bear is losing it, I just reach on my shelf for this book and remind them, "You Canít Fire Me. Iím Your Father!"
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