On-Demand: Attracting, Retaining and Engaging Talent in the Family Business

September 14, 2022

Join Natalie McVeigh as she tackles one of the toughest issues facing businesses today, finding and keeping great people. She will provide examples, tools and resources that any business can use to increase the likelihood of finding the right people and improving engagement and loyalty.

 


Transcript

Natalie McVeigh: Good afternoon, everyone. Exciting to be here again. I hear someone saying, no sound. My guess is you're going to have to refresh your own browser for that. Hopefully everyone can hear me. We're on our third webinar for LMC, as I mentioned.

Natalie McVeigh: Good afternoon, everyone. Exciting to be here again. I hear someone saying, no sound. My guess is you're going to have to refresh your own browser for that. Hopefully everyone can hear me. We're on our third webinar for LMC, as I mentioned. You might have seen some of these phrases in general, like, "Yes, we know we need to recruit, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." We're going to talk about it in the context of a privately held or a family business. There's some added benefits of just being a family business that you have. We hear about Gen Z and millennials really looking for mission-based organizations that are doing good in the world. Believe or not, that has been family companies from the very beginning. There's a great book on ESG and how it originated in family companies. There's this legacy thinking. There's a mission that's bigger than yourselves. Although some family companies are really large, it's not seen as the man.

And so, some of this might just be how you position yourselves, how you take ownership and how you describe some of this. We're going to talk about two things throughout this. Keep me balanced if I'm not hitting both sides. One is, your family employees and potential successors. Our next webinar, which you're hopefully already registered to, is on just succession. We're not going to go through the actual part of succession, but we're going to talk about what brings a family employee to the company, what keeps them, and what creates this dialogue and dynamic?

And then we're also going to talk about non-family employees. So think about if I have a family company for four generations, three generations, two generations, everyone who's been in the top leadership section is a family member. What does that mean for me as a non-family employee? Is this a place I want to grow and stay? The short answer is, hopefully it is, yes. How we talk about it and my own pathway of progression is going to be really important as a non-family employee, just like the opportunities for a family employee.

So keep in mind that I'm going to try to hit both of those and if I miss one, type in the chat, I see them, be like, "Hey, what about for the family employee or the non-family employee according to this?" You want to recruit employees, right? Half of talent retention is actually getting the right talent in. You want to make sure you're returning to what's going on in the organization, what you need. And you want to reengage employees if they're doing these quiet quitting thing you're hearing lots about. And that's how you retain them, right? This cycle goes in, some people call it the four Rs, people call the five Rs, some use the three Rs.

I don't really care how many Rs you have, but the important thing is our human capital is what makes the financial capital run. So, we need people to make this equation work. And we need it to work for them in the ways that make it engaging for them, because we're seeing that a lot of people are reevaluating their priorities. COVID did a lot of things, but one of the things it did is it let us know that life is short and we want to do things we care about meaningful. We spend a third of our life sleeping. Third of my life is me and the Sandman and my pillow. A third of my life is working. And the last third is marriage, kids, family, hobbies, everything I care about.

So let's put away sleep for now. We have 50% of our time at work and 50% of our time with everything else we care about. So how do we help engage people with that 50% of the time that we're responsible for as owners and operators of family companies? How do we make it a pleasant experience and how do we help people shift to a calling? And the research on this is really clear. There are three ways you can think about work. One, it's a job and that's often a chore. It's really frustrating and stressful. Two, it's a career, I'm building, I'm growing, et cetera. And there's still a grind element. The third one is a calling. This is my purpose. This is the thing I care about. It's why I love doing this webinars because this is what I care about. I can talk about this all day every day. And sometimes I do.

That third part, this calling actually is the one thing we've proven saves off burnout. It's not that you're doing 60 hour work weeks, it's not that there's not a lot of work, and please don't hear, "Get a calling and work your employees to death." No, that's not the point. The point is though, if you want to be a place and have your work be a purpose that engages people, brings them back, it makes these Rs a lot easier. You allow them to fully flourish and show up, family or non-family. And I know that probably sounds really ethereal, but we're going to get into it. We're going to get into how we create this for other people.

You've all heard this, Peter Drucker, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." And that's absolutely true. We say we hire people for talent, we fire them for personality. So, we really want to figure out what the competencies are. What are the skills, knowledge, abilities, the real tangible technical things that I need to know to get the talent pool functional and understand how that helps the business go this way? If I have the right skills but I want to go that way, there's going to be a challenge. We want to be going in the same direction. And then we want to determine the culture by which we're bringing people into. Consider how we behave and communicate in the organization. Are we direct communicators? Are we indirect communicators? Do we conflict regularly? Do we debate? What's actually happening? So that we can understand how the team is impacted by this new person joining or someone leaving.

And we're wanting to see the gaps, and that's the gaps for personality. So you have a ton of extroverts. What extroverts do, they talk a lot, they're idea generating. And sometimes extroversion has a correlation to also not being the executor, right? Extroversion has a lot of correlations to being the executor. So, if you have this team of extroverts and that's so fun and wonderful for ideas, you're going to need some people who also are able to execute that. And so if you think about this simple thing, extroversion, introversion. It is hard for introverts to be in meetings and participate fully, because they like to think alone. And so that's why I talk about the rubs as well. So yeah, you want to close that gap. You want some implementers when you have some idea generators, and yet the idea generation may make it really hard for the implementers to participate.

So we're going to talk about some tangible tools, and we are tool agnostic. Our assessment center has no less than 30 assessments and we are not trying to sell you assessments, but good assessments used well really help you figure out who is doing what, how they're doing it, and to talk about it neutrally. So, it's very easy to talk about extroverting, right? Versus this guy talks too much, he gives you a neutral language to discuss that. And the other thing, this is where we pop back into the family side. We're not just talking in generalities about employees in the whole world is you have these family members who are deciding whether they want to come into family enterprise or not. And my motivation for doing that can be really different. My motivation can be I've got the shadow of a founder really in the way. I'm afraid if I just joined the family company it'll look like I didn't try anything else.

So there's lot of barriers to entry. There's also some research out there that says, "You must work five years out of the company." I think we talked about this in the first webinar. If we didn't, I would say it again. For every one of those studies that say, "You must do this," I can show you a client family that did do that and it didn't work out. Where they spent five years out of the company and became incredibly successful somewhere else and then the family company wasn't as attractive anymore, because the other industry they were in or the comp in the other place was better. Again, not telling you not to have your family move out or do outside internships or outside employment, but there's an equal or opposite reaction that'll happen based on that. So weighing those.

So there's a lot of barriers for me to enter. There's a lot of roles for me to maybe use when I come in. I'm going to use me as an example because it's easy. But when I say me, think about any young person joining the family company. There's also this research on adult development that's really important. This isn't generations like millennials and Gen Z and Gen X-ers and silent generation and boomers. I think you all have a really good grasp on them. If you don't, message me, we can send you that information. But I wanted to pull that apart, because in some ways we've all done this arc. This arc I'm going to talk about this. This normal adult developmental arc where I'm a young adult, where I'm trying to figure out intimacy and isolation. Because the closer I am to you, the less space I might create in my own life for my own nuclear family family, for my own work progression.

And I'm grappling with questions of, who am I, what am I building? This is usually between 25 and 35. So between 25 and 35 there's this push pull dynamic. So, some of you have either been mentored or have children of 25 and 35 and you know that when you ask them for advice, pretty much they're going to be like, whatever, and you're wrong. Because they're trying to figure out their own way. This is how all of the generations, especially that's how boomers were, that's how silent generation was. That's how Gen X was. That's how millennials were. I think millennials are outside of this curve now. This is really what we're talking about Gen Z now.

But we all did this. It's normal, adult maturation. We call it individuation. And that's why I'm talking about it for a family company, because individuation in a family company is quite difficult. Because I grew up in a family and now I'm working with my family. Most of us who don't have family companies, like I did, I went off to college, got my own career, had a lot of space to individuate, because I didn't have my family expectations telling me what I should and shouldn't do explicitly or implicitly. We don't always say, "This is how you should behave." And then you have adulthood, which is like 35 to 45, give or take. And this is that part where it might look really self-absorb where I'm really figuring out what I'm doing, how can I be successful, but how can I be successful without omitting everyone else? And again, this is something we all go through.

You're really focusing on starting to mentor, starting to give back. But all of that is balanced then only if I can't, right? So you have these heirs sometimes in these family companies who might sound like they're saying, "Give me, give me, give me." And people are like, "Oh, entitled." Not necessarily, right? If you save all the inheritance till you've passed and I hope you live a really long life. Look at King Charles now. He's not Prince Charles, he's King Charles III now. There're a bunch of memes going around that he spent 70 years preparing for this job. And for, I don't know, at least the last five years, people were really questioning if he would ever get it. And I don't know, had she lived longer, would she have changed her succession plan? Not really up for speculation. But so there's this tension between the what's mine, what I need, and what I'm able to achieve. And although I think your children are amazing and wonderfully successful, that you have created a company they can potentially be part of means that you are incredibly successful. And so they're really trying to figure that.

Then you have maturation. This is that 45 to 65 phase. Unfortunately, adult development ends at this stage of research because people used to not live that much longer. You're actively today trying to figure out what that's 65 to 75 or 85 is and 85 past. What I do know about research and there's stages before this, like younger life as well is, as you age in these 10 to 20 block increments, your focus changes. So many of you, founder entrepreneurs are in this mature age or mature age plus where you're talking about integrity and this disgust and despair is, "Have I measured up?" So that's why they're just focused on legacy and they actually, clients say this to their father once where three daughters and they said, "You're giving us shares equally. But dad, you spent your whole life buying out your four sisters. Why should we three inherit the business together?"

And that's that disgust and despair. He's at the age of reconciliation where he says, "I know in buying them out," even though he did it fairly. I only worked with incredibly, amazing people, he did it fairly. He's like, "I lost my sisters in this process. And so what I don't want is this perceived or real inequity between you, therefore I want to make sure you have the shares together." So, he was a little bit judging his past and there's an adage like, "If what you did in your 20s, in your 30s or 40s doesn't make you cringe, you're not learning." So, what did I do, versus what I should have done? How I want to do this? And this is really about generative behavior. This is about large community focus, my family as a whole, not just my kids, my grandkids.

And the thing to know about these life and age stage change differences is one stage from the other is like grieving. If I'm right now trying to just get my feet underneath me, maybe start a career, maybe get married, you talking to me about this family legacy means nothing. I don't even have kids yet. I don't have a partner, right? Same thing if you're in the adulthood and you're talking about legacy and this person's really saying, "Great, mom, dad, your legacy, interesting, but what's my footprint?" It's going to be hard to negotiate this conversation. So the one thing you need to know about this page specifically and what this means for your family employees specifically is sometimes the answer is, not right now. Sometimes the answer is, not right now, not never.
And so one of the things you want to do as you're creating these pathways is create different places of when we can enter and we can exit, where we're not penalized. So where can we come in as maybe I do go to a different company for 10 years? Can I still come in as a manager later? I have this skills to be a manager. Can I come in right now and figure out my path of progression? Can I be here for 10 years and then leave for five and come back? Are there penalties for the choices I make today on my individuation path? And my hope is there aren't penalties. But like I said earlier, everything has an equal opposite reaction. So you can say, "Yes, you can take a leave if you want. And know that if you leave for 10 years you might not come back at exactly where you would have been if you'd stayed here for 10 years. Because there is something about the knowledge that we have here at the company that we've hopefully advanced in the last 10 years."

So, that's how you think about this with your family employees. For everyone else, you don't have this long-term relationship here. Although they're going through the same individual development stages like this happens to everyone, they're not individuating against you, because they're not in your family. So you're really trying to figure out what's driving your employee's behavior. So we use an assessment we call the DISC. You've probably heard of it, it's pretty simple. The difference between this disc and other discs, it has a motivator section. Because if I'm a D, I'm dominant, which means I'm direct and I'm fast. And literally D's spend some time that's different then other people spends of time. If you were a D, you probably hung up already cause I spent too long on that one slide. Seconds feel like minutes or feel like hours. That's why people push and they behave that way.

The misunderstood thing about dominant people, somewhat like the competitive people we talked about in the last course on conflict, and there's a huge correlation to dominance and competitively behavior, is they're actually like puppies. They just want to play with you and they want to jump all over you. So push, you can push back on a deep and they're going to forget that it was painful and you can mix it up with them. But their goal is to get things done. It is how they make decisions. That is their biggest focus.

Then you have influencers, you really know an influencer because they say the word we. A dominant person, because they say I a lot. And influencers really want to make a difference and they know that making a difference is really about me communicating to you and getting a bigger group to do that. Influencers and dominant people are extroverted, meaning they get their energy from other people, also meaning they learn through discussions. It sometimes means that every day is a new day. "I had a conversation with John today. We had this one plan but John gave me some really good ideas." And many Ds will not credit John, the Is probably will. "But I've taken it and rethought about it and then I talked to Terry and dah, dah, dah, dah." And so a week comes by, it was Monday through Friday and I've gone through five, 10 people, depending on how much talking I did. And now I come back to John and I'm like, "Great, John. So we're doing X, Y and Z." And John might be completely lost, because the version John and I talked to changed with every iteration.

So the thing for all extroverts to do, besides Ds need to be a little better about giving people credit, is all extroverts need to be explicit about how the changes are happening when they're changing, and really track that. The credits are nice to have, but the need to have is making sure everyone's aligned with those conversations, because it can feel really chaotic to family members, employees, non-family or family members. Because today is completely different then what we talked about yesterday. But for you it's fundamentally the same. You were having the discussion with other people.
Now we'll talk about the two more introverted styles. The steadiness. The steadiness is really a source and wanting to be safe. I don't want to hurt you. And you know what ask, because they say you a lot. It's really about you and what's going on. It's this quiet caring, it feels like a soft hug but it's not overt. You just feel kind of calm when you're with them. The pace is a lot slower. So the D I mentioned was decisions, the I is about people. The S, it's about process. Like, "We're going to figure this out. We're going to do it right." And they're introverted. So, the other thing to know about an S, and you may know this now, you may know you're married to an S after I say this, they don't forget anything. They remember it down to a gnat’s eyelash. So again, as earnest and caring as they are, and this is about you, "I'm reminding you honey, you said you're going to take the dog to the groomer yesterday at one o'clock, right?" That's one of the ways you know an S.

And so as I've gone through these, I've tried to poke fun at all of these styles, because I hope you understand that just being yourself can be annoying. Can you imagine the D who's just thinking aloud, talking, talking, that the S is remembering everything and brings it up the next time you talk? That the D might feel like they're getting caught out. Or the S may feel like the D's never giving them space to think by going on and on.

And the last style is this compliance. This is, as I said, it's decisions, people, pace, this is structure. Cs like to dot I's, cross T's. You know a C because they say it a lot, they're focusing on the project. They can also be fast paced, they can also be really incisive. Many accountants and lawyers tend to have the C compliance facet because they need to for work. And you know a C because they're usually inquisitive. Again, the annoying habit of a C is a lot of people think they're asking questions to catch you out, to make you look bad and they have the answer hiding behind their back. Cs really do not. In fact, that's how Cs make sense of the world.

This really breaks down a little more about how their listening styles are. And at the end of the day the listening styles vary from all sides. If you get into this argument of what's fact or fiction, at the end of the day, the true answer is, it's all fiction. We all make up our stories about what happened based on what we think we hear. And this is that motivator section I was talking about. Because you can have two Ds and everyone's the two of these, right? You have two predominant, one kind of one that you're agnostic about, and one that really drives you nuts about. And if we're both D, I or both C, S or some combination in there, you and I will still behave differently. This is just the behaviors, the pace at which I speak, the way I make discussions based on what I'm motivated by.

I may be motivated by harmony, balance. A lot of times people who don't like conflict are motivated by this aesthetic. I might be individualistic, which means I want it my way or the highway. I might be trying to do it to help others. I might be trying to do it to convey knowledge. I might be trying to do it to keep things the same, or I might be trying to do it really looking for an ROI. So this motivators helps you and I if we're the same style, we figured out our styles, figure out how to then behave relative to why we're using style that way. And that's really something important to figure out as we go on. And so you can chart your team on where they are, where they aren't, and that's the gaps that we were talking about.

I don't think assessments are the end all, be all. I think that they can help you at least talk about these things in a surface level to normalize behaviors and to help you decide how people grow. One of you may have had an assessment at some point in time that didn't work out well, right? It didn't work out well because it was you flex to my style, or everyone wants to talk to me this way because I'm this. What assessments are meant to do if used well is one, have a really robust, have someone who can help you understand the nuances. Because most of the reports are about 75 to 85% face accurate. And what someone who's certifying the assessment can do can say, "Okay, your numbers, not people who score like you, will do X, Y or Z." And that's very helpful.

It also then says, how can you flex without changing who you are? There's a reason why we don't change our behaviors in the workplace sometimes. Even if I know I shouldn't be yelling at you, I shouldn't be abrasive. Like, "Ugh, I can't help it. I do it anyway." How I know to flex and I can get over these things, and one of those psychological barriers is authenticity. Maybe my B, because usually these are that way, is trying to tell you, "That I'm telling you things you need to know because I'm being honest with you. So, how can I be honest and make sure that you feel like I'm also hearing you?" So, that's one of the ways that can be used. And so it allows you to flex, not just everyone meeting you where you are going forward.

And the last one I want to talk about, and this one you can do immediately. You can go to, I think it's via.com or the Values in Action Assessment, completely free for the basic assessment. This is your strengths. We've learned that if you use 6% of your strengths in the workplace, you're 60% more effective. So again, this is general, this is family employer, or non-family employee. I want you to be the best that you can be. And we can hire for people who can do the thing that you can't do. I don't remember if this gives you 32 or 34 of your strengths, it doesn't really matter.

But if you go and take this, hopefully wait until we're done with webinar, but if you're really anxious, go and do it now. You want to look at the top 10, but especially the top five, we spend about 80% of our time using our top five strengths at work. And then the other 95% using are, 90% using the other 10%. Your bottom 10, draw a line under your bottom 10. And those are just your workarounds. Those are not going to be something that's interesting to you, not helpful, and it's a waste of your time to use it too.

Same thing with your employees. It's great to have this shared. That's why I put this block here, because you can actually figure out your employee strengths, where it's going and where people can actually sure up them. So you could have, I'm going to use a stereotype here. You could on your finance team have a lot of people who have wisdom and courage, but maybe they don't have as much temperance. Again, bad stereotype, I'm not saying that's a 100% true. But then you might want to find someone on your HR team or your ops team to do that. And we're going to talk about a lot of retaining tools. But let me actually burst the bubble here and skip ahead a little bit. Part of retention is my own personal growth. I want to know what's good for me, not just what's good for the company.

And so we're asking ourselves now, we're at a transition point, a juncture of how business used to be done, how business could be done. And we're saying, "What are we deciding to do?" And this is what employees are telling us. This is why they want to change jobs and this is why people want to stay.

Compensation is one thing, but I can tell you, I've been doing this a lot for people, it's never just about the money. It's usually what the money signifies to people. So is it a title? Is it that I can grow? Is it promotion? Is it a team that I feel like I can be myself on? Oh, someone asks, "What's the website?" It's called the VIA, Values in Action or Character strength. We can send you that link after for that assessment. That's completely free.

They're looking for better work-life balance. I like the phrase work-life integration, because it is true that we spend half of our waking time working. So finding a way to make that work for us. Lack of recognition, the corporate culture. And even if you haven't created a values, vision, mission state in which hopefully you have a corporate culture and it's likely very similar to the founder entrepreneur. When I started my business, my ways worked, right? I was setting the culture without having to write anything down. The values don't align with their own personal values, the company's. And a lack of strong relationship with peers. There's some interesting research that says, if you have a work best friend, people are more happy.

Now here's the converse why people are staying. They are finding that work-life balance, so you can support them. I don't know if you're an urgent person who needs to do things now. You write the email, you send it later, you can actually set up in Outlook that it sends at times when you're in work. You're recognizing and appreciating people. Even if it might not feel natural to you, you might have been growing up in the school of, no news is good news.
And the easiest way to recognize people is to be very specific. So, I had some people help me with this presentation today and I was very specific about how their help supported me and what it meant to me. Not just, "Good job, guys." That's one of those things that recognition that's not meaningful can be challenging. Being able to work with your manager, give feedback. It means values alignment. Hopefully your values are explicit. If they are not, this is one of those times to make them explicit. There's a great book, The Culture Code by Dan Coyle, C-O-Y-L-E. And it says that we need to communicate our values and mission 10 times more than we think we do. And I've seen this, I go into companies and I ask them if they have values and mission, and sometimes they do and they will say that they do, but no one can tell me what they are. And that means they're not learned. They're not living, breathing documents.

So, if people want flexible options for work, some of you can't have physical locations that we need to go in. But how do we make showing up in the office as flexible as possible? Do we have starting, ending times that differ? Diversity, equity, inclusion, which leads to bringing your whole self to work. This at the end of the day allows people to just be themselves. And that strengths assessment I was talking about may be one of the first ways to do that. If I'm an unstructured person, that doesn't mean I, feel free to let me miss my deadlines, but feel free to let me find the structure that works to work within the larger organizational structure that we're looking at here.
And this is a great time to reevaluate who your employees are. Again, why the assessments can help. They don't have to. But a lot of high-performing people you might assume have this individual motivating. You might think it's about them and their accessibility, et cetera, et cetera. What often happens is it's not that way. It could be that they're just trying to teach, right? It could be that they're theoretical, or it could be their social motivator. They care so much. So try to figure out what they're trying to do and how it can work in the organization. One of the best employee retention pieces out there, believe it or not, is creating really excited alums.

So LMC, we'll just call you all LMC right now. LMC has an amazing alum program that they go work at other companies, they even go on to hoteliers or they go work in different lumber mills. We're so proud of our alums, whether they're here or not, but it's true that we value them as individuals. And believe it or not, there's a lot of moving around these days for employees, but there's a lot of boomerang where people come back realizing the grass isn't always greener. So, that's one of the ways to help work on this.
Not only you're re-engaging with your employees, but you're going to reengage with yourself. We were all doing crisis management, we were all strategic pivoting. And now is the time to say, "Okay, what do I need? How can I best be there for my people? And how can I figure out ways to share with other people and to allow them the space to figure out what they're doing?" When we're in crisis, we tend to more micromanage. We tend to pull away from people. And I think I mentioned this more of the webinars. We were seeing a reverse succession in family companies actually during COVID. And we will bring in the founder entrepreneur who'd already stepped away and was either chairman of the board or happily on the golf course. Believe me, I didn't hear any of those founder entrepreneurs who pulled back and the company's complaining.

But we did that because many of the employees who've been around for 10, 15 years have been around during really good times and didn't know how to manage in a way where they were less successful times. And they had become a little autocratic. They had to say, "This is how we're going to do it." But now stepping back and saying, "Okay, how do I share my wisdom? How do I share what I think I know and let you make it yours?" Because we can't always pull our founder entrepreneurs back into the companies, because at some point in time they won't be here. And it disables our current leadership to be able to be lead at the capacity by which they need to do things.

Also, feel free to ask your questions along the way if there's something we're not covering for you all that might be helpful to make this a meaningful session. Here's a way to reengage with your employees. Yes, one-on-one meetings. I know everyone knows about one-on-one meetings. You've been to a Vistage or a YPO, someone has told you about one-on-one meetings. But real one-on-one meetings, I would be, well I'm shocked, but a lot of my clients have these 15 minute or 30 minute one-on-ones. You can't both connect with people and have a conversation in that spare time. So, you can have less frequent one-on-ones, maybe you don't have to be weekly, but your one-on-one should be an hour that you have an agenda that isn't just task focused. And that agenda should have some questions in it that give me time and you time to think about beforehand to have a really, really productive conversation.

Also, stay interviews. What would keep you here? Allow people to say this openly. You can have this through third-party interviews or surveys, which are some of the options down there. So people feel like they can stay or speak freely. Sorry, not stay. Hopefully they will stay as a result of this. But when we have these times when our employee comes to us and says, "I had a better offer somewhere else." By the time we already give them that amount of money, sometimes they're halfway out the door, it's hard to retain them. And then our trust in them is also a little bit damaged where we think that it's someone who was willing to lead.

Have times to meet with leadership, could be the owner, could be the CEO. Really informal times where there's no agenda, especially at a family company. Really seeing those family leaders around is very helpful. Because a lot of people really want to know how we can engage with ownership. We call this emotional ownership. So how do I communicate with you in a way that allows you to feel like you have ownership of the business, even if it might not be the tangible ownership? That you own a process, that you own a protocol?

And this last one is individual development plans or personal development plan. We often put people on these plans when they have made a mistake. We would create a PDP when you're in trouble. I'd ask you to normalize an individual developmental plan when people aren't in trouble. When people are able to just figure out what they're learning before there's a challenge. And if you remember nothing else from today, this slide, this is how you engage or reengage with a new role. We tend to be mentors with the right side of that book, "This is how I did it, this is what worked for me. In my experience, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Like everyone's favorite subject is themselves.
And we can regale you with how awesome we are because I know you all are amazing leaders, but it doesn't leave room for the other person in the room. It also means that, remember hopscotch, it means that I'm working really hard to try to hop in those boxes that you've outlaid exactly like you have. And hopscotch is a pretty simple game. Remember, as a kid really struggling and the more complex patterns people did, the less it worked out.

So the real challenge is to not be a mentor, and there is an appropriate time and a place to mentor. But the real answer is to switch from a coach. To believe that our employees have the information inside of them, but they may even have new information we don't know. That's the innovative nature. And we pull the information from them by asking questions, not that we know the answer to. You've all done this, you've asked a question of, "Well, have you tried it?" Like I do, "Have you tried plugging it in and plugging it out? Or turning on, turning it off? Unplugging it and plugging it?" That's not a coaching question. A coaching question is, "That's interesting. Your computer's not working. What do you think to be contributed to that? What are the components a computer needs to work?" And they can explain, it was a blue screen of death or they heard a popping sound. You get them to form their own ideas, their own solutions and to start being strategic thinkers.

That's really what most founder entrepreneurs and CEOs are. That's the difference between being a manager and employee and executive leader. Which again, if we're thinking succession, that's what you're looking for.

You're helping them create these opportunities, see the challenges. And at some point in time if they're really struggling, then you ask a couple more directed questions, hopefully not that have the answer embedded in them. To really check their thinking, find out where they're doing things, encourage them, and allow some pretty safe failures. We learn from failure and we'll learn in a way that we'll remember. And in fact, the largest CEO research study said that CEOs all had four things in common, and one of them was that they've failed. And so you want to create an organization where they have a chance to learn from their own failures.

And retention really has to do with answering this question. Why am I here? You guys have been very quiet. I haven't seen any questions in the chat box. But I'd like, if you don't mind, again, it'll be anonymous, but why should someone stay at your company? Why are you an employer of choice? And type that in. And then as you're thinking about that, type what would make you stay someplace. And these may be different answers. They may be the same, but they may be different. And holding that space for what about it is different? Great, thank you for that.

So, retaining people often has to do with them being the missing link, that they really feel essential. That we can say, "This is what you've contributed to and here's how we can put it together." Uniquely you. And this is something to focus on for family employees and non-family employees. You didn't just win the genetic lottery and that's why you're here. Ideally you're here because you're highly capable and competent. We talked about the simple assessments upfront to be really easy for discussions and for strengths. But there are some genuine competency assessments that I find really helpful with employees that can say, "Okay, can you be a CEO? Can you be a CFO? Can you be a good yard manager? A lumber yard manager." It's genuinely there. And sometimes employees need to see that. They need to see that their runway is there, and this is the unique characteristics that they have.

And that's going to be what keeps employees there. It is also okay if this is not where they stay. When people are convinced that you're really looking for their whole self to show up, they feel more engaged. This is why this D and I research is so interesting is everyone spends a good amount of time masking at work, right? Think about how you dress at home, the casual way that you talk to your family and friends. Most of us don't bring that into the workplace. So, if we feel like we're missing the same puzzle piece and we can do it exactly how we like to be, the fullest version of ourself, then we're able to not match, not feel like it's exhausting coming into work.

So employees are looking for their value proposition. Yes, there's comp, and I mentioned this emotional ownership and one of the things you may be thinking is we're a privately held company, we want to stay a privately held company. Great, be a privately held company. Never give anyone stock. Now, there are companies out there that are giving away stock. So how can you be competitive with a company that's giving out stock? Whether there's shadow stock, right? Or what's called phantom stock. Well, I get compensated on how my individual line grows the business, but I'm not actually an owner. That stays in ownership. That could be one of the ways that you can change the pay and benefits. We call that the long-term incentive program. So if I have five year returns, over five years I will share 2% in the profits that I help generate. That's really interesting. That's an add-on to regular pay and bonus. There's the work environment. Is it a challenging environment? Is it a cohesive environment? Do we have a lot of communication going back and forth? Are we able to question how it's always been done?

This is one of the things about family companies, as much as I mentioned there's lots of trust, there's a lot of agility. There's also this tension of legacy. And I say it's tension because I don't think they're mutually exclusive. Legacy means some things we will preserve, usually the values, vision and mission on this culture side. And yet there's still innovation. There's some great research from CIFAR that talks about this that I can send out later that says how you mirror innovation and legacy. And there are three different layers of this that you check the box on. Okay, you can be a little more innovative here, you can be a little more experimental here, but you can be preserving in this way. So you have this 80/20 model, or 60/40, it's never going to be 50/50. But you're going to want to bring that to employees too, because it's always been done this way.

Adage is what we call a logical fallacy, but it also means as a family member especially that I don't get to be the next generation. In family companies we say every generation is the next generation. I get it, you're a fifth generation light legacy family company. But for it to be successful, that generation needs to operate with the same robust ability to plan as the first generation had, while honoring the past. Then the same thing is true for a non-family employee. If I come in, and say this is a 100 year family, like, "Oh, wonderful, it's great, you're stable, you're amazing. Low-debt company, pays employees well. It's doing great things as the community." Wonderful, but if I can't put my imprint on it, if I the non-family employee can't get you Lean certified or Green certified, the thing that I love, how long am I going to stay there?

So, you want to contrast this employee value proposition, which is really tangible. We can send you a worksheet on how to put this all down with the existing culture and see if it's responsive to that. A lot of my clients say, "Yeah, we have a vision and mission and values we did 10 years ago and we're set on that." Besides the fact that we talked about people can't describe it a lot of times, are you really set on that? Is this leaving, living, breathing and representative of what's happening today?

I have this great client example, it's amazing. They were in trains and then they turned into automotive and they ended up doing hotels later. At the time where we were started working with them, it was fourth generation family company, the fifth generation now, it's so amazing to watch them work. But part of their mission was still about transportation. Now, you could argue that hotels do receive people from the end of transportation. You had to get to a hotel from transportation. But instead of being, I'm trying to remember the words, and I don't want to be super explicit, it's probably easy to Google, but their mission was something about, "We get you from here to there." And they ended up changing it to, "We help home be wherever you are."

And you might say those are completely different. But when they were going down and culling through the values and saying what was important to them, the getting them here to there was always about safety. It was always about safety, security, and they're a big family company, they're a big Italian family, so family is big for them. That the entire thing was, "When you're with us, you'll be safe. You can trust that you will get home." And now it's very similar, except for now they're the home away from home and trust that you get that experience.

So that's what we talk about when we go into this reevaluating for retention. We're really offering. The ways that the thing we most care about doesn't dissipate, but maybe how we express it does. Which gets us back to the this, it also gets us back to that workshop we did on conflict. We talked about position and interest. Where a position is yes or no, but the interest might be whether I want the orange line or whether I want the orange juice. Part of adapting and engaging employees versus keeping things the same has to do with how you look at it and how deep you're willing to go. It's not listed on here specifically, but a strategic planning session is one of the best ways to do this. And you may tell me you did your last strategic planning session before COVID, and it didn't make any sense to do.

We've done smaller strategic planning sessions that we call strategic pivoting with clients and you don't have to do it with us, we'd love that, but you can find someone else to do it with. It's always helpful to have someone that's not working in the company doing it, and having some parameters about how it's safe. But employees feeling like not just emotional owners, not just getting compensated for the ownership, but employees, family or non-family feeling like they get to shape the course and trajectory of the business is one of the most effective ways to keep people there. Because me seeing that my opinions matter, that I can make a difference, is the difference between my being here, being someone else, someone else. And that's how you can compete with rising prices that maybe you can't all compete with. Like inflation and an environment that products have a price and you're having to work on raising your pricing.

For a lot of my clients on their pricing models this here in your industry. There's only so much you can get, right? There may not be a dollar for dollar match if you've got a bigger competitor that you're working for. But this contribution match that I can make, this emotional ownership match that I can make, this authority match that I can make. This is the other benefit of a small, I don't mean it's small, a family company, because most of them aren't hierarchical, even if they're very large. I've worked at some very large companies in your industry as well that are still family owned is while you're inventing, while you're creating a new market location or something else, you might be able to be the director of X. This brilliant idea that you brought forth that there wasn't a place for. And yeah, it won't happen overnight, but in a family company it can feel like it's happening overnight. You make a business case, you get it launched and you get it gone pretty quickly.

So I'm interested in, we've got about 10 minutes. I can go on, but I'm interested in some direct questions that you all have that you didn't really offer that what you're seeing for your employees for how they can feel more engaged. So wait a minute, because I know it takes a minute for these to pop up.

One of the things to think about if you do use assessments, again, not saying you have to, it's just helpful is, not just doing individual debrief but doing a team debrief. That was that wheel that we showed. You want to get permission, people feel safe, but so we can talk to each other about how we're showing up. The other thing to do is, anytime there's a new hire, to make sure you do a little refresh so that everyone's on the same page. The last thing I'll say about family companies is, if you're not able to have them in the company and grow, there's always that governance aspect that we'll talk about later, how you can engage family members at the right time. All right, Astrid, up to you.

You might have seen some of these phrases in general, like, "Yes, we know we need to recruit, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." We're going to talk about it in the context of a privately held or a family business. There's some added benefits of just being a family business that you have. We hear about Gen Z and millennials really looking for mission-based organizations that are doing good in the world. Believe or not, that has been family companies from the very beginning. There's a great book on ESG and how it originated in family companies. There's this legacy thinking. There's a mission that's bigger than yourselves. Although some family companies are really large, it's not seen as the man.

And so, some of this might just be how you position yourselves, how you take ownership and how you describe some of this. We're going to talk about two things throughout this. Keep me balanced if I'm not hitting both sides. One is, your family employees and potential successors. Our next webinar, which you're hopefully already registered to, is on just succession. We're not going to go through the actual part of succession, but we're going to talk about what brings a family employee to the company, what keeps them, and what creates this dialogue and dynamic?

And then we're also going to talk about non-family employees. So think about if I have a family company for four generations, three generations, two generations, everyone who's been in the top leadership section is a family member. What does that mean for me as a non-family employee? Is this a place I want to grow and stay? The short answer is, hopefully it is, yes. How we talk about it and my own pathway of progression is going to be really important as a non-family employee, just like the opportunities for a family employee.

So keep in mind that I'm going to try to hit both of those and if I miss one, type in the chat, I see them, be like, "Hey, what about for the family employee or the non-family employee according to this?" You want to recruit employees, right? Half of talent retention is actually getting the right talent in. You want to make sure you're returning to what's going on in the organization, what you need. And you want to reengage employees if they're doing these quiet quitting thing you're hearing lots about. And that's how you retain them, right? This cycle goes in, some people call it the four Rs, people call the five Rs, some use the three Rs.

I don't really care how many Rs you have, but the important thing is our human capital is what makes the financial capital run. So, we need people to make this equation work. And we need it to work for them in the ways that make it engaging for them, because we're seeing that a lot of people are reevaluating their priorities. COVID did a lot of things, but one of the things it did is it let us know that life is short and we want to do things we care about meaningful. We spend a third of our life sleeping. Third of my life is me and the Sandman and my pillow. A third of my life is working. And the last third is marriage, kids, family, hobbies, everything I care about.

So let's put away sleep for now. We have 50% of our time at work and 50% of our time with everything else we care about. So how do we help engage people with that 50% of the time that we're responsible for as owners and operators of family companies? How do we make it a pleasant experience and how do we help people shift to a calling? And the research on this is really clear. There are three ways you can think about work. One, it's a job and that's often a chore. It's really frustrating and stressful. Two, it's a career, I'm building, I'm growing, et cetera. And there's still a grind element. The third one is a calling. This is my purpose. This is the thing I care about. It's why I love doing this webinars because this is what I care about. I can talk about this all day every day. And sometimes I do.

That third part, this calling actually is the one thing we've proven saves off burnout. It's not that you're doing 60 hour work weeks, it's not that there's not a lot of work, and please don't hear, "Get a calling and work your employees to death." No, that's not the point. The point is though, if you want to be a place and have your work be a purpose that engages people, brings them back, it makes these Rs a lot easier. You allow them to fully flourish and show up, family or non-family. And I know that probably sounds really ethereal, but we're going to get into it. We're going to get into how we create this for other people.

You've all heard this, Peter Drucker, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." And that's absolutely true. We say we hire people for talent, we fire them for personality. So, we really want to figure out what the competencies are. What are the skills, knowledge, abilities, the real tangible technical things that I need to know to get the talent pool functional and understand how that helps the business go this way? If I have the right skills but I want to go that way, there's going to be a challenge. We want to be going in the same direction. And then we want to determine the culture by which we're bringing people into. Consider how we behave and communicate in the organization. Are we direct communicators? Are we indirect communicators? Do we conflict regularly? Do we debate? What's actually happening? So that we can understand how the team is impacted by this new person joining or someone leaving.

And we're wanting to see the gaps, and that's the gaps for personality. So you have a ton of extroverts. What extroverts do, they talk a lot, they're idea generating. And sometimes extroversion has a correlation to also not being the executor, right? Extroversion has a lot of correlations to being the executor. So, if you have this team of extroverts and that's so fun and wonderful for ideas, you're going to need some people who also are able to execute that. And so if you think about this simple thing, extroversion, introversion. It is hard for introverts to be in meetings and participate fully, because they like to think alone. And so that's why I talk about the rubs as well. So yeah, you want to close that gap. You want some implementers when you have some idea generators, and yet the idea generation may make it really hard for the implementers to participate.

So we're going to talk about some tangible tools, and we are tool agnostic. Our assessment center has no less than 30 assessments and we are not trying to sell you assessments, but good assessments used well really help you figure out who is doing what, how they're doing it, and to talk about it neutrally. So, it's very easy to talk about extroverting, right? Versus this guy talks too much, he gives you a neutral language to discuss that. And the other thing, this is where we pop back into the family side. We're not just talking in generalities about employees in the whole world is you have these family members who are deciding whether they want to come into family enterprise or not. And my motivation for doing that can be really different. My motivation can be I've got the shadow of a founder really in the way. I'm afraid if I just joined the family company it'll look like I didn't try anything else.

So there's lot of barriers to entry. There's also some research out there that says, "You must work five years out of the company." I think we talked about this in the first webinar. If we didn't, I would say it again. For every one of those studies that say, "You must do this," I can show you a client family that did do that and it didn't work out. Where they spent five years out of the company and became incredibly successful somewhere else and then the family company wasn't as attractive anymore, because the other industry they were in or the comp in the other place was better. Again, not telling you not to have your family move out or do outside internships or outside employment, but there's an equal or opposite reaction that'll happen based on that. So weighing those.

So there's a lot of barriers for me to enter. There's a lot of roles for me to maybe use when I come in. I'm going to use me as an example because it's easy. But when I say me, think about any young person joining the family company. There's also this research on adult development that's really important. This isn't generations like millennials and Gen Z and Gen X-ers and silent generation and boomers. I think you all have a really good grasp on them. If you don't, message me, we can send you that information. But I wanted to pull that apart, because in some ways we've all done this arc. This arc I'm going to talk about this. This normal adult developmental arc where I'm a young adult, where I'm trying to figure out intimacy and isolation.

Because the closer I am to you, the less space I might create in my own life for my own nuclear family family, for my own work progression.

And I'm grappling with questions of, who am I, what am I building? This is usually between 25 and 35. So between 25 and 35 there's this push pull dynamic. So, some of you have either been mentored or have children of 25 and 35 and you know that when you ask them for advice, pretty much they're going to be like, whatever, and you're wrong. Because they're trying to figure out their own way. This is how all of the generations, especially that's how boomers were, that's how silent generation was. That's how Gen X was. That's how millennials were. I think millennials are outside of this curve now. This is really what we're talking about Gen Z now.

But we all did this. It's normal, adult maturation. We call it individuation. And that's why I'm talking about it for a family company, because individuation in a family company is quite difficult. Because I grew up in a family and now I'm working with my family. Most of us who don't have family companies, like I did, I went off to college, got my own career, had a lot of space to individuate, because I didn't have my family expectations telling me what I should and shouldn't do explicitly or implicitly. We don't always say, "This is how you should behave." And then you have adulthood, which is like 35 to 45, give or take. And this is that part where it might look really self-absorb where I'm really figuring out what I'm doing, how can I be successful, but how can I be successful without omitting everyone else? And again, this is something we all go through.

You're really focusing on starting to mentor, starting to give back. But all of that is balanced then only if I can't, right? So you have these heirs sometimes in these family companies who might sound like they're saying, "Give me, give me, give me." And people are like, "Oh, entitled." Not necessarily, right? If you save all the inheritance till you've passed and I hope you live a really long life. Look at King Charles now. He's not Prince Charles, he's King Charles III now. There're a bunch of memes going around that he spent 70 years preparing for this job. And for, I don't know, at least the last five years, people were really questioning if he would ever get it. And I don't know, had she lived longer, would she have changed her succession plan? Not really up for speculation. But so there's this tension between the what's mine, what I need, and what I'm able to achieve. And although I think your children are amazing and wonderfully successful, that you have created a company they can potentially be part of means that you are incredibly successful. And so they're really trying to figure that.

Then you have maturation. This is that 45 to 65 phase. Unfortunately, adult development ends at this stage of research because people used to not live that much longer. You're actively today trying to figure out what that's 65 to 75 or 85 is and 85 past. What I do know about research and there's stages before this, like younger life as well is, as you age in these 10 to 20 block increments, your focus changes. So many of you, founder entrepreneurs are in this mature age or mature age plus where you're talking about integrity and this disgust and despair is, "Have I measured up?" So that's why they're just focused on legacy and they actually, clients say this to their father once where three daughters and they said, "You're giving us shares equally. But dad, you spent your whole life buying out your four sisters. Why should we three inherit the business together?"

And that's that disgust and despair. He's at the age of reconciliation where he says, "I know in buying them out," even though he did it fairly. I only worked with incredibly, amazing people, he did it fairly. He's like, "I lost my sisters in this process. And so what I don't want is this perceived or real inequity between you, therefore I want to make sure you have the shares together." So, he was a little bit judging his past and there's an adage like, "If what you did in your 20s, in your 30s or 40s doesn't make you cringe, you're not learning." So, what did I do, versus what I should have done? How I want to do this? And this is really about generative behavior. This is about large community focus, my family as a whole, not just my kids, my grandkids.

And the thing to know about these life and age stage change differences is one stage from the other is like grieving. If I'm right now trying to just get my feet underneath me, maybe start a career, maybe get married, you talking to me about this family legacy means nothing. I don't even have kids yet. I don't have a partner, right? Same thing if you're in the adulthood and you're talking about legacy and this person's really saying, "Great, mom, dad, your legacy, interesting, but what's my footprint?" It's going to be hard to negotiate this conversation. So the one thing you need to know about this page specifically and what this means for your family employees specifically is sometimes the answer is, not right now. Sometimes the answer is, not right now, not never.

And so one of the things you want to do as you're creating these pathways is create different places of when we can enter and we can exit, where we're not penalized. So where can we come in as maybe I do go to a different company for 10 years? Can I still come in as a manager later? I have this skills to be a manager. Can I come in right now and figure out my path of progression? Can I be here for 10 years and then leave for five and come back? Are there penalties for the choices I make today on my individuation path? And my hope is there aren't penalties. But like I said earlier, everything has an equal opposite reaction. So you can say, "Yes, you can take a leave if you want. And know that if you leave for 10 years you might not come back at exactly where you would have been if you'd stayed here for 10 years. Because there is something about the knowledge that we have here at the company that we've hopefully advanced in the last 10 years."

So, that's how you think about this with your family employees. For everyone else, you don't have this long-term relationship here. Although they're going through the same individual development stages like this happens to everyone, they're not individuating against you, because they're not in your family. So you're really trying to figure out what's driving your employee's behavior. So we use an assessment we call the DISC. You've probably heard of it, it's pretty simple. The difference between this disc and other discs, it has a motivator section. Because if I'm a D, I'm dominant, which means I'm direct and I'm fast. And literally D's spend some time that's different then other people spends of time. If you were a D, you probably hung up already cause I spent too long on that one slide. Seconds feel like minutes or feel like hours. That's why people push and they behave that way.

The misunderstood thing about dominant people, somewhat like the competitive people we talked about in the last course on conflict, and there's a huge correlation to dominance and competitively behavior, is they're actually like puppies. They just want to play with you and they want to jump all over you. So push, you can push back on a deep and they're going to forget that it was painful and you can mix it up with them. But their goal is to get things done. It is how they make decisions. That is their biggest focus.
Then you have influencers, you really know an influencer because they say the word we. A dominant person, because they say I a lot. And influencers really want to make a difference and they know that making a difference is really about me communicating to you and getting a bigger group to do that.

Influencers and dominant people are extroverted, meaning they get their energy from other people, also meaning they learn through discussions. It sometimes means that every day is a new day. "I had a conversation with John today. We had this one plan but John gave me some really good ideas." And many Ds will not credit John, the Is probably will. "But I've taken it and rethought about it and then I talked to Terry and dah, dah, dah, dah." And so a week comes by, it was Monday through Friday and I've gone through five, 10 people, depending on how much talking I did. And now I come back to John and I'm like, "Great, John. So we're doing X, Y and Z." And John might be completely lost, because the version John and I talked to changed with every iteration.

So the thing for all extroverts to do, besides Ds need to be a little better about giving people credit, is all extroverts need to be explicit about how the changes are happening when they're changing, and really track that. The credits are nice to have, but the need to have is making sure everyone's aligned with those conversations, because it can feel really chaotic to family members, employees, non-family or family members. Because today is completely different then what we talked about yesterday. But for you it's fundamentally the same. You were having the discussion with other people.

Now we'll talk about the two more introverted styles. The steadiness. The steadiness is really a source and wanting to be safe. I don't want to hurt you. And you know what ask, because they say you a lot. It's really about you and what's going on. It's this quiet caring, it feels like a soft hug but it's not overt.

You just feel kind of calm when you're with them. The pace is a lot slower. So the D I mentioned was decisions, the I is about people. The S, it's about process. Like, "We're going to figure this out. We're going to do it right." And they're introverted. So, the other thing to know about an S, and you may know this now, you may know you're married to an S after I say this, they don't forget anything. They remember it down to a gnat’s eyelash. So again, as earnest and caring as they are, and this is about you, "I'm reminding you honey, you said you're going to take the dog to the groomer yesterday at one o'clock, right?" That's one of the ways you know an S.

And so as I've gone through these, I've tried to poke fun at all of these styles, because I hope you understand that just being yourself can be annoying. Can you imagine the D who's just thinking aloud, talking, talking, that the S is remembering everything and brings it up the next time you talk? That the D might feel like they're getting caught out. Or the S may feel like the D's never giving them space to think by going on and on.

And the last style is this compliance. This is, as I said, it's decisions, people, pace, this is structure. Cs like to dot I's, cross T's. You know a C because they say it a lot, they're focusing on the project. They can also be fast paced, they can also be really incisive. Many accountants and lawyers tend to have the C compliance facet because they need to for work. And you know a C because they're usually inquisitive. Again, the annoying habit of a C is a lot of people think they're asking questions to catch you out, to make you look bad and they have the answer hiding behind their back. Cs really do not. In fact, that's how Cs make sense of the world.

This really breaks down a little more about how their listening styles are. And at the end of the day the listening styles vary from all sides. If you get into this argument of what's fact or fiction, at the end of the day, the true answer is, it's all fiction. We all make up our stories about what happened based on what we think we hear. And this is that motivator section I was talking about. Because you can have two Ds and everyone's the two of these, right? You have two predominant, one kind of one that you're agnostic about, and one that really drives you nuts about. And if we're both D, I or both C, S or some combination in there, you and I will still behave differently. This is just the behaviors, the pace at which I speak, the way I make discussions based on what I'm motivated by.

I may be motivated by harmony, balance. A lot of times people who don't like conflict are motivated by this aesthetic. I might be individualistic, which means I want it my way or the highway. I might be trying to do it to help others. I might be trying to do it to convey knowledge. I might be trying to do it to keep things the same, or I might be trying to do it really looking for an ROI. So this motivators helps you and I if we're the same style, we figured out our styles, figure out how to then behave relative to why we're using style that way. And that's really something important to figure out as we go on. And so you can chart your team on where they are, where they aren't, and that's the gaps that we were talking about.

I don't think assessments are the end all, be all. I think that they can help you at least talk about these things in a surface level to normalize behaviors and to help you decide how people grow. One of you may have had an assessment at some point in time that didn't work out well, right? It didn't work out well because it was you flex to my style, or everyone wants to talk to me this way because I'm this. What assessments are meant to do if used well is one, have a really robust, have someone who can help you understand the nuances. Because most of the reports are about 75 to 85% face accurate. And what someone who's certifying the assessment can do can say, "Okay, your numbers, not people who score like you, will do X, Y or Z." And that's very helpful.

It also then says, how can you flex without changing who you are? There's a reason why we don't change our behaviors in the workplace sometimes. Even if I know I shouldn't be yelling at you, I shouldn't be abrasive. Like, "Ugh, I can't help it. I do it anyway." How I know to flex and I can get over these things, and one of those psychological barriers is authenticity. Maybe my B, because usually these are that way, is trying to tell you, "That I'm telling you things you need to know because I'm being honest with you. So, how can I be honest and make sure that you feel like I'm also hearing you?" So, that's one of the ways that can be used. And so it allows you to flex, not just everyone meeting you where you are going forward.

And the last one I want to talk about, and this one you can do immediately. You can go to, I think it's via.com or the Values in Action Assessment, completely free for the basic assessment. This is your strengths. We've learned that if you use 6% of your strengths in the workplace, you're 60% more effective. So again, this is general, this is family employer, or non-family employee. I want you to be the best that you can be. And we can hire for people who can do the thing that you can't do. I don't remember if this gives you 32 or 34 of your strengths, it doesn't really matter.

But if you go and take this, hopefully wait until we're done with webinar, but if you're really anxious, go and do it now. You want to look at the top 10, but especially the top five, we spend about 80% of our time using our top five strengths at work. And then the other 95% using are, 90% using the other 10%. Your bottom 10, draw a line under your bottom 10. And those are just your workarounds. Those are not going to be something that's interesting to you, not helpful, and it's a waste of your time to use it too.

Same thing with your employees. It's great to have this shared. That's why I put this block here, because you can actually figure out your employee strengths, where it's going and where people can actually sure up them. So you could have, I'm going to use a stereotype here. You could on your finance team have a lot of people who have wisdom and courage, but maybe they don't have as much temperance. Again, bad stereotype, I'm not saying that's a 100% true. But then you might want to find someone on your HR team or your ops team to do that. And we're going to talk about a lot of retaining tools. But let me actually burst the bubble here and skip ahead a little bit. Part of retention is my own personal growth. I want to know what's good for me, not just what's good for the company.

And so we're asking ourselves now, we're at a transition point, a juncture of how business used to be done, how business could be done. And we're saying, "What are we deciding to do?" And this is what employees are telling us. This is why they want to change jobs and this is why people want to stay. Compensation is one thing, but I can tell you, I've been doing this a lot for people, it's never just about the money. It's usually what the money signifies to people. So is it a title? Is it that I can grow? Is it promotion? Is it a team that I feel like I can be myself on? Oh, someone asks, "What's the website?" It's called the VIA, Values in Action or Character strength. We can send you that link after for that assessment. That's completely free.

They're looking for better work-life balance. I like the phrase work-life integration, because it is true that we spend half of our waking time working. So finding a way to make that work for us. Lack of recognition, the corporate culture. And even if you haven't created a values, vision, mission state in which hopefully you have a corporate culture and it's likely very similar to the founder entrepreneur. When I started my business, my ways worked, right? I was setting the culture without having to write anything down. The values don't align with their own personal values, the company's. And a lack of strong relationship with peers. There's some interesting research that says, if you have a work best friend, people are more happy.

Now here's the converse why people are staying. They are finding that work-life balance, so you can support them. I don't know if you're an urgent person who needs to do things now. You write the email, you send it later, you can actually set up in Outlook that it sends at times when you're in work. You're recognizing and appreciating people. Even if it might not feel natural to you, you might have been growing up in the school of, no news is good news.

And the easiest way to recognize people is to be very specific. So, I had some people help me with this presentation today and I was very specific about how their help supported me and what it meant to me. Not just, "Good job, guys." That's one of those things that recognition that's not meaningful can be challenging. Being able to work with your manager, give feedback. It means values alignment. Hopefully your values are explicit. If they are not, this is one of those times to make them explicit. There's a great book, The Culture Code by Dan Coyle, C-O-Y-L-E. And it says that we need to communicate our values and mission 10 times more than we think we do. And I've seen this, I go into companies and I ask them if they have values and mission, and sometimes they do and they will say that they do, but no one can tell me what they are. And that means they're not learned. They're not living, breathing documents.

So, if people want flexible options for work, some of you can't have physical locations that we need to go in. But how do we make showing up in the office as flexible as possible? Do we have starting, ending times that differ?

Diversity, equity, inclusion, which leads to bringing your whole self to work. This at the end of the day allows people to just be themselves. And that strengths assessment I was talking about may be one of the first ways to do that. If I'm an unstructured person, that doesn't mean I, feel free to let me miss my deadlines, but feel free to let me find the structure that works to work within the larger organizational structure that we're looking at here.
And this is a great time to reevaluate who your employees are. Again, why the assessments can help. They don't have to. But a lot of high-performing people you might assume have this individual motivating. You might think it's about them and their accessibility, et cetera, et cetera. What often happens is it's not that way. It could be that they're just trying to teach, right? It could be that they're theoretical, or it could be their social motivator. They care so much. So try to figure out what they're trying to do and how it can work in the organization. One of the best employee retention pieces out there, believe it or not, is creating really excited alums.

So LMC, we'll just call you all LMC right now. LMC has an amazing alum program that they go work at other companies, they even go on to hoteliers or they go work in different lumber mills. We're so proud of our alums, whether they're here or not, but it's true that we value them as individuals. And believe it or not, there's a lot of moving around these days for employees, but there's a lot of boomerang where people come back realizing the grass isn't always greener. So, that's one of the ways to help work on this.
Not only you're re-engaging with your employees, but you're going to reengage with yourself. We were all doing crisis management, we were all strategic pivoting. And now is the time to say, "Okay, what do I need? How can I best be there for my people? And how can I figure out ways to share with other people and to allow them the space to figure out what they're doing?" When we're in crisis, we tend to more micromanage. We tend to pull away from people. And I think I mentioned this more of the webinars. We were seeing a reverse succession in family companies actually during COVID.

And we will bring in the founder entrepreneur who'd already stepped away and was either chairman of the board or happily on the golf course. Believe me, I didn't hear any of those founder entrepreneurs who pulled back and the company's complaining.

But we did that because many of the employees who've been around for 10, 15 years have been around during really good times and didn't know how to manage in a way where they were less successful times. And they had become a little autocratic. They had to say, "This is how we're going to do it." But now stepping back and saying, "Okay, how do I share my wisdom? How do I share what I think I know and let you make it yours?" Because we can't always pull our founder entrepreneurs back into the companies, because at some point in time they won't be here. And it disables our current leadership to be able to be lead at the capacity by which they need to do things.

Also, feel free to ask your questions along the way if there's something we're not covering for you all that might be helpful to make this a meaningful session. Here's a way to reengage with your employees. Yes, one-on-one meetings. I know everyone knows about one-on-one meetings. You've been to a Vistage or a YPO, someone has told you about one-on-one meetings. But real one-on-one meetings, I would be, well I'm shocked, but a lot of my clients have these 15 minute or 30 minute one-on-ones. You can't both connect with people and have a conversation in that spare time. So, you can have less frequent one-on-ones, maybe you don't have to be weekly, but your one-on-one should be an hour that you have an agenda that isn't just task focused. And that agenda should have some questions in it that give me time and you time to think about beforehand to have a really, really productive conversation.

Also, stay interviews. What would keep you here? Allow people to say this openly. You can have this through third-party interviews or surveys, which are some of the options down there. So people feel like they can stay or speak freely. Sorry, not stay. Hopefully they will stay as a result of this. But when we have these times when our employee comes to us and says, "I had a better offer somewhere else." By the time we already give them that amount of money, sometimes they're halfway out the door, it's hard to retain them. And then our trust in them is also a little bit damaged where we think that it's someone who was willing to lead.

Have times to meet with leadership, could be the owner, could be the CEO. Really informal times where there's no agenda, especially at a family company. Really seeing those family leaders around is very helpful. Because a lot of people really want to know how we can engage with ownership. We call this emotional ownership. So how do I communicate with you in a way that allows you to feel like you have ownership of the business, even if it might not be the tangible ownership? That you own a process, that you own a protocol?

And this last one is individual development plans or personal development plan. We often put people on these plans when they have made a mistake. We would create a PDP when you're in trouble. I'd ask you to normalize an individual developmental plan when people aren't in trouble. When people are able to just figure out what they're learning before there's a challenge. And if you remember nothing else from today, this slide, this is how you engage or reengage with a new role. We tend to be mentors with the right side of that book, "This is how I did it, this is what worked for me. In my experience, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Like everyone's favorite subject is themselves.

And we can regale you with how awesome we are because I know you all are amazing leaders, but it doesn't leave room for the other person in the room. It also means that, remember hopscotch, it means that I'm working really hard to try to hop in those boxes that you've outlaid exactly like you have. And hopscotch is a pretty simple game. Remember, as a kid really struggling and the more complex patterns people did, the less it worked out.

So the real challenge is to not be a mentor, and there is an appropriate time and a place to mentor. But the real answer is to switch from a coach. To believe that our employees have the information inside of them, but they may even have new information we don't know. That's the innovative nature. And we pull the information from them by asking questions, not that we know the answer to. You've all done this, you've asked a question of, "Well, have you tried it?" Like I do, "Have you tried plugging it in and plugging it out? Or turning on, turning it off? Unplugging it and plugging it?" That's not a coaching question. A coaching question is, "That's interesting. Your computer's not working. What do you think to be contributed to that? What are the components a computer needs to work?" And they can explain, it was a blue screen of death or they heard a popping sound. You get them to form their own ideas, their own solutions and to start being strategic thinkers.
That's really what most founder entrepreneurs and CEOs are. That's the difference between being a manager and employee and executive leader.

Which again, if we're thinking succession, that's what you're looking for. You're helping them create these opportunities, see the challenges. And at some point in time if they're really struggling, then you ask a couple more directed questions, hopefully not that have the answer embedded in them. To really check their thinking, find out where they're doing things, encourage them, and allow some pretty safe failures. We learn from failure and we'll learn in a way that we'll remember. And in fact, the largest CEO research study said that CEOs all had four things in common, and one of them was that they've failed. And so you want to create an organization where they have a chance to learn from their own failures.

And retention really has to do with answering this question. Why am I here? You guys have been very quiet. I haven't seen any questions in the chat box. But I'd like, if you don't mind, again, it'll be anonymous, but why should someone stay at your company? Why are you an employer of choice? And type that in. And then as you're thinking about that, type what would make you stay someplace. And these may be different answers. They may be the same, but they may be different. And holding that space for what about it is different? Great, thank you for that.

So, retaining people often has to do with them being the missing link, that they really feel essential. That we can say, "This is what you've contributed to and here's how we can put it together." Uniquely you. And this is something to focus on for family employees and non-family employees. You didn't just win the genetic lottery and that's why you're here. Ideally you're here because you're highly capable and competent. We talked about the simple assessments upfront to be really easy for discussions and for strengths. But there are some genuine competency assessments that I find really helpful with employees that can say, "Okay, can you be a CEO? Can you be a CFO? Can you be a good yard manager? A lumber yard manager." It's genuinely there. And sometimes employees need to see that. They need to see that their runway is there, and this is the unique characteristics that they have.

And that's going to be what keeps employees there. It is also okay if this is not where they stay. When people are convinced that you're really looking for their whole self to show up, they feel more engaged. This is why this D and I research is so interesting is everyone spends a good amount of time masking at work, right? Think about how you dress at home, the casual way that you talk to your family and friends. Most of us don't bring that into the workplace. So, if we feel like we're missing the same puzzle piece and we can do it exactly how we like to be, the fullest version of ourself, then we're able to not match, not feel like it's exhausting coming into work.

So employees are looking for their value proposition. Yes, there's comp, and I mentioned this emotional ownership and one of the things you may be thinking is we're a privately held company, we want to stay a privately held company. Great, be a privately held company. Never give anyone stock. Now, there are companies out there that are giving away stock. So how can you be competitive with a company that's giving out stock? Whether there's shadow stock, right? Or what's called phantom stock. Well, I get compensated on how my individual line grows the business, but I'm not actually an owner. That stays in ownership. That could be one of the ways that you can change the pay and benefits. We call that the long-term incentive program. So if I have five year returns, over five years I will share 2% in the profits that I help generate. That's really interesting. That's an add-on to regular pay and bonus. There's the work environment. Is it a challenging environment? Is it a cohesive environment? Do we have a lot of communication going back and forth? Are we able to question how it's always been done?

This is one of the things about family companies, as much as I mentioned there's lots of trust, there's a lot of agility. There's also this tension of legacy. And I say it's tension because I don't think they're mutually exclusive. Legacy means some things we will preserve, usually the values, vision and mission on this culture side. And yet there's still innovation. There's some great research from CIFAR that talks about this that I can send out later that says how you mirror innovation and legacy. And there are three different layers of this that you check the box on. Okay, you can be a little more innovative here, you can be a little more experimental here, but you can be preserving in this way. So you have this 80/20 model, or 60/40, it's never going to be 50/50. But you're going to want to bring that to employees too, because it's always been done this way.

Adage is what we call a logical fallacy, but it also means as a family member especially that I don't get to be the next generation. In family companies we say every generation is the next generation. I get it, you're a fifth generation light legacy family company. But for it to be successful, that generation needs to operate with the same robust ability to plan as the first generation had, while honoring the past. Then the same thing is true for a non-family employee. If I come in, and say this is a 100 year family, like, "Oh, wonderful, it's great, you're stable, you're amazing. Low-debt company, pays employees well. It's doing great things as the community." Wonderful, but if I can't put my imprint on it, if I the non-family employee can't get you Lean certified or Green certified, the thing that I love, how long am I going to stay there?
So, you want to contrast this employee value proposition, which is really tangible. We can send you a worksheet on how to put this all down with the existing culture and see if it's responsive to that. A lot of my clients say, "Yeah, we have a vision and mission and values we did 10 years ago and we're set on that." Besides the fact that we talked about people can't describe it a lot of times, are you really set on that? Is this leaving, living, breathing and representative of what's happening today?

I have this great client example, it's amazing. They were in trains and then they turned into automotive and they ended up doing hotels later. At the time where we were started working with them, it was fourth generation family company, the fifth generation now, it's so amazing to watch them work. But part of their mission was still about transportation. Now, you could argue that hotels do receive people from the end of transportation. You had to get to a hotel from transportation. But instead of being, I'm trying to remember the words, and I don't want to be super explicit, it's probably easy to Google, but their mission was something about, "We get you from here to there." And they ended up changing it to, "We help home be wherever you are."

And you might say those are completely different. But when they were going down and culling through the values and saying what was important to them, the getting them here to there was always about safety. It was always about safety, security, and they're a big family company, they're a big Italian family, so family is big for them. That the entire thing was, "When you're with us, you'll be safe. You can trust that you will get home." And now it's very similar, except for now they're the home away from home and trust that you get that experience.

So that's what we talk about when we go into this reevaluating for retention. We're really offering. The ways that the thing we most care about doesn't dissipate, but maybe how we express it does. Which gets us back to the this, it also gets us back to that workshop we did on conflict. We talked about position and interest. Where a position is yes or no, but the interest might be whether I want the orange line or whether I want the orange juice. Part of adapting and engaging employees versus keeping things the same has to do with how you look at it and how deep you're willing to go. It's not listed on here specifically, but a strategic planning session is one of the best ways to do this. And you may tell me you did your last strategic planning session before COVID, and it didn't make any sense to do.

We've done smaller strategic planning sessions that we call strategic pivoting with clients and you don't have to do it with us, we'd love that, but you can find someone else to do it with. It's always helpful to have someone that's not working in the company doing it, and having some parameters about how it's safe. But employees feeling like not just emotional owners, not just getting compensated for the ownership, but employees, family or non-family feeling like they get to shape the course and trajectory of the business is one of the most effective ways to keep people there. Because me seeing that my opinions matter, that I can make a difference, is the difference between my being here, being someone else, someone else. And that's how you can compete with rising prices that maybe you can't all compete with. Like inflation and an environment that products have a price and you're having to work on raising your pricing.

For a lot of my clients on their pricing models this here in your industry. There's only so much you can get, right? There may not be a dollar for dollar match if you've got a bigger competitor that you're working for. But this contribution match that I can make, this emotional ownership match that I can make, this authority match that I can make. This is the other benefit of a small, I don't mean it's small, a family company, because most of them aren't hierarchical, even if they're very large. I've worked at some very large companies in your industry as well that are still family owned is while you're inventing, while you're creating a new market location or something else, you might be able to be the director of X. This brilliant idea that you brought forth that there wasn't a place for. And yeah, it won't happen overnight, but in a family company it can feel like it's happening overnight. You make a business case, you get it launched and you get it gone pretty quickly.

So I'm interested in, we've got about 10 minutes. I can go on, but I'm interested in some direct questions that you all have that you didn't really offer that what you're seeing for your employees for how they can feel more engaged. So wait a minute, because I know it takes a minute for these to pop up.

One of the things to think about if you do use assessments, again, not saying you have to, it's just helpful is, not just doing individual debrief but doing a team debrief. That was that wheel that we showed. You want to get permission, people feel safe, but so we can talk to each other about how we're showing up. The other thing to do is, anytime there's a new hire, to make sure you do a little refresh so that everyone's on the same page. The last thing I'll say about family companies is, if you're not able to have them in the company and grow, there's always that governance aspect that we'll talk about later, how you can engage family members at the right time. All right, Astrid, up to you.

 

About Natalie M. McVeigh

Natalie McVeigh is a Managing Director in the Center for Individual and Organizational Performance and the Center for Family Business Excellence Group within the Private Client Services Group and has more than 10 years of experience as a consultant and coach.