Business Therapy

Most of my clients are worn out and feel hopeless about their situation. They have tried and failed at every attempt to resolve this, exhausting their friends, families, employees, and advisors along the way.

Is this business relationship fixable?

Well, it basically comes down to three things:

  1. Are you all in enough pain?
  2. Is there a big upside if things can get resolved?
  3. Is there a downside if you don’t resolve this?

If the answer is “yes” to all three, then we can get started.

Business Therapy is an investment. The economic, time, and psychological costs of not resolving your partnership issues now are high.

Who is this for?

Business Partners

As circumstances change, the partners have to adapt. If they don’t, things begin to fray. Things that used to work stop working. Communication breaks down, personal agendas get driven, contributions and compensation become unbalanced, divisions get magnified, major decisions become difficult (if not impossible). The business drifts or spirals. Everything becomes about power. Power to enforce your will. Power to stop your partner. All at great cost to the business.

Board of Directors

Board members are responsible ensuring proper governance is being maintained on behalf of the owners (who are often one and the same). They focus on strategy, accountability, and support for the leadership team. It is essential that the board members be on the same page as to direction, decision making, and leadership. This is different than the running of the day to day. When boards get out of alignment, the leadership has no effective “boss” and the owners don’t have a way to responsibility manage their investment. No business can thrive with this situation. And, without creating healthy processes and structure, meeting once a month or once a year doesn’t fix this.

Family Businesses

Family businesses can be complicated. A lot is tied up in the enterprise: personal wealth, income, liquidity, family dynamics. You are embroiled with your parents, siblings, cousins. History and blood binds you together, but also keeps you stuck in the past. How do you break unhealthy and destructive patterns to get back to helping each other prosper?

Owners in Transition

Passing control to the “next generation” can be stressful. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family or non-family business. One way or another, things are going to change, and for the exiting or transitioning owner, those changes come with risks: loss of control, dependence on the next generation to perform, reduction in income, changes in how major decisions will be made, the impact on the employees and customers, and determining how to value their ownership interest, just to mention a few.

This requires a different mind-set than running the business. And, it’s emotional. Unfortunately, because it’s uncomfortable for all involved, this decision is often postponed or poorly handled. It’s more than putting a plan or structure together. And, it’s not just about money. It’s about ensuring that everyone involved feels that their interests and needs are protected. This can be challenging. Yet, the survival of the business and the preservation of its value often depends on the succession plan being done right.

The Process

You can’t solve anything if you aren’t talking about the right things the right way.

I use a process that I have developed over the years to successfully navigate business owners and families through the rough waters of negative emotions and high reactivity to a calmer and constructive space.

First, I sit down with everyone separately to get each one’s honest and unfiltered perspective. It’s important that you each know that I “get it” before we go further.

Next, we all learn how to constructively engage with one another.

Resolving deep and intractable issues with people with whom you feel trapped requires special skills and support. We need to develop a shared perspective and vocabulary to attack the problems. To do that, you all need to think and relate to each other differently.

Now, with this strong foundation and my support, we can constructively address and resolve the actual issues.

This is Business Therapy