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Edition 25 – Uncertainty

At the time of writing, there was no clear winner from last Saturday’s Federal Election. Whilst the betting money might be on Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal-National Coalition just holding on, the chances are it will be the second time in six years the Australian people have voted for a minority government.

The eight week election campaign and Saturday’s election (non) result have some very interesting lessons for family businesses.

  1. Keep your disagreements private — family businesses where the owners and managers openly disagree in front of staff unsettle the troops. Keep your disagreements private and maintain a unified front.
  2. Vision — develop it, articulate it and implement it. Family businesses that don’t chart a course for the future invariably meander from issue to issue, without making progress towards their ultimate destination. What’s yours?
  3. Be bold — if you truly believe in a new product, service or process, be bold enough to back yourself and introduce it. People take notice of boldness, not of sameness.
  4. Take calculated risks — there are times when you need to make a big call in family business. Do your homework, evaluate the risk and implement. Then, review what happens vs. what you expected to happen, and tweak accordingly.
  5. Quick decision — the longer you linger on an issue, the more you overthink it. Today’s business environment is fast paced. Gather the facts, make a decision then go with it. Clients and customers want a quick decision. Are you helping them with that?
  6. Get your timing right — if you are making big changes in business, make sure your timing is spot on. The element of surprise creates excitement and anticipation. It also catches your competitors off guard. Get your timing wrong, and you might find yourself on the back foot, on a lot of fronts.
  7. Know your vulnerabilities — if there is one area of your family business that you know you’re weak in, do something about it. If solving that problem is not going to be straight forward, strategise how to counter any criticism of it. Family businesses that are defensive rarely make forward progress.
  8. Energy, passion & vigour — are you energetic and passionate about your family business? Do you display that to your clients, your staff and your suppliers? Great if you do. If you don’t, does that mean you’re mediocre? If you don’t think so, why not seek the opinion of your clients, staff, suppliers or any other trusted third party?

There is more uncertainty in today’s world than ever before. As owners and managers of family businesses, what are you doing to capitalise on that uncertainty and create certainty from it?

This Week’s Tip

There is not a lot of difference between mediocrity and greatness. It is just that greatness requires a bit of effort.