Home Blogs Business tips How to add merit selection in a family business

How to add merit selection in a family business

| Print |  Email
Business tips
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BY TOM COX | BUSINESS TIPS CONTRIBUTOR

10.22.13 Blog FamBizI was recently asked:

Our family is in diversified businesses across our state.

We don’t insist that family members (3rd generation) join the businesses, but they always have a place if they choose to.

Unfortunately, this has led to two problems. One, younger family members want to start near the top. Two, they take us for granted, and use the business to launch their careers outside the business.

We want to solve this problem by putting a merit selection process in place. How can we add merit selection in a family business? Your advice is appreciated.

New Culture

What you’re proposing is, creating a new culture (or changing the existing one) where merit selection is the new rule.

Let me suggest some steps. Implementing those steps is NOT trivial, so don’t take my brevity the wrong way.

Step 1, get written agreement from the elder family members on the PRINCIPLES to be followed — i.e. merit based selection; roles assigned based on proven ability and the true needs of the business(es); everyone starts at the bottom.

Step 2, empower a group of elders and trusted non-family members to spin up a PROCESS that embodies those Principles. Bake it into your bylaws. (For example, you might allow a family member to prevail in a hiring situation where they are otherwise a tie, but NOT allow them to prevail if they come in 2nd.) Make your Process extremely transparent. Expect family members to over-achieve or leave.

Step 3, put yourselves through it. Seriously. Like, resign your current role and re-apply for it and see if you get it back or not. (Or some comparable show of seriousness and faith in the process.)

Without the first step, you don’t have a compelling WHY driving the change. Without the third step, leaders aren’t ‘walking the talk’ and nobody believes in it.

Step 4, turn the Principles into pithy statements that you hold yourself to, like “everyone starts at the bottom” and “all work is honorable work.” Make sure the Elders go sweep floors and wash toilets once a quarter. Soak the Principles into the Culture.

Let me know if you want more details.

Tom Cox is a Beaverton consultant, author and speaker. He coaches CEOs on how to boost performance by building workplace trust.

 

More Articles

The global challenge

News
Friday, June 27, 2014
062714 thumb globalmarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS