Broker Check

Episode 31: The Who, Not What, Of Family Business with host MICHAeL PALUMBOS

Listen into the Family Biz Show as Michael discusses how you can have more time, potentially more money and better relationships with one simple paradigm shift.

We will cover:

  • Are you asking the right question when starting a new endeavor?
  • The fastest way to expand your capability and efficacy.
  • How the education system “wrongly” conditions family-owned entrepreneurs and how you can positively impact your children and lessen the impact on them.
  • Why this skill is essential for family business leaders and how to get started today.

Episode 31 Transcript

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Michael Palumbos: Oh welcome everybody to the family biz show my name is Michael Columbus and I am your host today from family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York and today we're gonna be talking about who not how for the family enterprise family business.

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Michael Palumbos: And this conversation is coming after reading the book who not how by Dan Sullivan, with Dr Benjamin hardy and the tagline of that book is the formula to achieve bigger goals through accelerating teamwork, and you know the, the first thing that I just wanted to point out is that.

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Michael Palumbos: In the book Benjamin hardy states, you know right away, I read I listened to the audible.



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Michael Palumbos: The Dan Sullivan didn't write the book Ben hardy wrote the book and it's a Dan Sullivan concept, and if you don't know Dan Sullivan, these were with strategic coach they have offices throughout the country and around the world.



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Michael Palumbos: and strategic coach has coached more entrepreneurs, probably than.



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Michael Palumbos: than most other organizations they've done a great job I spend a lot of time with strategic coach through the years and I had heard of this concept from Dan but really.



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Michael Palumbos: It was great to read the book and dig into it and be reminded of why it was so important, so again, the first piece that jumped out for me was.



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Michael Palumbos: Are you asking the right question whenever you're starting a new endeavor how often do we default to okay well how do I do this or you know I can handle this i've got the time to do it.



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Michael Palumbos: The real question, I think we need to be asking ourselves every time we're thinking of a new endeavor or we have a issue in front of us, or a problem in front of us is not.



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Michael Palumbos: How do I fix this, how do I approach this problem, but who can do this for me and my favorite example of this lately is you know, we had.



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Michael Palumbos: The toilet break and it wasn't you know it wasn't severe, it was the mechanism in the tank.



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Michael Palumbos: And, of course, you know, it was a Saturday, you know afternoon when I realized that it had happened, I happen to have.



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Michael Palumbos: Some time and I told my wife i'm just going to make a quick run to home depot i'll swap the part out and everything will be just fine.



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Michael Palumbos: Unfortunately, it was about three it might have even been four trips back and forth to home depot because what I thought was simple.



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Michael Palumbos: was a lot more complex what I thought you know I could do I did a fight I did finally accomplish it, but it was easily four hours, out of my time.



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Michael Palumbos: That day when I could have been spending the time with my wife, I could have been doing something else you know.



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Michael Palumbos: around the House, it could have been working on my business, if my wife was was busy and or I could have scheduled a date with one of my kids.



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Michael Palumbos: And I didn't and so you know I asked my wife.



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Michael Palumbos: When that was done to remind me, before I start, you know picking up the phone book or going through the there is no phone but going through the Internet and figuring out how to accomplish something or watching a YouTube video.



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Michael Palumbos: Just to remind me, you know what you know what your hourly rate is what is your time worth.



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Michael Palumbos: And you know that I should be figuring out who can do this, rather than how I should be doing things at the end of the day it really comes back to why.



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Michael Palumbos: Should we be spending our precious time on things that aren't in your top three life priorities and, and that was another concept that.



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Michael Palumbos: That was really important that I pulled from the book is that you know, think about what are your number one priorities and what are the things that you're really good at what are your unique abilities.



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Michael Palumbos: and stay focused inside of there they talked about you know it being one of the fastest ways to expand your capability and your efficacy and they went into detail about.



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Michael Palumbos: How, you know when we asked that question of who now all of a sudden, when we add a WHO to our team.



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Michael Palumbos: Who to our capabilities we get their capabilities, along with it, and so that in in in my world, you know that came full circle, when you know, it was this fall.



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Michael Palumbos: fall of 2020 I asked one of my team members who's really good at utilizing and manipulating excel spreadsheets Microsoft excel and I asked her to do some business analysis on our book of business, and you know that hadn't been done.



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Michael Palumbos: Ever you know I thought I had a pretty good idea of you know where our revenues came from, and the the based on the families that we served what was shocking is that the top 20 families and, mind you, we probably have over 100 families that you know that we serve.



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Michael Palumbos: it's probably more than that, but 20 families accounted for 80% of the revenue.



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Michael Palumbos: And that was a huge eye opener to us and that really helped us to position ourselves for.



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Michael Palumbos: We you know we realized that.



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Michael Palumbos: You know aligning the you know all of our top five clients are basically in very similar you know.



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Michael Palumbos: industries, and you know, so we really started to understand that niche that we were playing in and how how much.



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Michael Palumbos: better served, we would be by focusing in that niche and and what you know the the point again is to go back and say if I had tried to do an excel spreadsheet or if I had tried to.



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Michael Palumbos: take the time to add this all up what took hope a couple of hours would have taken me a month.



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Michael Palumbos: And you know there's always a faster better way to expand your capabilities and it's typically you know.



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Michael Palumbos: One of your team members and sometimes it may be adding a new team Member or adding a independent consultant.



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Michael Palumbos: Independent contractor to help you to think through those pieces another point inside of the book that they talked about was that you know the your team is a team not staff is an infection.



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Michael Palumbos: A lot you know oftentimes you know we talked about the staff behind us well at the end of the day, every single person that's you know part of your company part of our company is a team Member, and when you know that when one person on the team isn't bringing what they need to the table.



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Michael Palumbos: That makes a big giant impact, so you know, we want to be thinking of everybody as TEAM members, we want to be thinking them of them as investments and not cost to our business How often do you know we look at the p&l and you know, often look at the the cost of.



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Michael Palumbos: You know our employment and the people that we employ.



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Michael Palumbos: There what Dan Sullivan and Ben we're talking about inside of there is just a really you need to be looking at that as an investment in that you know what's happening to the bottom line.



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Michael Palumbos: could not happen with all without all of those whose they also talk about you know getting the right who's you know, in your life will free up your time recently.



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Michael Palumbos: My wife and I, you know, have been.



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Michael Palumbos: working very hard to you know make some changes around the House we now been working from the House.



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Michael Palumbos: What for a year now and i've been here the whole entire time my wife is a teacher so she works.



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Michael Palumbos: In a hybrid solution at school, so she's one day a week she's here, and you know, four days a week she's you know at school, with different sets of kids each days.



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Michael Palumbos: When we're both home, you know, we need to make sure that our offices are far enough apart because they're both of our voices tend to carry and it's just not always you know a great situation.



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Michael Palumbos: But one of the things that you know we found is you know our children left the House.



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Michael Palumbos: You know they're now the youngest are juniors in college and it's time for us to you know start making some upgrades, but we are so busy with our lives and that it's you know even making the phone calls and figuring out.



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Michael Palumbos: Who to start you know those conversations with.



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Michael Palumbos: were difficult for us, so you know, we had in January, said that we were going to make some changes to our environment and make some upgrades and.



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Michael Palumbos: We want to put a sitting room in in the House and just kind of a place to for reading, and you know slow down a little bit.



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Michael Palumbos: And here we are in March and that still hasn't happened, so you know after reading the book, one of the things that happened for me was you know go back to that who not how and.



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Michael Palumbos: I happen to have a gentleman Ralph is in my life and his the name of his businesses surrogate son Ralph Golan oh and Ralph does a great job of helping my some of my clients.



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Michael Palumbos: As you know, as they age they're not always capable of keeping up on top of things like you know changing light bulbs something as simple as that, if they, especially if they don't have kids in you know.



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Michael Palumbos: In their area it's hard to get those things done, sometimes it's just something as simple as you know, hiring a cleaning person.



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Michael Palumbos: Or you know getting themselves to the back and forth, to the doctor and and as complicated as you know, they got turned down on a long term care claim and they needed somebody fantastic fantastic to help them.



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Michael Palumbos: and guide them through that process so that they that claim would be accepted and that's the kind of stuff that Ralph had done, amongst other things like you know when homes needed to be updated or repaired.



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Michael Palumbos: Those are things that typically would go by the wayside, as we age, you might not see them as easily, and so, when I had a client in that arena I would bring Ralph, and so my wife and I sat with Ralph.



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Michael Palumbos: And that was really helpful because he just you know, took all the things that we were thinking about and.



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Michael Palumbos: started to figure out, you know, the WHO, that we need the who's that we need to be able to get that done and now.



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Michael Palumbos: You know, we given that problem to Ralph and he's kind of acting like our general contractor or our project manager to you know, help us take the the projects that we want to get done to another level, which frees up some of our time.



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Michael Palumbos: Just a really great way of doing and thinking about things again is who not how and I started to think about all of the who's.



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Michael Palumbos: The we deal with you know that are may not be TEAM members on our team right here in the Rochester office.



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Michael Palumbos: But we utilize them on a pretty regular basis, and really need to be you know talking with them more often, and that was a really great exercise, you know it's who.



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Michael Palumbos: is out there that maybe we're not spending enough time with we're not we're not having those conversations we're not reviewing what's going on.



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Michael Palumbos: Within our business or personal life, for that matter, because we're not asking ourselves, you know who is influential in my life, who is you know someone that can help me with some of the House that are in front of me at that at any given time.



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Michael Palumbos: it's funny when you really start to think about how the education system.



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Michael Palumbos: You know that we all, at least in the in the US and Canada, and most of across the world, you know the education system does one thing, where.



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Michael Palumbos: It wrongly conditions us to not think about the WHO and and what they're you know that ideas that we were not allowed to collaborate typically to take a test, you know it's cheating.



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Michael Palumbos: If you ask for help, on your test it's you know we're supposed to learn all of those things, so you know, starting in.



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Michael Palumbos: kindergarten when they when we start to go through these things, all the way through college, you know we're looking to you know solve all of these problems on our own, so we have years you know.



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Michael Palumbos: 16 years of being conditioned as to you know doing these things on our own, and so maybe you know, for those of us that are running family businesses and have kids or grandkids.



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Michael Palumbos: We want to you know talk about maybe a little bit of a qualifier and let them know that you know.



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Michael Palumbos: Right now, as you're going through this stage of life, it is all on you and you do need to figure out how, but one of the most important questions that you're going to learn as an entrepreneur.



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Michael Palumbos: Is that you want to focus in on the WHO and making sure that you're surrounded with the right people and that they're in the right seats and that will help you to grow, the business and run the business much more effectively.



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Michael Palumbos: A couple of you know other examples is again going through our our business and that's you know we we serve family businesses, mostly in the construction industry, but not all.



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Michael Palumbos: And you know, there are some advisors across the country that you know have some specialties that we don't have and when.



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Michael Palumbos: We are you know, faced with one of those.



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Michael Palumbos: You know opportunities, rather than saying you know we don't do that we just bring that other advisor in and we partner with them and let them take care of the how.



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Michael Palumbos: We just know that they're one of our who's and you know as we're doing things for some of our clients, you know, one of the things through the last five years, we had a situation where.



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Michael Palumbos: They were you know they they focused on the family doing all of the important jobs, and that was just.



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Michael Palumbos: Something that their father had instilled in them was that you know the family, it was the family's job to bring all of these you know important things across the finish line.



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Michael Palumbos: And when we started to really understand what was happening for that for them what they started to realize, is that you know, even though.



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Michael Palumbos: They were a family first business, they were not focusing on the needs of the business, they were just focusing on the needs of the family so there's this balancing act.



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Michael Palumbos: That needs to happen when we talk about you know the egos within the family and the needs within for different family members and the skill sets of different family members.



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Michael Palumbos: and making sure that we're having those conversations that you know allow each individual to flourish and bring their best to the game.



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Michael Palumbos: And that's really at the end of the day, what's most important for the business is how do we get the right people in the right seats doing the right things that's a Jim Collins, you know talk, you know talk track so.



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Michael Palumbos: it's important to really stay focused on this who not how conversation, especially as the the leadership of the family.



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Michael Palumbos: So he you know thinking about that.



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Michael Palumbos: You might want to share some examples with kids or grandkids of times when you know you made a mistake by asking that question of who, instead, or how instead of who you know for me it's the toilet there's you know my my wife, we can talk about.



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Michael Palumbos: A story of her painting, one of the bedroom she tackled that one.



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Michael Palumbos: ended up spilling a gallon of paint all over the floor because we just it wasn't our expertise it wasn't her expertise and.



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Michael Palumbos: Again cost us more time more money than had we paid somebody to do that.



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Michael Palumbos: But these are just the things that that happened and I think oftentimes you know when we share a story of a failure.



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Michael Palumbos: It probably sinks in and more than the successes but sharing both share, you know the who's in your life that really have impacted the family have it really impacted the business.



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Michael Palumbos: And and brought a lot of value to that situation people that have you know freed up time and you know impacted you in a positive manner.



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Michael Palumbos: So what are some of the other ways, and you know how can we have more time more money and better relationship, maybe even a greater sense of purpose by making this simple paradigm shift of asking who before you ask how.



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Michael Palumbos: Some of those things, you know that I would say is you know really focus in and what we learned from the book is getting clear on your vision of the future remember what I said in the beginning, what are your top three priorities.



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Michael Palumbos: You know what do they always say when you know somebody on.



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Michael Palumbos: Their deathbed very rarely are they ever.



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Michael Palumbos: worried or disappointed that they didn't spend more time on their business typically it comes back to they wish they had spent more time with their family and their friends.



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Michael Palumbos: They wish they had even allowed themselves, maybe some more free time to just enjoy the you know the recreation and the enjoyable things of their life.



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Michael Palumbos: Very rarely where they you know do people come back and say geez i'm really you know focused on.



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Michael Palumbos: My business, you know when they're on their deathbed or you know I I wish that I had done more in terms of my business and it's not that it doesn't happen, you know I love, what I do, and I do spend an awful lot of time doing it, but in you know recent years.



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Michael Palumbos: You know, especially going through coven we started to realize that we're not spending enough time on vacation we're not spending enough time cultivating.



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Michael Palumbos: Some of the family relationships that need cultivating and we want to make sure that you know we can always sit down at the holiday, you know dinner table together and.



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Michael Palumbos: For our family we you know, have done Columbus family vacation we call it pov for 20 years now and.



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Michael Palumbos: You know, we want to continue pov or at least you know I know my wife and I want to, but we need to have those discussions and.



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Michael Palumbos: That means we're going to need more time and if we need more time than we go back to the who can help us to get that time back and not how you know another great line, and that was inside of who not how was.



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Michael Palumbos: You know you will make more money when you find who's to complete your House and again just a real simple concept concept but it's you know if you think about where you're at today in terms of your you know.



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Michael Palumbos: What do you build per hour, if you had to define that I think many entrepreneurs are probably close to a minimum wage, because of how many hours we're actually putting in but you know.



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Michael Palumbos: Based on the level of success that you're that you're at.



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Michael Palumbos: And regardless of the level of success there's always someone that could be your who to help you complete the House and free up time, which you know allows you then to focus on the vision of your business and your life so that you can make more money.



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Michael Palumbos: Another you know really important concept that was inside here was if you have enough money to solve a problem.



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Michael Palumbos: Then realistically you don't have a problem, I thought that was such a great way.



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Michael Palumbos: of looking you know at it, you don't you don't have a problem as long as you have the money to take care of it so again it's this it comes full circle where it's so important to focus in on the WHO.



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Michael Palumbos: Not the how so again, whatever the task at hand is there's always someone who loves doing it, and can be a genius in that area, even though you may not be and you don't you know, we do not have to be good at everything very few people.



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Michael Palumbos: You know, practically no one can be you know good at everything there's we're juggling a lot the skill sets are just different and it's finding those people that are fabulous in the areas where you're not so that you can leverage those things, both for your time.



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Michael Palumbos: Money and relationships and it's important that you stay focused on those things, one of the you know things that I recently picked up from a another training that I was doing is.



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Michael Palumbos: On a on a weekly basis, ensure that you're writing down what your top three priorities in life are and then look at your calendar.



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Michael Palumbos: Each week and say how much of what you're doing is focused on the things that truly matter to you about those such a great exercise and we're starting to to put those things up in and and bring those skills, you know that that exercise into our habits.



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Michael Palumbos: You know why is this skill so essential for family business leaders, and you know how can you get started.



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Michael Palumbos: Real quickly, I mean it's just you know, one of the things is just avoiding the wrong who's and that's probably you know, a skill set that.



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Michael Palumbos: is very important it's you know, sometimes we may look at someone who sounds and looks attractive, but their vision of the future and yours, are not aligned and that's probably you know more often than not a recipe for disaster.



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Michael Palumbos: So it's you know when you're when you're picking the who's make sure that you're really aligned with you know how you plan to get this done.



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Michael Palumbos: Let me rephrase that it's not how you plan to get it done, but what does it look like when it's done and Dan and.



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Michael Palumbos: Benjamin have already talked about a tool that was available through strategic coach called the impact filter and that impact filter is all about what does this look like.



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Michael Palumbos: When this job is complete, what is the impact that this is going to have on me in my life and the business.



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Michael Palumbos: so that you know when you hand that task off to your who they don't you don't have to ask them how they're going to get it done.



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Michael Palumbos: They just know what it looks like when it is done, how they get it there doesn't really matter so that's you know that's really good delegation we've you know we all have heard you know the.



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Michael Palumbos: The most some of the most successful people out there who have become great delegator as well utilizing a tool, like the impact filter maybe something that can really help you to take that to the to the next level Jim Collins and his book, you know good to great talks about.



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Michael Palumbos: Getting the right people in the right seats and doing the right things, and that skill, is it is not always a you know, an easy one.



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Michael Palumbos: That you know goes back to working with your team to say what are the right seats are we missing anything do we have too many people.



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Michael Palumbos: In the same seat, do we have too many people do we have seats that are empty.



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Michael Palumbos: You know what has to happen, what is, what is this the, what does the org chart have to look like in order for us to be successful in the next three to five years.



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Michael Palumbos: And then working backwards to say what are the skill sets that are needed, what are the what what you know what the who's that are going into those seats, what do they have to be doing.



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Michael Palumbos: And, should they you know be occupied by a family member or a non family member doesn't matter can, should we just get the right, the right best person in that right seat.



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Michael Palumbos: And then finally it's doing the right thing, so that's when we're when we have the right people and we've identified the right seats and then we need to make sure that we understand everybody's aligned on doing the right things so just go back to Jim Collins and take a peek at that.



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Michael Palumbos: it's essential that when we're you know focused on the who's within our business who's that are helping us in other areas of our lives that you know we've got those right people.



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Michael Palumbos: The other way if it's if it's somebody that needs to be hired I go back to brad smart and you know his concept in his book of top grading is a great way to help you to identify who's that are going to be working for you internally.



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Michael Palumbos: For me, you know, one of the things that you know we did is you know i'm a big fan of coaching So yes, we coach a lot of family owned businesses, but I have three coaches of my own.



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Michael Palumbos: One on the.



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Michael Palumbos: Business and personal together, we have a marketing coach and we have a sales coach we decided that we wanted to take those skills up to another level, we hadn't done it in quite some time and.



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Michael Palumbos: That was, you know what we did is we just brought those some specialist in those arenas after asking around and looking for who the Right, who was i'm also a part of three different Roundtable groups.



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Michael Palumbos: in different areas of expertise, you know, I have a Roundtable group in our you know our growth coaching part of our business, I have a Roundtable group in our business exit strategy group and our wealth management group and then i'm part of a vestige.



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Michael Palumbos: Group and that's just so that i'm you know hanging out and talking with CEOs from different industries, so that I can bring you know some different thoughts in.



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Michael Palumbos: In terms of you know what other people are doing, we highly highly recommend you know utilizing coaching programs and.



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Michael Palumbos: Finding the right who can sit alongside you and ask you the right questions you typically you know inside of each of us, we have the right questions.



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Michael Palumbos: or the right answers rather it's just we need somebody to pull out and ask us the right questions so that we can get to the right answer so who are the who's for family businesses that want more time.



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Michael Palumbos: You know who are the right who are the right who's in your life, we know that we are the right who is for a lot of them because we provide a fresh look at their business and we bring those new questions and we help them to take their business to the next level.



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Michael Palumbos: We also manage their succession planning, you know their their financial plan oftentimes you know yeah I just I laugh about it, and as we think about these things that we you know if we think that we need to be good at everything.



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Michael Palumbos: When I had you know, a broken leg, that would be like me trying to set my leg myself and I just couldn't even imagine that any of us would be thinking about.



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Michael Palumbos: You know, taking managing our own health, whether it was you know heart issues or stroke, or a broken bone we just we wouldn't think about managing that aspect of our life ourself and when we start working in.



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Michael Palumbos: Whatever area that you're in I mean Could you imagine if your customers tried to do those things on their own.



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Michael Palumbos: You wouldn't see me trying to build my house on my own, or to build an office building without a general contractor some architects and you know all the Labor that goes with that stuff, then I would need an awful lot of who's to really make that.



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Michael Palumbos: come to you know come to fruition, so you know, think about those things as you're you know, asking yourself who not how remember your business is likely, a WHO for someone else and think about that, in a way, as you're thinking about your marketing as you're thinking about.



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Michael Palumbos: You know the things that you provide for others.



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Michael Palumbos: don't hesitate to think about how they look at you, as their who and then, in this day and age in the digital world.



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Michael Palumbos: You may have another who in another state, you may have a WHO and another country and whether that be a virtual assistant to graphic designer sales people.



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Michael Palumbos: it's pretty much endless in this day and age, and you know now in this world of zoom and and being able to reach out and see somebody wherever they are, it really makes all of those things so much easier.



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Michael Palumbos: So take the time and don't feel that you have to figure this all out on your own think about who the who's are.



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Michael Palumbos: You know, in the areas that are important to you so write down those top three priorities the things that are most important to you in your life.



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Michael Palumbos: And then inside of each of those areas, you know, whether it be the business your personal life, the family life, your spiritual life your health.



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Michael Palumbos: You know figure out, what are the steps, what are the things that you're going to need to hoard the who's that are going to help you figure out how to get those things done, for you so find your who's.



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Michael Palumbos: To help you, with your House, I want to say thank you to everybody and appreciate you spending time with me on another the family biz show episode.



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Michael Palumbos: I am your host again Michael Columbus we're in Rochester New York family wealth and legacy is the name of our company, if we can help you.



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Michael Palumbos: in any way if we can be a who in some of the areas that we specialize in feel free to reach out and talk about a conversation of you know what that would look like have a great day, everybody, and we look forward to bringing you another great episode very shortly enjoy.


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*not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.

Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.


Episode 31 Transcript