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Episode 36: Navigating Change Within the Family Enterprise

In this episode of the Family Business Show hosted by Michael Palumbos, guests Nike Anani and Tsitsi Mutendi delve into navigating change within family enterprises. Nike shares her journey from feeling lost in a corporate environment to discovering her passion by returning to Nigeria and joining her family's business in construction, real estate, and engineering. Facing challenges such as business continuity, she learned resilience and creative problem-solving from her father, eventually becoming an advisor to guide her family through transitions.

Tsitsi discusses her experience with family business advising, prompted by her father's death and the complex process of managing his estate. Her narrative underscores the significance of understanding family dynamics and the importance of clear communication and governance in preserving a family business's legacy. She highlights her own business endeavors and the realization of the necessity for a family governance blueprint, leading her to found African Family Firms with Nike.

The episode emphasizes the importance of empathy, communication, and shared vision in family business succession planning. Nike and Tsitsi stress the need for families to come together to discuss and align on their business's purpose, values, and future goals, thus creating a strong foundation for intergenerational continuity. The conversation also touches on the broader impacts of family businesses on communities and economies, highlighting the critical role these enterprises play in sustainable development.

Episode 36 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos: Welcome everybody to the family business show I am your host Michael Columbus and today we are joined by two incredible guests we're gonna be talking about navigating change within the family enterprise so Nikki and on a and CC with 10 day welcome glad you're here with us today.

 

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Nike Anani: Thank you, Michael i'm really excited about our conversation.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Yes, thank you so much for having us today.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Of course, so when we when we kick off the show we asked each of our guests to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Tell about your journey, you know this whole journey of getting involved in family enterprises or family firms is a little different for everybody, so, can you tell us how you ended up and working with family businesses.

 

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Nike Anani: um for me my journey and where can we find me businesses is really very closely intertwined with my life journey.

 

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Nike Anani: My father started off our first family business Dr osborn.

 

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Nike Anani: But obviously as a baby I wasn't exactly an employee.

 

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Nike Anani: At age nine so i've been in Lagos Nigeria and our family businesses based in Lagos as well.

 

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Nike Anani: As nine removes the UK myself my mom and my brothers and that stayed back and continue building out the business, and so I went to university in London and I worked in accountancy for a few years.

 

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Nike Anani: And I found myself coming back to Nigeria to kind of discover what my two passions in life was because I really was quite lost in corporate I was doing quite well, but I just found it quite hollow and it wasn't purposeful for me.

 

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Nike Anani: And so I was supposed to be back in nature, for three months to really get a flair for what industries, I really loved and here we are 10 years later.

 

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Nike Anani: I ended up staying and never left ended up working alongside my father and our family businesses, which are in construction real estate and engineering.

 

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Nike Anani: As well as setting up a family office to manage the family's investments.

 

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Nike Anani: But I found the journey very lonely there were no advisors, to help us navigate the many transitions were going through no family business advisors on the ground in Nigeria.

 

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Nike Anani: And there was no Community of other family business owners next gens like myself that had to grapple with you know feeling like you're in the shadow of dad all the time, can you ever compare can you actually take this business to the next level.

 

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Nike Anani: Will this business from maker I miss this really difficult business environment and nature and so to cut a long story short, I found myself in a place where.

 

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Nike Anani: I had to train myself up to become the advisor for my family to help us with navigating those transitions.

 

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Nike Anani: And I started serving other families in the process then sissy and I met along that journey and i'll let her finish the story about what happened when we met after she tells her story.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Perfect Thank you so much.

 

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Michael Palumbos: See see.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: So for me my journey and family business advising started almost four years ago now, so I lost my dad.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Three years ago, going on for and i'm a third generation family business owners so both my grandparents were family business owners from both sides.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And my parents were family business owners, however, none of that those family businesses transcended to become generational family businesses with each generation, we had to start our own so.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I would say we're more of an enterprising family or the entrepreneurship.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Gene was prevalent in all of us, so when my dad passed on, it was a very hard journey, for me, because I was probably one of the closest of his children to him in terms of proximity and relationship.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And so I was appointed the execution of his estate and in going through his stage and trying to as a child to honor his legacy, as well as celebrate him and as well as ensure that all the members of the family that were entitled to his state.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Were participating and also got something that that they could remain with, and that was very difficult journey because.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: My dad had seven children from four different mothers and it was quite complex for us and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: So that means I had to bring together all my siblings and also try to honor as much as possible the good relationships, he had but also wade through the conflicts that were already there that had already been built.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And so, through that journey, I think I realize i'm also a family business owner and I have a publishing firm that's 12 years old, a Montessori primary school that is four years old.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And the the journey itself it's me and my husband have been building these businesses and my husband comes from a complex family business history and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: just trying to think and trying to figure out what is it that we are truly building and do we see it past ourselves.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And into our grandchildren, or are we just having that entrepreneurial mind where you're just building and building and trying to pay the bills and become successful but not really thinking far beyond your own self and probably your children and most.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Which are thoughts that only come towards the end and if you if you're really lucky, you will get an end where you're able to honor.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: The legacy you've built as well as honor those custodians that you handing over the legacy and prepare them for it.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And, looking around me I realized I grew up with family businesses, all around me and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: A lot of these businesses just didn't make it from generation to generation businesses I knew growing up, who were dominant in the market, just seems to disappear.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And that's when I did my research like went to the same journey nikkei went through trying to find my own feet trying to find how I could preserve the legacy that I was building and create a legacy, instead of just building a business.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: and create a wealth driven vehicle that's going to be able to help my grandchildren, instead of just doing it for now in my lifetime.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And that's when I stumbled on family governance is a tool and, for me, I saw family governance as a blueprint, as opposed to the final product, it just gave us a map.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: towards a future that we would like to see so as you would see if you're a blueprint to a house, you know the type of house you want the number of rooms you're going to have and everything.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And so it's just a blueprint, the actual working of the government's to actually build the house takes tools takes.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: A team your family, the team you surround yourself with and the whole build out itself is the process, and so, as I was doing that I started.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Also, getting into getting the education that I needed to edify looking at step.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And also been really honing down on helping other family businesses that I realized I wanted the same thing I wanted, but didn't know where to start so that's how I started my consultancy.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And in that journey is when I met me K, as she said, we met via linkedin we connected and there was a lot of resonance between us.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And our first phone call was was really we're really excited just to find somebody else's think of yourself in the desert going Oh, my goodness i'm not alone in here there's someone out there, so.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: You connected.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: reconnected Ben and then reconnected in December.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: A few months later, and we were that we were on the same journey we wanted the same outcomes and we then got together and created African family firms, which is our nonprofit African family business association.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Congratulations that's been an awesome journey, for both of you and i'm happy that you found each other, one of the things that I think.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Has astounded me is you know when we talk family business and legacy and the parable that we all talk about at the end of the proverb of the shirt sleeve shirt sleeves and three generations.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And it doesn't matter what country you're from that that Sir, you know it's stalls the stars to stalls it's you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: rice Paddy to rice Paddy in three generations, whatever it is, you know it's there because and it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I don't like to think about it in a negative term it's just entropy it's just it's physics it's just normal it's either you're either growing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Like the two of you have made the decision to grow and to learn and to add new tools to the tool belt, so that you can continual you know the legacy and continue the family business so good on you love it, thank you for joining us this is gonna be fun.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So we're talking about navigating change within the family, enterprise and you know, based on both of your stories.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's a lot of this has got to you know come from just your experience in through life.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um you do you, mind you know, I think, and I wasn't planning on this, but I think talking about your story and the different times, where there was disruption, or you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: There was a lack of continuity and what you were what you were doing nikkei Would you mind talking about that a little bit for you and then what were some of the tools that in what were some of the books that you read that guided you to you know to through those changes.

 

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Nike Anani: wow that's a pack question i'm not really sure where to begin there was lots of.

 

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Nike Anani: Lots of changes that we we navigated over the last 10 years from I mean challenging business environment, I kind of alluded to which we unfortunately lost some businesses some businesses, we had to shut down because they were no longer viable.

 

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Nike Anani: out here, our governments are typically the largest clients so government is about 70% of our economy, compared to private sector and and construction space they typically will dominate in terms of client base and.

 

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Nike Anani: Unfortunately, government.

 

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Nike Anani: are notorious for paying late and we had a cash crisis in our business and unfortunately one of our businesses, had to be shut down and.

 

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Nike Anani: I think that was resilience one I want for me to be perfectly honest with you, it wasn't books that got me through that season, it was it was really learning from my father and seeing how he had a learner's mindset and how seeing gritten action.

 

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Nike Anani: After your honesty and seeing coming up with creative ways of keeping the enterprise going.

 

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Nike Anani: What new businesses can we start to ensure that we have cash flow, as a group, to keep the business going and to ensure that we meet our obligations and how do we handle creditors because, obviously, if our receivables become, we have to write them off.

 

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Nike Anani: We had creditors to manage and dealing with that whole legal process so for me, I would say that was the most challenging disruptive season that i've navigated in the business, which is ironic more disruptive than prove it.

 

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Nike Anani: prove it was disruptive in itself having to ensure that you know, in an environment where we're a construction company we you know we're we're in the real sector.

 

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Nike Anani: So, to speak there's nothing virtual about building homes and building roads and what have you there's only so much we can ensure that we digital digitize and what have you.

 

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Nike Anani: And we had about 2000 members of staff, most of them are louie louie skilled stuff like artisans and things and getting them to adapt to working from home was a bit of a challenge, but that would standing.

 

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Nike Anani: Focusing on preserving culture of the business was was our priority as Peter drucker says, you know culture eats strategy for breakfast.

 

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Nike Anani: And how do we ensure that our touch points with our employees, not just with our customers.

 

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Nike Anani: remain consistent, how do we ensure that you know when we're having zoom calls with external facing parties they filled the Congress that they felt when we would come into the office and things like that, so those were the two big disruptive areas that i've personally faced as an entrepreneur.

 

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Nike Anani: And it's just really for me it's just starting with the end in mind of focusing on that end, which is that you will get through whatever season, that is.

 

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Nike Anani: not giving up being curious and courageous find solutions to whatever situation you find yourself in.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Rather than bravo.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I love.

 

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Michael Palumbos: How you took your degree in accountancy and your experience there and brought that back to the family so many times when.

 

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Michael Palumbos: we're dealing with the with family business advisors, they many of them come at it from the standpoint of the family dynamic the psychological aspects and the governance piece of that, and you have this really neat.

 

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Michael Palumbos: combination of where you understand the dynamic that's really important, but because you've been part of the the business the cash flow, you know is and just understanding that and having gone through.

 

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Michael Palumbos: A crisis moment you can relate to that piece, because at the end of the day, you know, yes dynamics aside, but without the cash flow without the growing business nothing changes, so I love that you bring that dynamic to the table there.

 

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Nike Anani: CC.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you were talking about.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know your family and your father died, you know that just rain, you know how did you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What were some of the tools what were some of the things that you relied on to get you through.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know the unraveling of his estate, the communication with different people that have you know different you know relatives that you know yet step siblings right and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I don't know if there was other people involved in all that but you're now you're navigating just the it's not the cash flow side of things it's the the family dynamic side of things through all of that, how did you how did you navigate that.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Such an interesting question so when you're going through it, I think it also goes on to how you react under pressure and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: How you deal with the emotions and that that sometimes can be a very personal thing, but I know from running businesses from.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: being the first born in the family in terms of from my mom and dad side that birth position can be very, very impactful on your whole life as it unfolds, because.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: you're always given responsibility from a young age you're the one who's looking after the siblings you're the one who's setting a good example.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And so the day my dad died, I remember, I was called the day before, and they said that he there was an accident that happened at the House.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And that they were taking him into the hospital, so my husband had traveled out of town and i'd said to them, I would come the following day, when my husband got back because I couldn't travel on my own because I had my my youngest daughter was just a couple of months old.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: In the morning the next day it was eight o'clock in the morning, my I had my mom over to look after the other kids that my husband had come back the night before and we're getting ready to prepare to go.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: To see my dad and and really see what's going on on the ground that's when my cousin called me and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: He was the first call he made because traditionally in our in our culture, you call the first child If so, if it's a first male child you call him first female child you call her so they called me and they said to me, you know what.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: You remember, we could we told you, your dad was in an accident and things went well well he's just past.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Though.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: automatically at that point in time, I became the adults in the situation, I became the person who had to break the news to everybody else.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I became the person who needed to to share the information with the critical family members.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Already the information was disseminating to other ways, but the official information had to come from me, and so I had to then prepare my family to travel, because he was.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: where he where he pastors about 400 kilometers from way we work in the main, we were in the capital, he died, one of the provincial towns.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: So getting there, I had the responsibility of making sure that all the funeral arrangements had been made, and when we were burying him and all the nitty gritty of it.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And then, to make sure that my other siblings that weren't from my mom were informed and that they made came to the funeral and then also the other women the the the mothers were also informed the ones that needed to be informed.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And so automatically at the funeral there was conflict because you had family members who, according to culture, were.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: standing in a saying we are his relatives, and so we are traditionally allowed to make decisions and, in this case I had also the legal standpoint, where I am his legal child and I had.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: orthorexia to make those decisions until the Court appointed somebody and those already conflict because there was miners involved there was my three year younger siblings or minus.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: had to navigate that so we had so many things going on at the same time, and for me, the only moment I got to even more my dad I think there's.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Initially, was when we went to the funeral parlor and they asked us to identify his body and confirm it was him and until that moment, I was in process mode, I was processing everything being the responsible firstborn and doing everything that needed to be done and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I think at that moment, when I realized our sister little girl that lost her dad and I had to take on the weight of the world, or the responsibility.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: He hadn't left the world he hadn't left anything and I had to start doing that for him and honor him and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I think that was the first moment it hit me and then after and then I think I gathered myself and then later on, after we had to go through the Court process because there's a lot of conflict going on.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: people trying to get things from the estate and try there's so much cultural and legal issues and throughout this time I was the only adult who could adult at that point in time, and so I think.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Like I said birth position helps because you're used to being the responsible one also being in business, knowing that there's different stakeholders to different conversations being able to navigate those stakeholders identifying the right stakeholders and diplomacy.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Emotions do take hold of you, but not allowing them to overwhelm you, because when you get emotional, you do not see right you don't answer right.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And you could literally pour gas over an open flame and it could get worse than it looks and I had a lot of moments, where I found I had to gather myself and and think about the fact that.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I was trying as best as I can, to preserve somebody's memory and no matter how many conflicts we have it wouldn't be right to destroy in a state and to fight over things because we still have relationships that we still have to navigate for the rest of our lives.

 

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Michael Palumbos: phenomenal, thank you for sharing that with us here's what's going through my head now is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You talked about.

 

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Michael Palumbos: having to be the adult and I think it's very important you know I don't think we've ever talked about that, on the show is when we're dealing with family.

 

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Michael Palumbos: A lot of times the emotion, or the triggers that happened when we were children or when we were younger.

 

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Michael Palumbos: come up in place, especially around when we're navigating change when there's when there's things happening those triggers happen and we need to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: want I think probably be thought filled about the fact that I may get triggered.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I may have these things happening, but I still need to adult myself, but at the same time.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You also need to be respectful to the child within right when you were when you went to see your father you needed to be respectful that there was that relationship, the father daughter, the little girl and her dad.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And you needed to embrace that at that moment, and so the duality of both of those you know positions it's important and just knowing that you know the these things are emotionally charged.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Great stuff Thank you that was I hope everybody understood how wonderful that was for us to experience, because we all, at one point or another have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: gone through things just like this and and we need to give herself that space to you know to be okay with that it's that one of the books that's popping into my head and I can't remember the exact title but it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Difficult conversations I can't remember it's you know just to you know, and I always liked it, you know anytime there's books that you have read through the years and things that have helped you to think through those things feel free to share them with us, but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I have to remember the title of that book and i'll put it back out there.

 

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Michael Palumbos: nikkei.

 

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Michael Palumbos: talk to us about.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know the one just thinking through succession planning and that change is going to be gigantic for people there's you know I don't know if it was which will you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: talked about it but it's that there's it needs to be a generational bridge that connects the during you know the succession plan you want to talk about that for a minute.

 

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Nike Anani: i'm complete.

 

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Nike Anani: A lot of the work that I do is really building bridges between generation morning generation to and because out here in Nigeria and Africa at large, most of the family businesses are first gen.

 

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Nike Anani: Over 98% of them, unfortunately, will pack up once the founders passed away and so.

 

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Nike Anani: I say that it's important for us to build that bridge between generation one generation to because what we see is a distance.

 

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Nike Anani: connect on a divide between the two generations who often have different leadership styles different views on life different risk appetites with respect to the business and even investments.

 

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Nike Anani: Different communication styles, where do we stop front time orientation.

 

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Nike Anani: And these many differences and this differences and.

 

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Nike Anani: perspectives can make us feel like we want completely different things and stop us from coming together to truly collaborate.

 

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Nike Anani: And really the basic building blocks before we can even do anything it's for the families come together and connect.

 

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Nike Anani: and have conversations conversations on the purpose of the family business the vision, the values.

 

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Nike Anani: The mission, and then we can then start to idea on what kind of a strategy to be one.

 

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Nike Anani: And then think through in the business coming up with ensuring that we do have a succession plan by way of management by way of estate planning and ownership by way of like legal perspective and what have you but.

 

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Nike Anani: I often say that the the fundamental piece that a lot of families don't want to do and miss out on is that conversation that's the basic that's the absolute basic without that conversation having your attorney come in won't solve having a family constitution.

 

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Nike Anani: that's drawn up and signed that's dead on your bookshelf it really weren't SOFA because it's really important that.

 

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Nike Anani: You know the heart and soul of a family's reflect it at any given point in time and the family has for clarity as to what's the compelling reason for them to stay in business together what's compelling reason for them to stay investing together.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Thank you so much.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I found the name of the book, it is, it is called crucial conversations and it's tools for talking when stakes are high, is the name of the book that i'd related to also you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i've read Bernie browns dare to lead and i've done that with my team, and you know, I think.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Teaching family members teaching employees, especially on the leadership team, how to have those crucial conversations or as Bernie brown calls that, how do we rumble.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And how do we do that in a respectful manner and again go back to inside the family, you know generation one generation to there will be triggers that will you know my father and I work together.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But we ran separate companies and when he retired I bought out a portion of his practice I didn't buy the whole piece whole practice, but it was because.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We didn't see eye to eye, and so we just made that constantly that that that decision that we would do things separately, because our relationship was more important than us, combining the business pieces to it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And, and I think that goes back to that shirtsleeves the shirtsleeves piece that there's so much pressure on it being a legacy that I think that just being a successful business right, you know is okay.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And as long as you're having that conversation I think that's what you were getting at is you know whether it's whether you pass the legacy or don't pass the legacy it's all about the conversation, why are we doing what we're doing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So CC What would you like it, what would you like to add to that.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I think one of the other things that's really important is when we're having conversations, to look at perspective.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: When we when we're speaking to each other how we speak to each other, and when we speak to each other, is also equally important, there are some times, where.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: We want to have important discussions but it's not the right time.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And because it's necessary for us in that moment to get answers or in that moment, to make a decision, we overlook the fact of what the other person is going through all the perspective of which they're seeing the conversation from.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: and that in itself is really important, in any dialogue and in any conflict situation where it's.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: In in in family, especially.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Because we assume because we come from the same household and we share the same commonalities in values or the same commonalities in.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: We we sat at the same dinner table for so long that we know each other, we assume that we, we had the same experiences, but we've seen that in one family, I can let me give a very.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: out the example look at the basis family when he started Amazon, he was in his garage hoping it'll work out and probably let's say he had his first child then.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: His first child's experience of him is definitely not the same as a child if let's say has another child now where he is or the lining trillion here.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And the resources are different, the his perspective of the world is different his perspective, even on raising children is different, and so, when we come to this discussion table, and we want to then talk about succession or his legacy.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Are the older children's perspective, going to be the same is that conversation going to come from a space where everybody understands where the other person is coming from.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And sometimes just to think the fact that the other person might want what's best for me.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And they don't know how to articulate it because they probably don't understand where my viewpoint is coming from so like you said it's the difficult conversations that need to be had.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: and trying to step into someone else's shoes, as we always say is probably a cliche way of looking at it, but maybe not necessarily stepping into their shoes, but.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: digging deeper and wanting to see what their perspective is and where they're standing at that point in time before we push through to the next stage of whatever it is that we are trying to achieve in a family business.

 

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Nike Anani: No yeah I completely agree with you, and it reminds me of my favorite quote from Steve curvy i'm sorry Franklin covey seek first to understand, then to be understood.

 

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Nike Anani: Which is really and it's hard it's really hard when you're in that situation and there's emotions brewing and we all want, we all have a righteous sense of what is just.

 

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Nike Anani: And we want to be served, you know justly and ensure that some people get their first share of reward or punishment, whichever is appropriate and whichever situation we're talking about but.

 

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Nike Anani: The truth of the matter is, we have to learn to be patient and seek first to understand other people before then we are then understood and.

 

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Nike Anani: it's horrible and hard, because I situations where you might be deeply deeply hurt and have no outlet to ever with the person that you're angry with.

 

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Nike Anani: And you have to be empathetic towards their situation and understand them first before then you understood so it's a patient's game ultimately.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: difficult.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Because you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I think the the example that city gave us really helped to to to visualize that you know when you take yourself out of the situation.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And thinking about Jeff bezos having kids at different times that really was that was the first time I ever thought about that that way and that really made a huge difference.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I think there was a great example and and to your point, making it is so difficult, you know, to seek first to understand.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I use the I use the coin, as the way that I help people to think about that, and if you hold a coin between two people and ask them to describe what they see one will say well it's you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: person's face and the other one says it's you know, a building and at the same time they're both 100% right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But they are you know they're not able to see the whole entire picture at the same time and that's you know that becomes difficult when as soon as you could flip that coin say oh.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You do see something different than I do and do seek to understand I think it's really important that people find the time to do that, how would you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Help family members as you're talking to family firms and family enterprises, how are you helping them to build those skills, because at the end of the day, this is no different than.

 

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Michael Palumbos: studying for your accountancy degree or weightlifting it's practice, and so what are some of the ways that you teach people to practice.

 

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Nike Anani: In the know it does take practice and quite often when i'm pulled in the room at the point of crisis where things are not working and it's like.

 

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Nike Anani: I want to take my parents to court, I want to see them there's this huge conflict going on, and so, firstly, I tried to doubt that tension.

 

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Nike Anani: That might not be the best route to take, for both the business and family relationship, you might feel very strong needs to be for righteousness right as you perceive it but it's not going to be fruitful.

 

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Nike Anani: And then it's really talking through what are the specific situations that has led you to this point, and can you I always tried to get my clients to develop an empathy map.

 

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Nike Anani: For who the counterparty even if there's no conflict, say, for instance, your classic next gen.

 

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Nike Anani: dad's not giving me sufficient responsibility and he worked for back from this business he's not retiring at the time, he said he would retire Okay, can we develop an empathy map to understand what's going on with that.

 

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Nike Anani: Could it be that he's dealing with a lot of fear.

 

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Nike Anani: A lot of loss so he's anticipating firstly his mortality, which is scaring him.

 

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Nike Anani: And as he's nearing that final day the dreams and ambitions, he had for himself perhaps he feels like he's not nearing them and actually using them.

 

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Nike Anani: He might also have a perceived loss of identity, a loss of status, a loss of the so much loss involved in it, so if he's dealing with anxiety and fear.

 

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Nike Anani: Would being critical and nagging help that situation could that be another way, we could firstly reframe his exit so not kicking that out of the business, but making him feel like he's been promoted to make a greater impact on the business and civic sites here at large.

 

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Nike Anani: So there's a reframing element to that and then also there's a language element to that So what are the key hot points for for dad What are his key issues.

 

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Nike Anani: Obviously observable right there's some some unspoken issues that he won't verbalize.

 

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Nike Anani: And then any idea that you're bringing to him, how can you articulate it in a way that he will and the language that he will understand.

 

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Nike Anani: I remember when my husband and I before we got married we had Premarital counseling that church and they made us read Stephen Chapman Gary treatments book the love languages.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I got five languages of love.

 

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Nike Anani: five languages of love.

 

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Nike Anani: And the whole idea is that we each communicate and distinct languages and we we express and receive love in specific languages.

 

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Nike Anani: And the issue is that quite often with couples, you will try to communicate and the language that you want to receive and it's like you're speaking a foreign language to your spouse.

 

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Nike Anani: And a similar in this situation so you're speaking and articulating your idea and the way that you would want to receive but it's that language in which that your father would understand and so really is empathy is at the heart of a lot of work that I do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it, you know when you said that what.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Thinking about practicing this I think sometimes people may get hung up on doing it for family members, so you talked about creating an empathy map.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Well we're all as a business owner, one of the ways, you can practice that and tell me if you, you know, this would make sense if I did, that with my customer.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And talked about how do I do an empathy map what you know I can I can Google empathy map, I can see what that looks like and if I do that with my customer first then maybe I can learn how to do that with my family members, second, it might be easier that way.

 

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Nike Anani: Even your employees.

 

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Nike Anani: Employees perspectives are completely different.

 

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Nike Anani: Their priorities are not necessarily the same as yours right, so I found it to be a really useful life skill of developing an empathy map what someone thinking what are they feeling.

 

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Nike Anani: What what are they sensing what do they want what are they fearing just going deep and trying to understand their psyche and when I Struan that for a few days, I start to actually feel deep genuine empathy for them.

 

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Nike Anani: yeah and it's like okay well if I articulated this in this way actually that's quite abrasive that's almost like rubbing salt in the wound.

 

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Nike Anani: That sounds quite critical that were very well received So can I change my style of delivery, can I repackage and essentially speaking their love language as we were kind of speaking about earlier, so I found it to be a really useful life skill, not just about helping families and business.

 

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Right.

 

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Nike Anani: city.

 

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Michael Palumbos: If you have anything that you want to add in there that'd be great, but then I would love to kind of bring us back to governance and talking about you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What are what are some of the aspects of those building the blueprints inside of governance and what are some of the good exercises, to help us down that road, and you know, maybe, its history or shared history and values and those connection points.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I think you've just spoken to a lot of the tools that I use when working with families.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: When you have different people in the room, no matter how common they have aspects of their lives and experiences it's really important to highlight what brings us together what do we share.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: What is our shared history, because that is where we're coming from what is it, how do we reflect on their history, how do we see their history, what are the experiences we've had together and.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Watch of those experiences was important to us and then looking at, I think, for me, I break it into three steps your past your present your future.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Your shared history is your past your shared values are your present because you're looking at where you're coming from and you're pulling together all the important moments the moments that made everyone say.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: This was painful or, this is the happiest moment or this was a triumphant moment for us.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And then creating those values What are those value systems that we have right now in this moment in time, where we say as a collective, this is what we believe in as.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: This is who define what defines us, then, when you looked at your shared.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Vision you're now looking at the shared future you're projecting into a future that you know very little about, but you have an idea of what you would want it to look like and you start.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: assigning yourselves and committing yourself to this because it's something that you've shared something you've sat down and agreed that.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Knowing where we're coming from understanding, where we are and then projecting into where we want to be.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: This is the blueprint of the future that we want to see, and then going into that we start looking at another three part which is people processes.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And product your product is definitely the future is the wealth, but you want to gold is the future do you want to see for your family, the collectivity the.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: The freedom to choose the freedom to to be a family and recognizing what that product looks like and projecting it in that shared vision.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: The process is now identifying as a family who is going to play the roles that are pivotal to making this future possible.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: We, who are the key human resources within the family within the business that need to work together to create a process that then uses tools that starts building out, and as I keep on saying today, there is something I saw on linkedin which was so profound to me.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Where it said, we always talk about Rome being not being built in a day as a cliche but we forget to mention that Rome was not built by a single person it two teams to build Rome.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And so, as a family, we must know that that product or that shared vision we have.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: needs the team, it needs the people, the humans, the the people that create the family that joint vision that joint shared history that joint shared value system has to then be embedded in the people to be able to go through the process to create the product.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And so you're looking at it from three point angles on East side's past present future shared history is your past.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Present is your shared values future your shared vision and then you're looking at your people.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: The human resources, you have the family members that are ready to to do the work that's necessary the team, you have ready to build.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: The processes that they have to go through to build and the final product, what is it that we want to see at the end what is.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: I as a family, what do we say is the build out and we must know that with each generation, the blueprint might be changed.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: You might have something that may impact or your family might go a little bit bigger and you need to add a few rules that blueprint, and you might want to knock out the the unsweetened add.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Another extension walk in closet or something but that's a decision that the family has to make together, and it has to be a shared experience and so within itself family governance is.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: it's it looks like a natural process if you look at it from a non business typical situation it's a national process where you just saying to people as a group.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: What do we want to achieve, because we were brought together by nature or nurture and we're here now.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: What do we want to say, as a group, that we have collectively achieved, and we look at that, when we see look at the great families, the monarchies the.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: The business families they've achieved something they've they've added to the value of the human race they've added to the value of the Communities.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And their legacy is more than just the wealth that they left their families.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: it's the fact that they were able to create a vision that we all were able to see become a product, and we were able to benefit from that product in some way and, ultimately, that is the human cause, that is what we really want to do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I thank you, that was perfect I love the way you phrase that and put that together, I when I talk with families, I break it down.

 

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Michael Palumbos: slightly different but it's but the saying exactly the same thing it's its purpose first.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Why do we exist as a family, what is it important, what are we trying to do, and that, in order to get there it's you know that that purpose statement it's the.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Why, you know as Simon cynics says right it begins with why it's the essential first step in making these things happen, as they say, at the y Institute.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And then from there it's I skipped to talking about the What would it look like, and I want each family member to write separately.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And we go through exercises and ask questions and get everybody to just say, for you and go back to perspective for you, what does this look like if we were to achieve this purpose, or if we were to really go after and hard and and work towards it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: At that point, you know a lot of times what i've seen is there's a there is a disruption if I start with.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The purpose without talking about the vision for the future, because I think it's natural for human beings to talk about the obstacles that are in the way.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But when the purpose is big enough way and i've heard it said when the facts when the dream is big enough, the facts don't count.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so, when the purpose is big enough, and then you can outline it and everybody can share in that, and then give the space for the obstacles.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And everybody, the same thing put your obstacles down, what do you think could stop us from making these things happen right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And then you can create the strategies like it may be, reading the five love languages might be one of the pieces in there, it might be making sure that we understand empathy and putting those pieces together, but that creates if I have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: My vision right or my purpose and I have the vision for the future, I understand the obstacles.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you put all that, together, and then you have strategies to work, you know to to work against the obstacles or to overcome the obstacles that becomes your blueprint.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Right and now you have something that everybody can agree to love it love it um there was a couple other things that were.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know that that were said the I latched on to him thinking about families that do end up in turmoil.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The do end up in that you know the legal positions, he said she said, and now we're in we're at we're going to lawyer up if you were talking to a family that was in the midst of loitering up, so to speak.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What are some of the things you know you would share, and I, you know to say yeah I think you've already said it in here, but I just if you've got you know words of wisdom for people in that position.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Is there anything else, that you would add to it, I think we already said it now that I get as as i'm speaking through this I think we've already said it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, really working on an empathy map it's it's sitting down and knowing that the person that's going to walk away with the most from this is probably the attorneys or the legal system.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But this has been a fabulous fabulous conversation.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Why don't we why don't I ask each of you is there anything that we haven't talked about that you would have liked to have talked about we've got a few minutes um is there anything that you'd like to add that we that I haven't you know we haven't teased out at this point.

 

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Nike Anani: um I would just add in this hour that we're in just globally with the pandemic and everything.

 

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Nike Anani: it's been extremely disruptive but I really believe that moments of disruption, give us an opportunity to reimagine reinvent ourselves and redefine ourselves as individuals, families and businesses and.

 

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Nike Anani: As he kind of alluded to not during moments of difficulty to to lean in and not give up and to dare to dream, in spite of all that might happen last whether it's business wise or personally.

 

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Nike Anani: And come together as a family just be connected and have those conversations and collectively dream for the future.

 

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Michael Palumbos: See.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: um I think my words of wisdom to families right now is to be unafraid the future will always happen.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Whether we in it or not, the future will always happen so being unafraid means that we can go out there and project our best visions of this dreams.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: and allow them to happen, and when we feel that we are way out of our depth to know that there was a time where they thought the earth was flat and not round.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And when they kept on going they realized that it was actually round and they'd come back the other end.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: So being unafraid allows us to to carry on when times are difficult to carry on to have difficult conversations.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And to see conflict not always as a bad thing, but as a space of growth and to look at things I know it's difficult to always see things positively.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: But then, not to see it as a positive or a negative, but to just embrace it as an experience.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: Because we always go through experiences, we will have bad days, we will have good days and I think, as we have learned from from covered itself.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: that the world is just a village and our families are a part of this village, we are all in the same boat, so we should look into a future, knowing that we are responsible for how that future pans out and we can't sit outside the ring, while the matches going on.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Bravo.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Ladies I can't Thank you enough, this has been just a fabulous episode and we really I think people should go back and re listen to this more than once.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It was that good with the pieces that you shared and we haven't talked about a lot of these things before so bravo to both of you, thank you, thank you for for joining us today if people wanted to connect with you how did they do that.

 

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Nike Anani: Thank you so much, firstly, Michael and website.

 

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Nike Anani: calm and African family firm stork.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And for me it's not a legacy.com so naca spout an H ei K than legacy one word.com and we are also on social media, so you can find us.

 

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Tsitsi Mutendi: And NICO and Danny autism tandy on linkedin on Twitter on Facebook, but majority of the time you find us on linkedin or Twitter and we are very responsive when you reach out to us, even to the African family phones website.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Wonderful and you know it just struck me as the work that you're doing really has giant ripple effects, because when you can help a business successfully go from.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Jen wanda gen two or gen.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To to gen three and you can keep that legacy in place it's all of those jobs and it's all of that, you know all of that work that's you know vendors that are being served, and it really does help.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To change the economic outlook and things that we do you said it earlier and it just clicked for me.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know in Nigeria 70% of GDP is coming from government, where in the US 70% of GDP is coming from consumer spending.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so you know it's those jobs, it says that economic engine of the family businesses, the more that we can help them, the more you can serve them and keep those legacies moving it does make a difference, so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: really, really, you know Hats off to both of you and thank you for the work that you're doing out there, keep it up.

 

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Michael Palumbos: My name is Michael Columbus, and this has been the family biz show and with family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York, you can reach out to us.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Family wealth and legacy.com but, more importantly, find the family business show share it with other people there's been so much impactful positive learning, you know pieces inside of here that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We know that the family businesses, the economic and an engine of all of our communities so let's keep these messages in this learning going forward, thank you all for joining us have a wonderful week.

If you’re a family business or a family business consultant and want to be on the show, share your story and help other family businesses, send us an email to producer@thefamilybizshow.com or fill out a contact form here!

*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.

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