Broker Check


Episode 37: Securing the Future of Your Family Business

In this episode of the Family Biz Show, host Michael Palumbos engages in a thought-provoking conversation with John and Jack Doyle from Doyle Securities in Rochester, New York. The dialogue delves into the intricacies of securing the future of family businesses, drawing on the Doyles' firsthand experiences.

John Doyle shares his journey of joining the family business in 1981, emphasizing the importance of gaining outside experience before entering the family fold. This approach, he notes, was not just beneficial for his personal development but also for the business, offering fresh perspectives and new ideas.

Jack Doyle, echoing his father's sentiments, recounts his path through various sales roles before returning to the family business. He stresses the value of external experiences in shaping his approach to the business and his relationship with his siblings within the company.

The discussion also touches on the significance of communication and having a clear set of values and expectations within a family business. Both John and Jack highlight the role of advisory boards in providing external insights and guiding significant business decisions, particularly during periods of growth or major transitions.

The Doyles' story is a testament to the evolving nature of family businesses and the need for continuous adaptation and open dialogue to thrive across generations. Their insights offer valuable lessons for other family businesses grappling with similar challenges.

Episode 37 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos: Hello everybody and welcome to the family biz show I am your host Michael Columbus from family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York, and today we.

 

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Michael Palumbos: have an awesome show planned for you we're going to be talking about securing the future of your family business and who better to talk about that with then john and jack Doyle from Doyle securities right here in Rochester New York so john and jack welcome.

 

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Jack Doyle: Thank you for having us Michael really appreciate being here.

 

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John Doyle: Great but likewise Michael Thank you so much, great to be here.

 

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Michael Palumbos: This will be fun so on our show one of the things that we asked people to do is just to kind of talk about what was your journey.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Like in joining the family business because you know joining the family business isn't for everybody, and some people do it directly right out of you know from day one that's the first job and only job they ever had and other people.

 

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Michael Palumbos: there's you know some rules and whatnot and how you got there so john if you don't mind kicking us off and tell us about your journey with the family business.

 

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John Doyle: would be happy to share.

 

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John Doyle: So yeah I joined my dad and 1981 full time and you know kind of permanent basis, I do a lot of summer.

 

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John Doyle: Summer jobs, and you know i've done a number of other things Prior to that, but while I was in school.

 

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John Doyle: And then I worked somewhere else for a while, so my dad.

 

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John Doyle: was pretty I want to say pretty loose in terms of requirements, you know he had you know one maybe two family meetings, and you know kind of generally said hey you know it'd be great if you, you know tried something else out and then maybe come back.

 

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John Doyle: I got a degree in marketing from Syracuse and then I worked for the borough's corporation took a position working in central New York selling computer systems.

 

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John Doyle: And then within about a year and a half.

 

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John Doyle: Not too long really within a year and a half, he called me said, have an opening do you want to you know move back to Rochester and join join the business.

 

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John Doyle: And you know, certainly in me there was that spark in me of you know, businesses, what I was interested in I was kind of entrepreneurial as a kid.

 

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John Doyle: And you know I think my dad was you know comfortable that I had four siblings none of them had expressed interest and they all kind of went in different directions, with their lives, so they did not jump in.

 

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John Doyle: And that's that's about it, you know he just kind of that loose idea of you know, getting experience somewhere else is probably a good thing, but it wasn't mandatory.

 

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John Doyle: And, but I that's how it played out and that's what I did i'm glad I did it and and that that experience kind of was formative for me and thinking about the next generation which jackal probably tell you more about and what we did, but.

 

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John Doyle: That that's it was pretty informal and you know just a couple meetings and then my dad was retired early age, he retired in is really my mid 50s early mid 50s and he handed off the baton I bought the company from him from him in December of 86 so only five years after and.

 

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John Doyle: He went on to a second career and the stars lined up you know for me and for him and and in for another generation in the family, so it was you know, looking back now.

 

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John Doyle: You know, it was worked out worked out well worked out well, but it was a little less structured and a little less formal.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Now that's great you know you jump over jack in a second, but I just want to just two little quick notes.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you're looking at you know some of the formulaic things that family business talk about whether it was informal or by design.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know your father, you know, had to go out and work someplace else didn't have a position for you, but then raised his hand when he had a position for you, which is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know phenomenal and then the other one that I heard that oftentimes gets overlooked is you bought it, you know and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: They I put you know I push when we're talking with family businesses that one pretty hard because.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To whom much is given much is expected, but when you are the one writing that check and you know i'm in the midst, and I jack you'll appreciate this, I have three more payments to my father.

 

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Michael Palumbos: January of 2022 is the last one, and you know, the amount of money that it takes, you have to earn, I have to earn X, in order to pay him why because of taxes lovely.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But it's the the ownership mentality that entrepreneurship mentality that's one of those triggers that really pushes that so I Hats off to dad and the way you did things again informal or by you know or by design just good to talk about Thank you.

 

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John Doyle: yeah we did pay fair market price, I paid a fair market price and and then he worked out with you know with my siblings that you know my my inheritance, so to speak, was the opportunity to buy the business I paid a fair market price, but I did get good terms.

 

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John Doyle: I guess my inheritance really was the.

 

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John Doyle: favorable terms, basically, it was 1212 years to pay it off, and then, and then you know I paid in paid him off and.

 

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John Doyle: Early, by the way, and then my siblings shared in their state, and I did not so their inheritance, you know, is a share of my my my parents have stayed and mine was just this opportunity in it.

 

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John Doyle: I don't know if that's right wrong or indifferent, but that's why it worked and it worked fine.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah but it sounds like there was conversations that happen with everybody at one point or another there so that everybody knew what was going on.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that's The other thing I mean.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know in jack and I promising and bring into the conversation in just a second but I mean that's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's really so cool john the.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Those things happen, I I tell people all the time before you sign documents before you take it to the next level and finalize things bring all the players, then.

 

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Michael Palumbos: and allow them to voice to hear what the plan is and to voice if they have any concerns or thoughts because, like it or not, especially I mean you guys go back to 19 oh wait as a family history in the you know the the Doyle detective agency, back then, but you know when we look at that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Anybody with the last name Doyle that's been going through upstate New York they're connected to the family business, even when they don't work there.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so there's an emotion piece to all of that, and people forget, you know, especially if grandma and grandpa started the business and then your parents ran it your whole adult life.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, for years, people said oh your you know your last name is Smith yeah your your Smith xyz company and and there's that attachment that we forget about so good job nice work.

 

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Michael Palumbos: jack.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love to hear tell us about your journey, you know and love to hear what you had before, as well, if you did.

 

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Jack Doyle: yeah absolutely so that last point you made is an interesting one, you know I felt that.

 

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Jack Doyle: As I was was growing up, you know internalizing that association with the business, you know it's a small community Rochester is so.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know there's there's a few different you know Doyle clans out there and just you know being around the Community people would ask you.

 

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Jack Doyle: know, are you are you building oils are those oils and yeah you know part of that definitely you know internalize just my internal association with the company and.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know that plus always just having a great admiration for my dad and what he did you know I always felt an attachment to the business, so you know it started early on, I felt.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know very interested in the business.

 

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Jack Doyle: I went part time and, and I think it was 2000 possibly 2001 and did some part time work for Doyle.

 

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Jack Doyle: When sales service installation and total I spent a lot of time as a as an alarm dispatcher.

 

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Jack Doyle: which was some great experience early on, I was in high school and then in between sessions in college, I went to St bonaventure University in upstate New York.

 

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Jack Doyle: probably spent a good four years doing that part time work, which was great experience for me and gave me an opportunity to you know, have a foundation for my career oil later on.

 

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Jack Doyle: And it was good to get that exposure to different parts of the business, you know.

 

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Jack Doyle: After college kind of like my dad you know, there was this.

 

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Jack Doyle: I don't know if it was a written requirement or not, but there was an expectation for me and my siblings that if we were going to join the business that we had to spend some time outside of it, much like it was for him and his dad.

 

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Jack Doyle: So I did that I went to Syracuse and I started a career in sales there, I was doing copier and software sales.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Work for out there.

 

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Jack Doyle: Eastern copy products.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Out of town, I worked for Eastern and Rochester for a little bit.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and then I switched from eastern to zero graph to Xerox and I was running the sales agency in in Syracuse so just kind of that's a really weird.

 

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Jack Doyle: canal on a yeah we can connect offline i'm sure we know a lot of people from that world that's that's great and I honestly I love the business.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know, as a first job out of college, it was a great learning experience you know, I was one of those feet on the street sales people if they just kind of share it out.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know you go get some doors slammed on yeah and you know have some difficult conversations and try to try to cobble together a track record, you know, a strong track record and.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know it, it hit me like a ton of bricks those first couple months like you know they're just nothing was given to you.

 

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Jack Doyle: And you really had to go out and earn it and in Syracuse you know oil was a thing, but I there's no opportunity to leverage any existing relationships you just had to go out there and get it so.

 

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Jack Doyle: I enjoyed that you know, it was a great springboard and I had a nice sales career, so I leverage that into another sales opportunity down to Washington DC or had a lot of.

 

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Jack Doyle: Former classmates that moved down there, and so I decided to move away to a different Community and and you know get to experience that a little bit I spent.

 

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Jack Doyle: another five years doing sales in Washington DC and then like my dad i've always kind of had a bit of a passion for entrepreneurship, I started a company down there at totally different field.

 

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Jack Doyle: Doing corporate housing corporate lodging for.

 

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Jack Doyle: Government travelers and.

 

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Jack Doyle: law firms and anyone in DC there's a big need for 30 6090 days like temporary quarters type of living, so I started a business selling that in downtown DC.

 

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Jack Doyle: And did that sold the business about four years later, when I decided to move back to dwell and you know just kind of came up with a plan with my dad to.

 

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Jack Doyle: I think we started about a year in advance, which is what he was looking for you know I don't think there was a position immediately available, but you know I said hey.

 

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Jack Doyle: I think i'm ready, you know I spent a lot of time outside of Doyle i'd love to come back and I always wanted to.

 

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Jack Doyle: So we worked on a plan, we found a position that was suitable to my skills time, which was a business development manager position.

 

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Jack Doyle: And started back full time at Doyle 2014 and things have been great since then, you know I just tried to take it one day at a time, learn as much as I can.

 

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Jack Doyle: contribute in the ways I am qualified to and know how and I give my dad a lot of credit, a lot of wisdom to set up a system where.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know no one's joining the business without spending that time outside and then not joining and having to join in a position that they're qualified for.

 

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Jack Doyle: So I was set up to succeed, you know I think right away, which was great and now i'm i've been off and running for almost seven years currently our President of integrated systems and support services and it's a blast well but Nice.

 

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Michael Palumbos: here's a quick question on bonaventure when you were there did they have the family business Center there, whatever I think there was an entrepreneur program there.

 

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Jack Doyle: I was there for four years graduated in 2002 the entrepreneurship section was was fairly fledgling I think they offered it as a minor, not a major.

 

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Jack Doyle: I didn't take it, but I suck I think you know, two out of the three courses that were offered any waves, as elected as I like them, I, like the structure that instructor there to Palmer think his name was.

 

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Okay.

 

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Jack Doyle: and

 

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Michael Palumbos: The reason I asked is and Carol whitmire who runs the program here at St john Fisher I think she was involved the bonaventure if i'm not mistaken, at one point.

 

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Jack Doyle: So and i've got to know Carol a little bit you know just through those those mutual connections and I know she was at St john Fisher and yeah seems like a very nice nice person I have enjoyed speaking with her.

 

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Michael Palumbos: got great well, I appreciate both of you, giving us a little bit of a background.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um you know it's as you go through and look at the timeline on doyle's website about the history, I number one.

 

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Michael Palumbos: applaud you for the way that you've set that up because it's it does really start to set the stage for understanding, who you're working with both as a family and both as a as a business, and so you know that's pretty pretty impressive.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The other thing that you know popped into my head is through the years.

 

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Michael Palumbos: This you know the rest of the world march of 2020 and we talked about you know, having to pivot you guys have been using the family's been pivoting for for centuries.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Decades at least you know right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: centuries, how many how many pivots through the years, do you think there's been.

 

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John Doyle: Well i'll start with that one is there's been a lot, I mean the just.

 

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John Doyle: it's an evolution bordering on a revolution of you know, different services and.

 

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John Doyle: You know the company has had to adapt to all the changes that happen in the world and in US society during that timeframe, but also within our industry every industry has unique evolution.

 

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John Doyle: And the security industry it's been pretty dramatic you know my my great grandfather started, I was a private investigator, and there was a huge market for that that was all done privately back in those days and.

 

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John Doyle: You know you think of the pinkerton stories and there were other private detective agencies out there that kind of got well known.

 

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John Doyle: police departments weren't what they are today they didn't investigate a lot of those crimes, a lot of major crimes were they were investigated privately by private individuals, insurance companies would hire families would hire them.

 

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John Doyle: And so there's a big market well that all changed, you know police departments took over that stuff there's still some investigative work out there, but it's much less much different today.

 

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John Doyle: And then there was security guard services and which is very manpower intensive and then electronics came into play in there it's been dramatic revolution and evolution.

 

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John Doyle: and electronic capabilities so yeah we've had to flow through all that manage all those changes.

 

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John Doyle: Along with stuff you know societal trends and demographic trends, as well, so lots of pivots and lots of different services over the course of time and that's a huge part of surviving a long time, I think, is being able to to adapt to the changing environment around you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah so there's that's a good question, do you guys, I have to imagine how often does the company do a SWOT analysis.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Anyway, yeah right, you know and i'm always shocked when I walk into a business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Worse, when they say what's a SWAT second worse is you know yeah we did one of those before and it sits on the shelf and it's never dusted off it's you know not revised.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And I would say, you know, over the last you know year you probably needed to do them quarterly to be you know to be looking at, because things were changing so dramatically and for some industries, you know that was the way to do that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We call it just say we'll have to do, will do this one offline but an advanced swap with the mini Max and i'll teach you about that sometime and you'll you'll love it you'll love it.

 

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John Doyle: But it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: good for you for doing those things in that obviously had been done, you know, through the generations and john you know you hit the nail on the head it's.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's staying flexible right it's it's it's adjusting to where the where the ball is going, or you know Wayne gretzky used to say I skate to where the Puck is going that's why i'm so good.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that's what you have done through the years so good for you then great stuff I imagine it's been a lot, the same with the family as well.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know where the family, would have to be nimble and adjust and you know do some of those things jack is that something when we talk about family harmony and how you guys, you know build and keep family harmony.

 

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Michael Palumbos: How many siblings do you have in the business versus out of the business and how do you how do you keep and maintain you know family harmony with those that are in and those around yeah.

 

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Jack Doyle: So, to answer your good, there are four of us said blanks the oldest of four siblings and three of us are actively in the business i've been there for about seven years, my sister Alexandra.

 

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Jack Doyle: has been here for a couple years and then my brother Eric is getting started in July, which we're extremely excited about my youngest chloe has not.

 

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Jack Doyle: Actively expressed interest yet, but hasn't ruled it out, so there are three out of four of us in a in earnest.

 

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Jack Doyle: And to answer the second part of your question.

 

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Jack Doyle: I gotta get again give credit to my dad you know for for establishing some framework and bringing in some outside help.

 

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Jack Doyle: To to accommodate this process.

 

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Jack Doyle: You can go a lot of different directions, with the answer that, how do you maintain family harmony.

 

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Jack Doyle: If there's if there's just one, and I think it's communication, you know it's making a point to express yourselves and to schedule some time to discuss these things and to see where everyone's at.

 

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Jack Doyle: My dad set up a at least a formula, where we were we were meeting annually on this without any outside help.

 

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Jack Doyle: Just just a sound out where we were professionally you know, maybe it pertains to the business, maybe it doesn't, but it was always a stated question.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know, do you want to be involved in the family business in what capacity, what do you see yourself doing there we've taken it a step further and.

 

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Jack Doyle: Trying to put together a family constitution, you know living document that you know we're expressing you know what our values are as a family what our values are as a company how those things intertwine.

 

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Jack Doyle: stating the the rules of engagement for involvement with the business.

 

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Jack Doyle: And there's a lot of work that's gone into that and, again, you know credit credit to my dad and.

 

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Jack Doyle: He was wise enough to bring it and advisors, you know we invested resources to have these processes, even though we probably didn't fully know what they were at first, because we want to have that.

 

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Jack Doyle: That safety net, you know we we feel like we're very close family, we are very close family and we all communicate well and we spend time with each other.

 

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Jack Doyle: We all love and care about each other, but we try to take every possible precaution that you know misunderstandings, while they happen are addressed quickly before they spin out of control and and I think we generally do a pretty good job in that, but it's a.

 

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Jack Doyle: An ever ongoing effort you know, to make sure that that that happens so that'd be my answer.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and for those of you that are listening you've heard us on the show talk about the three circle model, the you know the family, the business and the management in you know, looking at those three those three pieces.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I would say that there's there's another way of looking at that same kind of thinking is that there's there's competing goals, and so you know john you and your wife have some goals of what you want to do and where you want to go jack you are you married jack.

 

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Jack Doyle: I am.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So you and your family, you know have have your own goals and each of your siblings will have all of their own goals.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And you know, then there's the goals of the business and then you have the goals of the family combined.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so, when you start to look at those things without having that level of trust, which obviously you have built, which allows for that really good communication to happen.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's one of those weird places where it goes awry and and you know good on you, you know good.

 

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Michael Palumbos: learning and education and reading is the antidote to you know all of the issues it's it's really raising that level of emotional intelligence and understanding so just you guys are the classic case of doing you know a lot of the right things.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To really appreciate a john you and I, we spoke before, and one of the things that you did had nothing to do with the family, but I think you know you getting some outside help.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you were going through you know, a high growth period.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Do you mind it would you mind just talking about what you did you know you had some changes that were coming up and going into a high growth period and you did some things that I think were phenomenal there, do you mind talking about that a little bit or do you need me to.

 

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John Doyle: assure you referring to our Board of advisors.

 

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John Doyle: Your setup yeah so yeah I mean jack jack alluded to, you know, bring in help you know, because every you know.

 

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John Doyle: No one does anything alone you got your internal team, and you guys have a great team, and you got an external team of advisors and.

 

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John Doyle: You know, knowing where and when to invest in these things, I think, is hugely important so.

 

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John Doyle: We did go into a period of very fast growth in the 80s 90s, and into the you know 2000s a little bit.

 

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John Doyle: We were in three different businesses and all three were growing through acquisition, there were there were market opportunities was fragmented markets and all three and.

 

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John Doyle: Lots of acquisition opportunities of smaller companies within our footprint and and then as a way of expanding our footprint and we were you know, trying to make hay while the sun shines and we did really well and we had some we had a good partner with.

 

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John Doyle: A Bank who did some debt financing for us, but to you know just to help us, you know, keep a handle on everything you know we we thought it'd be a good idea to create a board of advisors and we recruited some great people.

 

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John Doyle: who came in as paid advisors and we would meet quarterly and you know we we lay out what the company is doing here's our plan here's how you know here's we're deviating from plan here's we're on plan.

 

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John Doyle: And please feedback to us, you know or we've got this problem and we describe the problem, and please give us some feedback, what do we do and.

 

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John Doyle: You know, it was just priceless just invaluable and it helped us through that growth period and then in 2000 we actually went kind of the other way, we decided to.

 

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John Doyle: sell off two of the three businesses and keep the electronics.

 

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John Doyle: And so we went through a period where we'd kind of scaled back in size all over still you know pretty big and you know have some good things going on, but we scaled back from where we were.

 

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John Doyle: And we kind of set we set the board of advisors aside for that time just kind of regrouped.

 

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John Doyle: And then, as the kids were coming back into the fold and i'm the company is again getting bigger and we're still doing acquisitions, but I now so now I have succession planning on the horizon, we reinstituted the board of advisors.

 

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John Doyle: I think it's about eight or nine years ago now, and so i've kind of had two rounds of bringing on a board of advisors to to help us.

 

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John Doyle: And this addition to many other advisors, you know your traditional advisors good corporate attorney a good corporate accounting support and many others and.

 

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John Doyle: So it's just it's a team that you need to because nobody can do anything by themselves it, you know, to get anything done.

 

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John Doyle: You know of any significant size or scope you've got to have a strong team element so that's that's part of it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's great can you mind if you go back talk about your high growth period for a second and think about that time period and was there.

 

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Michael Palumbos: A decision or two that you can think of that the the board of advisors.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It really made all the difference in hindsight, you can look back and say you know they pushed me in a direction that I wasn't comfortable with or they had a different idea than I did, and it really made a difference anything like that come up.

 

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John Doyle: yeah I mean I can think of several milestones I guess.

 

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John Doyle: You know.

 

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John Doyle: Just what to do about finding financing structure, you know debt, I mean at one point, you know we're growing fast we'd opportunities to grow even faster and we looked at well, should we look at equity financing should we put a.

 

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John Doyle: Book out, and you know, consider the possibility of of of an equity investor stepping in and being a partner, or do we stick with you know traditional bank financing.

 

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John Doyle: And our Board was very instrumental in setting up a process to evaluate that and.

 

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John Doyle: You know there at the end of the day, there you know, we had to make that decision which way we're going to go that's how I got to the decision Well now, I think what we're going to instead of bringing an equity partner and try to grow, all three of these things.

 

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John Doyle: It would.

 

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John Doyle: It would just be a different job, a different lifestyle and the Board is very instrumental in the decision point there now you know going this path of.

 

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John Doyle: let's spin off a couple of these things and just focus on the one it was a great run and successful run and but we could you know kind of reorganize the portfolio this way, and they were very influential with me and sorting through that decision was a huge decision point.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and it's you know if I shared this with other people before you know the Advisory Board is not there to tell you what to do, you don't answer to the Advisory Board they're there to advise and if you have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The right people I don't get you know i'm going to take a stab that you, you know paid them fairly well to be part of this board and it wasn't a fiduciary duty, but it was a these are smart people that you brought in that just had different experiences in their businesses, the new head.

 

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John Doyle: yeah and they have no axe to grind you know they're just going to share their wealth of experience and.

 

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John Doyle: And and their knowledge and and and they're there you know you pay them as a matter of respect, but there are people that don't really need that that compensation it's just kind of you know it's there for the respect respecting their time.

 

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John Doyle: But they're there, because they enjoy sharing their their wisdom and their knowledge and it's you know it's invaluable you really can't put a price tag on it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's great jack have you, you know the there's a board of advisors there today that's helping you know talk through the succession whatnot do you sit in on those meetings.

 

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Jack Doyle: So I sit in on the board of advisors meetings.

 

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Jack Doyle: Mostly to review.

 

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Jack Doyle: The ongoing work at Doyle various topics that.

 

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Jack Doyle: Data last the the other executive TEAM members to comment on so i'll do that and i'll need a few presentations.

 

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Jack Doyle: Generally they'll they'll be an executive session.

 

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Jack Doyle: That my dad and the Board will will be involved with I won't be part of that, and I think we'll probably dive into more of the succession planning.

 

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Jack Doyle: There without me.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and that's healthy, you know if you're in there you're getting some you know the work in front of them doing the presentations doing that that piece, but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: dad still working with them in terms of you know how do I juggle all the succession pieces and you know what what happened, I taught jack what haven't I taught Alexandra yet what needs to be taught how do I put those pieces together and what am I missing that I might not be seeing.

 

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Jack Doyle: percent yeah and it's it's the way it should be so yeah they've always got some valuable insights the ones that i've heard and the ones that I haven't so yeah it's it's a great asset to us.

 

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sure.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um talk about for a second, if you would, if you go back you know historically.

 

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Michael Palumbos: has to me that's decades of you know, history here.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What were some of the what were some of the inflection points that might have been tough on the family, if you don't mind sharing you know some of those things, and how you weather and what you learn today, what do you know what did you learn from those things in the past.

 

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John Doyle: Well, go ahead jack i'll let you start and.

 

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John Doyle: Then i'll jump in.

 

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Jack Doyle: I was going to invite there's one I think big lesson that you know we're going back a couple of generations, but I think the business had to learn a valuable lesson at one point.

 

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Jack Doyle: Where the company actually was was split between two family members.

 

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Jack Doyle: I couldn't possibly offer the details of that better than my dad could so in the comment on that.

 

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John Doyle: All right, I yeah I know exactly what you're referring to jack as a great great example.

 

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John Doyle: So yeah in the i'll call it the second generation who was or succession from the first to the second.

 

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John Doyle: The company.

 

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John Doyle: You know, had grown had done well, they were in a couple different markets, a couple different geographic markets and product service markets and there there, there really was a breakdown in harmony and communication, and you know common purpose and the family became fragmented and.

 

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John Doyle: to the point where they split the company into, and some people in the roster Community might remember way back when there was a Doyle armored car service and the Doyle.

 

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John Doyle: delivery service or mail service and there were vehicles there around town quite a bit and mark with the family business name.

 

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John Doyle: And then there was the security company as well, which was investigative services, as I mentioned security guard services and that alarm systems.

 

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John Doyle: So two different family branches of the family running two different business they literally had to split it into because they really just could not coexist very well and that was a huge learning moment.

 

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John Doyle: That my father picked up on because he kind of saw that he was alive and he was you know, he was there and it was his father and his uncle's that.

 

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John Doyle: You know we're the ones that kind of split apart, so my dad kind of got to witness that and, of course, was passed down to me, and then to jack history that what happened there, but it was very instructive I mean it was.

 

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John Doyle: Very difficult for the family business and i'm sure set it back.

 

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John Doyle: And the the armored car and careers business eventually wound down, they did not continue on.

 

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John Doyle: Over a period of time, but security business had enough, you know enough adapted enough and kept going, whatever the stars lined up.

 

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John Doyle: But that was instructive for not only my dad but, for me, my my dad tried to do it better and he did do it better and i've tried to even do it better, yet, and I know jack will take it to a whole other level can't wait to see that and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Let me, let me ask you a question, what productive manual now going forward as you guys are thinking about this, you saw what happened So what does that mean going forward for you.

 

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John Doyle: yeah so it's communication as jack mentioned earlier and setting up a common understanding of values mission purpose vision.

 

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John Doyle: And some kind of basic policies and that's our family constitution that we've set up.

 

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John Doyle: And it sets down some guidelines of how and when you could join the family business and what are some expectations when you're in the family business.

 

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John Doyle: And and it's getting consensus on what are underlying values that drive these these decisions.

 

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John Doyle: And how will you know succession be managed and, in our case with the generation that's coming in, now we were very lucky, because they are there they're coming from a very solid place they get along just so well and they're great friends and.

 

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John Doyle: You know we've enjoyed as a family, you know, seeing my wife and I sing our kids jack and his siblings have great relationships.

 

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John Doyle: And, but then with this family business constitution and you put that family group into a business where you got to make hard decisions set priorities and.

 

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John Doyle: In competing interests, as you said, Michael because everybody's kind of got a different life.

 

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John Doyle: So we're trying to set up guard rails now we're coming in from a strong position but guard rails and conflict resolution and shareholder agreements and.

 

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John Doyle: And, and you know procedures around within the family constitution to preserve the harmony, but also preserve the health of the business, both those things have to happen at the same time.

 

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John Doyle: And, but we're coming in with really talented gifted people who get along in this next generation.

 

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John Doyle: You know jack being the oldest and has it having been in the longest right now and I love working with them it's so fun and to see the others coming in, so we're coming from a you know good starting point, but we haven't been tested yet.

 

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John Doyle: You know it's still new and there's so many again the competing interests and things that can happen so we're trying to build the guardrails to keep it keep the business healthy and keep the family, harmonious same time.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Right when you're talking about that you know, because you were the one that bought the whole entire business out of your generation.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Right, even though you're.

 

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Michael Palumbos: 776 generations.

 

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John Doyle: When i'm fourth and jack's fast.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Okay, so you're in the fifth generation but, even though your fifth generation it's really almost like your generation one.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And jack's generation to there's a lot of so just looking at that alignment.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Because there are no cousins in the business all four of your siblings jack you all grew up in the same House same mom and dad have the same value system.

 

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Michael Palumbos: embedded so you're the one and No, this is not a pressure thing it's just an awareness thing is that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The next time there's a succession you're actually going into the cousin generation and that that third generation, which always is tough.

 

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Michael Palumbos: john one day, along the lines we should go to lunch together i'm going to share with you what I call the third act.

 

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Michael Palumbos: third act philanthropy which can help jack and his siblings.

 

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Michael Palumbos: maneuver all of those things, and you and your wife can be super impactful and making sure that that happens once you've retired and you don't have to necessarily be retired but it's just having the time.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To do definitely what we call it third act philanthropy and it has been probably one of the most impactful things for helping.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The oldest generation ensure that their elders and not you know, like jack's gonna be busy running the business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: jack and his siblings will be busy running the business and raising families and doing all of those things where you know you could be impactful to help the grandchildren, which you wouldn't probably have an invested.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know desire to do that anyways and have some extra time to be able to guide some thinking i'll shoot that's that's a lunch you buy lunch and i'll share i'll share it with you it's not.

 

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John Doyle: i'm very intrigued Thank you Michael.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah um.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What else you know there's tons that we can talk about you know jack you've done some things where you're involved in some organizations and some groups that have helped you to think through that talk about that about.

 

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Jack Doyle: Her yeah um one thing that i've been involved in it's it's been great I have a.

 

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Jack Doyle: Little group we call ourselves the Rochester family business association they're probably some similarly named organizations and we don't have.

 

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Jack Doyle: An llc or a copyright or anything so apologies, anyone who may hear this and take it through with that name, but we have a networking group.

 

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Jack Doyle: Of Rochester based, I will say next gen.

 

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Jack Doyle: family business members some who have gone through successions some through some are aspiring to some who have not.

 

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Jack Doyle: And I won't name names just their own confidentiality, but something like that you know i'd encourage anyone who has an opportunity to do that, or has a network of people that are in similar boats it's it's been great For me, there are some official organizations.

 

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Jack Doyle: Like like vistage or why ipo you know where you can you can get you know similar things out of that I certainly see value in.

 

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Jack Doyle: For me just having the opportunity to hear it from peers, who are in a similar place and similarly sized businesses that deal with some of the same challenges is really great.

 

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Jack Doyle: So i've been doing that for a couple of years that's been a huge resource for me and it's you know not just one of those things where.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know, we meet you know every month, and you know we spend half a day together and talk, you know really like you know we.

 

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Jack Doyle: Do you get to know each other, and you know you'll send text messages and you get together for lunch and drinks and.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know you start to understand how other families have approached this question and you know what conflicts exists out there, you know what some of the potential pitfalls are that you've seen.

 

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Jack Doyle: So it's really just a great resource to learn to benchmark So anyone who has an opportunity to do something like that I definitely urge it and gratefully.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Great yeah when I joined my father and that's how my interest in family business came in, to have the the fact that we happen to serve family businesses was kind of you know, unique as well, so here, we are a family business serving family businesses.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I was going through all the same things that the families that we serve were going through, but we weren't we didn't come at it from the soft side Member, you know, so we were wealth advisors and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know planners, and it would help with the succession, but not the emotional side of it, and so I joined the Syracuse and the family business group.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Through the Chamber of Commerce, when I was living out there, so and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know at first they're like oh you can't you can't market to us just note and i'm like trust me.

 

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Michael Palumbos: If you understood what's going on in the conversations that we are and we aren't having between dad and I, this is more for me.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so to your point jack and he said you become friends with these people and whatnot and you know the group that I joined.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Every one of them had finished succession, I was the only one that there in the part of the group that hadn't gone through the succession piece, so I got lots of different.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know feedback, but there was a famous bottle of pinch Scotch that would always show up at the summer outing that we would do together and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It just made it made it really nice, so you know the bonding of having gone through that with other people.

 

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Michael Palumbos: There are joys and there are stars and there are conversations and you need that group of like minded people that are going through, that I so strongly suggested because.

 

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Michael Palumbos: where you are on the emotional intelligence scale and to be able to go through this maybe higher or lower than somebody else it's in the group and so getting.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Different feedback and you know back to john you know you started the the Board of Directors jack This is like your internal Board of advisors, I said board of directors Board of advisors.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And it's just nice to have that and i've experienced that today i'm a member of vistage.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And then I you know, and I do this work with families where it's like you know we bring the leadership team, and we want them to be thinking about.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That, how do I coach through that advisory because we've got all these people that depend on their income from this business, we need to take care of them yeah no.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's off to both of you for being open and vulnerable, you know because that's really what it takes isn't it.

 

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Jack Doyle: Absolutely, you know we stress confidentiality so much in my particular group, and you know when we we had this loose affiliation, I actually.

 

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Jack Doyle: I pulled a few people my dad being one of them, you know, do you have any examples of you know rules of engagement, or framework for a group, like this, and he gave me some.

 

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Jack Doyle: Some copy that we adapted into a set of rules for our group and the biggest thing is confidentiality.

 

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Jack Doyle: You need to establish trust with a group to be able to get anything meaningful out of it and to do that, you need to be confident that you know what you share isn't going to be shared outside of that group so we're very careful about that at least in our group.

 

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Jack Doyle: We have people that you know they open up about.

 

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Jack Doyle: But a lot of things, you know that they want to broach the topic of succession with you know the the generation ahead of them and you know they don't all have.

 

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Jack Doyle: Parents and aunts and uncles that you know have thought about this or care to think about this as much as Maybe my dad has so.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know hearing it from all sorts of different people had different experiences, was able to help you know that individual in this in this example, you know.

 

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Jack Doyle: come up with a way to up to broach the topic, you know and ask the right questions there's all sorts of examples, but yeah confidentiality is a really big piece of that at least in my experience.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, it reminds me of when you start talking about you said confidentiality, but the piece that goes with confidentiality, that means so much is trust right have you both read Patrick McKenzie only five dysfunctions of a team.

 

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John Doyle: I know.

 

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Jack Doyle: I have started it yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So that's number one is the absence of trust, and you know in developing that trust within the leadership team and within the family, there is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: awesome it's just a phenomenal framework for I would you know I would I should reach out to Patrick one day and say we should do a five dysfunctions of a team for family businesses because it's a that's even so much more complicated, but just inside of your.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know your leadership team that's if you build that trust, then you can have conflict that matters you don't avoid conflict conflict is good, I said this to somebody the other.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The other day, and they just started laughing like when Has anybody ever gone to a movie that didn't have conflict in the movie was any good got conflict is necessary, we need conflict, but it needs to be healthy and respectful right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So, and then from there there's there's a couple other pieces, but I won't go into it, but commit you know commit you may or may not be going down the path that you think is the right path.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But the leadership team you're not going to all be on the same page and you don't all have to agree, but you have to commit to say all right that's the path we're going so i'm going full bore towards that i'm not going to hold back and then say see I told you so if it didn't work.

 

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Michael Palumbos: which goes back to your trust so really good stuff really good stuff um.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What else you just talking about talent development, whether their family members or non family members john it sounds like you know you've done a lot of that thinking as you've been going through the years.

 

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Michael Palumbos: How do you how do you look at that, how do you review talent on the team family members or non.

 

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John Doyle: Right, so you know, we do have a performance appraisal process number one we tried it we try to be really careful with job descriptions and have a clear understanding of when we're putting for position.

 

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John Doyle: You know what what the needs are and what the experience requirement is and educational requirements and try to get you know the right people in the right spots.

 

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John Doyle: And then you know, provide a mechanism for two way feedback feedback has has to go both ways from the company to the individual and the other way.

 

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John Doyle: So you know that's biggest in terms of family members.

 

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John Doyle: You know, we have a several ground rules, you know we want family members to get.

 

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John Doyle: A related.

 

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John Doyle: to higher education degree we want them to work somewhere else for a while and just experienced you know the real world and other workplace environments and then that the idea, there is to give them.

 

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John Doyle: Their own sense of accomplishment that you know if you jump right into the family business, you know, maybe there's a question well you know I got that because my family member but.

 

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John Doyle: I can go out in the world, I can do something else, plus they bring back learning and experiences from there, and so that's a requirement and and then, when the right position opens and you know if there's an interest we make that happen.

 

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John Doyle: and try to make sure there's a good fit that'll be fair market compensation for that position, and then in terms of future development, and you know you know get into succession planning ideas and.

 

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John Doyle: it's a matter of kind of tracking you know what.

 

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John Doyle: What development.

 

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John Doyle: needs to be done in in what what's going to get us there you know, is it count some combination of experience or training or education or you know, whatever it is, and so you know we.

 

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John Doyle: We do that for everybody to not just family members, you know we're always looking at succession plans for all our positions and so family members just kind of another subset of that.

 

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John Doyle: So let's kind of our thoughts behind it.

 

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perfect.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i'm.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Looking at the future.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What do you both most excited about.

 

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John Doyle: Okay jack you want to go and then i'll go first I go second.

 

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Jack Doyle: Sure yeah.

 

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Jack Doyle: Man so many different directions lingo with this, so I mean i'm excited to.

 

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Jack Doyle: i'm excited to work hand in hand with with my brother and sister that's that's not to diminish any my relationships with the leadership team.

 

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Jack Doyle: i've it's been great to work with my sister the past couple years we've got a great relationship and we're doing some great things up there i'm excited for for my brother to get in the fold as well.

 

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Jack Doyle: And this is a short term goals is the direction you weren't you were hoping to go in, but.

 

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Jack Doyle: there's there's a there's I feel like a kind of a nuanced way that you know, a family business.

 

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Jack Doyle: Member treats this job least the way I feel like you know I treated him Alexandra does that kind of it rises to the level of accountability rises above, I think.

 

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Jack Doyle: Where you might if it were a career outside of a family business I don't know I just feel like a certain investment in it that I think they do to that that just has a lot of a lot of passion.

 

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Jack Doyle: You know, to make things happen, and I really enjoy working with them same reason I enjoy working with my dad so much too.

 

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Jack Doyle: And again i'm not to diminish my relationships with anyone that I work with these lot of family member there's some amazing contributors who made their careers here but.

 

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Jack Doyle: I just think you know we can do some really exciting things as a family group to, so I am always excited about that so i'm excited for the next chapter with three of us in the business.

 

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Jack Doyle: outside of that, I mean there, there are a lot of opportunities in the world of security exciting new technologies i'm a i'm a techie kind of guy.

 

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Jack Doyle: All sorts of kind of far flung things that are just starting materialized you know emerging trends in this business people are utilizing.

 

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Jack Doyle: cameras on drones and, in particular ways that are super cool that you know I don't know if they're they're going to be real trends or not, but.

 

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Jack Doyle: I don't know I get excited about about things like that so some of the new technology out there that oil might be able to leverage, you know to continue our growth in the industry.

 

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Jack Doyle: I know we don't have a ton of time, so i'll leave it at that, but some some very exciting things.

 

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Great.

 

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John Doyle: yeah I could definitely build on jack's answer great answer, so the thing i'm most excited about is.

 

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John Doyle: You know what the next generation does and that's not even just family members i'm.

 

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John Doyle: Especially excited about this next generation of family members, because they're so committed they're so energetic they're just they're so talented and I just.

 

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John Doyle: You know, it just gives me great faith and confidence and trust about the future, but we also have other next generation people on our leadership team and within the company and there's a natural cycle to life right, and you know younger people coming up have a certain energy.

 

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John Doyle: And it's not just you know, being in touch with you know, the latest technology all that's you know definitely part of it, in this day and age.

 

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John Doyle: You know, you know jack, for example, is brought some just tremendously exciting things to the table with our management team.

 

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John Doyle: In aptitudes and experience and yet other other Members have to, or have said a next generation coming up and there's just that some energy of that that they're looking to.

 

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John Doyle: they're they're looking to grow their lives and grow their their financial path and grow the path for their family and create security for themselves.

 

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John Doyle: And so that brings a certain energy and when you hit a certain point, you know, maybe more of my stage of the game you're more like more about conserving things, maybe a little bit.

 

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John Doyle: So there's there's different risk talents or challenges that come with generational change so i'm just really excited to see this talented.

 

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John Doyle: group of next generation people, some of whom are family members, you know love so much and others are you know part of our management team.

 

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John Doyle: But you know waiting seeing what they're doing now envisioning what they have yet to do when they're given even more authority and responsibility and it's you know I think it's natural evolution of things and.

 

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John Doyle: So i'm very excited about that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Good that's awesome I would throw to you guys, because you do, learn and are always adapting have you read the book complete family wealth by James Hughes.

 

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John Doyle: I have not.

 

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Michael Palumbos: read that book it's right up your alley matter of fact don't even buy one i'm going to send it over to you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: For being guests on the show i'll send you talk.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To yeah it's jays day you know i've been mentored by some of the best people in the industry through the years and I just i'm.

 

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Michael Palumbos: fortunate that's why this podcast lives because of all those connections through the years.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that's probably you know just one of the books that I would throw to you have to say that will help guide some of these other conversations that you're working on the other thing that I would say is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Have you read every family's business.

 

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John Doyle: No, not familiar with that one.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Dr Tom dean's and I don't have copies of that book, but so one of the things it's told a parable it's a short book it's a good story of this family did it this way, this family did it another way.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And one of the things that he put out there, that is sacrilege in terms of family business consultants.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Is the fact that each generation and maybe even every couple of years, we need to put it on the table that it's okay that we might want to sell the business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And I say that and jack this is more for you and your siblings more than anything, and this is not a suggestion, but it's a the family is more important in the business.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And there may come a time whether it's now or 50 years from now, or 3300 years from now doesn't matter, but just you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Just make sure that that's okay to talk about would be my one suggestion to you guys that the strength of the legacy and that emotional attachment.

 

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Michael Palumbos: isn't what we're always have to do if it's the right time, you know we talked about the what is it you know shirtsleeves a shirt sleeves and three generations right and it's in every in every society and every place out there, but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's almost like when you get to that third generation or one of those other generations, the the weight of keeping that legacy going.

 

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Michael Palumbos: can be detrimental, and I have one right now that i'm trying to coach he wants to run the business he's on the west coast in a whole different business loves his life very successful, the only potential air.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And he's trying to figure out how to run the business from as a two year old parents that are still running the business, for the most part, from the West Coast sound like.

 

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Michael Palumbos: you're brilliant in what you do, do you and he's he's got a couple things that he's put together but it's all.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's all coming from a place of legacy.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And it's it's a fifth generation.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And if I lose it I don't want to be the one that was the one that lost it, so I add that to your conversation that if it's the right thing for the family to do sometimes.

 

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Michael Palumbos: it's a family decision, not a business decision to say it's the right time to be able to make sure that we're all sitting down at the thanksgiving dinner table the other.

 

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Michael Palumbos: there's my word my words of wisdom, I gave you a couple of books i've got one other thing for you john will connect sometime we'll talk about third act philanthropy.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Gentlemen, you guys have been phenomenal yeah I highly highly suggest people go look at doyle's website.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And look at their history and how they put things together.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I believe that you even talk about you know your mission and your value do yeah your mission and values is up there, your Board of advisors is up there if you're looking for a model.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Of what we should be doing as a family business I don't think you have to go much further than talking to or looking at what the royal family has done, I just lots of Hats off to you have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: tons of respect, this has been an awesome conversation I really appreciate the time that you've spent with everybody here today, so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Thank you.

 

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John Doyle: right back at you, Michael Thank you, thank you for your hospitality and you know these great conversations and all the work you're doing in this realm it's it's it's it's it's huge so much appreciate it.

 

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Jack Doyle: yeah it was great great to be here really appreciate it Michael and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to your to your guests, this is a very cool really enjoyed it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: family business is the economic engine of upstate New York, and we need more across the realm of you know, across the country and around the world as well, but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You get it, so thank you everybody for joining us, my name is Michael Columbus, this is the family biz show, and I am with family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York.

 

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Michael Palumbos: If ever you want to reach out for a resource or question, or whatever you just tap us and we're happy to help.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Regardless of whether you're looking to hire somebody or not we just want to help as many family businesses, as we possibly can, so we keep that economic engine running Thank you everybody have a great day.

 

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Jack Doyle: Thank you.

 

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John Doyle: Thanks very much.

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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