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Episode 72: The Deep Psychology Within Family Business

In this episode of the Family Biz Show, host Michael Palumbos from Family Wealth and Legacy in Rochester, NY, chats with Dr. Jim Kestenbaum, a consultant specializing in family business dynamics. Their conversation dives deep into the complexities and nuances of succession planning and the roles of family members within a business context.

Dr. Kestenbaum shares his journey into the field, starting from his academic background in counseling psychology to his specialization in family business consulting. He emphasizes the evolution of this field over the past two decades and his personal approach to helping families navigate the delicate process of transitioning businesses from one generation to the next.

A significant part of their discussion revolves around the challenges family businesses face, particularly around succession. Dr. Kestenbaum highlights the common scenario where businesses seek help out of frustration or crisis, often at a late stage. He also touches on the importance of addressing non-family key members' roles and ensuring they feel valued and informed about the succession process.

The conversation delves into the importance of emotional intelligence, open communication, and the willingness to engage in tough discussions for successful succession planning. Dr. Kestenbaum advocates for a supportive and empowering approach, guiding family members to understand and navigate their emotions and roles effectively.

Towards the end, Dr. Kestenbaum offers advice on selecting the right consultant for family businesses and emphasizes the value of a personalized, empathetic approach to resolving complex family business issues. He encourages families to explore various options and supports them in crafting a future that aligns with their values and goals.

This episode underscores the intricate interplay of family dynamics in business and the critical role of expert guidance in ensuring successful transitions and fostering a sustainable legacy.

Episode 72 Transcript

MP: Welcome everybody to the family biz show. I am your host, Michael Palumbos with family, wealth and legacy in Rochester, NY, and we've got a great show lined up for you today. We've got Doctor Jim Kestenbaum Bam, um joining us today and Doctor Jim and I have had some really cool conversations over the past six months or a year here and Umm, we finally said I got to have you on the show. So Jim is also doctor. Jim is also in Rochester. So you've got us live and you know from. You know, over the podcast here, we both are in the same town, which is rare for them, I guess. So really appreciate you being here.

JK: You're welcome, Michael. Pleasure.

MP: We have a a little tradition of just sharing the journey of how you got into this, of working with family.

JK: It's one thing to be brought into a family. And a lot of times you know that journey is kind of, you know, twisted and. But to become a consultant that focuses on working with family businesses today, that's becoming, you know, something that people go and get trained on. 20 years ago when I started in the business, we were searching and, you know, trying to figure out all this stuff and, you know. Information. And here we are. We've been in the same town for 20 years and I had just met you this year. Absolutely. Oh, you know, so how did you, what is your journey? How did you get involved in this field? There are several steps to it. Really good question. So the first one goes back to Graduate School. PH D in counseling psych. I have a minor in. Personal. And one of their Graduate School, as you can imagine, there are a lot of requirements, but there was a lot of opportunity just to take things that we're interested in. So I took a placement in learning family therapy. I took a placement in learning how to do assessments. And I remember back then thinking I'm just collecting these skills. With them, but I'm really enjoying myself. Fast forward, I have my first job in Salting. At that time. Was a family business consulting psychologist. Was one of the. I had never heard of that. Jim, you're work with me. Work with family businesses they want. OK, so I know what a family what do you do with them? Basically there are times we need to create a path. When they get stuck on the path, we have the skills to get them unstuck and so, so begin that journey that was back in 1989. What I have it's, it's not. Know how to come by it. But you have to have a lot of different skills to do this particular space. And it turns out that what I did in grad school saying I'm gonna learn a lot of things I enjoy, I'll do my requirements. I'm going to learn a lot of things I enjoy. Not too well position me to do something I didn't know about a Graduate School. And then ended up. Do this I. Advertising for the skill set that's so unique, people seem to have a way of finding me so. Say you need a marketing plan. I probably do, but this is working. It still remains to be some of the most complex. Be satisfying and intellectually stimulating work that I do because it uses every every single skill I have. Is the American dream seeing a business get from Gen. one to two or to? I like that dream, so I feel I'm doing my little bit to help families move their businesses to a next shot.

MP: I love it that that's one of the reasons this whole podcast started was because You know, COVID was happening and we knew that it was going to have an effect on all the business owners that we served and we just wanted to help. So we grabbed, you know, the people that I know in that space to say what do people need to be thinking about? What do they need to be worrying about right now and planning for and then it just kind of.

JK: What it is today so it it, it's very satisfying work and we come at it from very different perspectives. I don't have you know a psychology degree and you said it's you have industrial psychology is that what it say that what was the money it's called industrial. Biology. So it's it's austrial, sort of Personnel psychology, so wages, job descriptions, things like that. Organizational psychology is all the organizational dynamics within a company. So when you look at family businesses that slices so many different ways. So family, non family level, internal, external. So it's understanding when you put those together. What they do and then how do you make them function better? So very general family business consulting.

MP: So typically let, let's just put it out on the table. When do family businesses, you know, call Doctor Jim or starts their search for somebody like Jim Kestenbaum?

JK: It said that this is the way it happens, but it is the way. It's never proactive. It's never you have an owner or a couple of owners, usually husband and wife in their mid 50s going. Our kids are probably coming up to the teen years. We should do something. Sort of the dream and that and books are written about that. What happens is somebody is feeling very frustrated, emotional, angry. You hear things like from owners. I can't take this anymore, so that's one thing. The second thing is, is that I am rarely the first consultant. So. About oftentimes the first consultant is a family friend and usually what you hear is. He talked to the kids. The kids are like in their 30s. I'll say, what do you wanna talk about? Well. Cooperating, and they don't understand how good they got it. And you know this. Dollar enterprise and that goes on and on and on. So there is that talk with the kids. It doesn't change anything because it doesn't address the problem. So it's actually it's the pleasant version of what the parents have been trying to do. So and then the referral sources are wide-ranging. So certainly folks like you were buried in this space. Priests, accountants, attorneys, people who hear people's problems. So they're sitting with whomever is their advisor, dujour, and they're saying this family business is driving me crazy. And then because I've been doing this so long, somebody says it's kind of doctor Jim, and they'll say, well, I don't want to have therapy. Would be with you said, but he's got degrees in this stuff. Coffee one and tell him what's going on if you. Going to help you. If you can't, he'll try to refer you. So that's. Half, yeah. Because at the end of the day, I think what's what's happening a lot, a lot of times is they're trying to figure out succession. They're trying to figure out who, who plays what roles in the next generation.

And then somebody's nose gets bent or or somebody's not pulling their weight or, you know. And of different things that happen. Umm. You know, Dad doesn't think, her mom doesn't think that, you know, the the child's capable, but maybe they're not giving the autonomy that they need to give them so that they can do things their way. So I I think it's important to hit on some of those real specific things so that people can hear that it's it's pretty much anything. Things go ahead. So it's there are some other ones I'll just add to you. That. And her dad know this case. You do her. They're not ready for the Big R, which is retirement. It was funny, today's news so Serena Williams, the world famous tennis players in the news, so she said she is ready to now evolve into what's next. So she said I don't want to talk about retirement because that means something different to folks and so. Struggling from retiring from tennis? Version of this in the owners that I talked to. People say, you know, I'm looking in the mirror in my head. Younger than the image I see in the mirror that, OK, I'm 65 or I'm 70, I still, you know, I could still beat the young kids. You hear things like that and they see it as an ending, not as an evolution and who they are. So that's a big problem in succession planning on people who want to start succession. This is going to be real bad. For example, you, the owner, sometime probably in the next two years won't be the president of your company. The time you might not be the CEO anymore and what I have found the longer I've been at this it's. To deal with. Very personal and intimate thoughts. Because if they don't. It's gonna happen. It's gonna stop. Bad things happen from there, so kids become frustrated. Kids talk about or actually quit. Not sure the marriage between the owner and their spouse. So it's. Had a family was saying, we know what we're trying isn't working, we've tried everything else. Let's try something a little bit different. Let's try something that really allows us to think personally what we're trying to accomplish. Have a shot.

MP: Yeah, yeah. I I think that's a really good point to make sure that people understand that a lot of times it is. Owners who's not ready to give up the reins they need to retire 2 something they need. Called to what's next. You know when I talk about you know aging, I want to become an elder, not an older. It's kind of the phrase that I utilize elders that I look at is they're always constantly still learning and you know there's the the more I'm looking forward to the day. To be my successor and, and I evolved to something else and I don't know what that is yet, but I have just, you know a friend of mine said, well why don't you go get your degree in psychology or psychodynamics and why don't you start doing this stuff and I'm like. How about going and you know doing some Bowen family systems theory stuff, but I was just kind of using it for what if you know, I mean and just adding it to my plate. But maybe it is a way for me to be able to step away from the wealth management side and the estate planning and all the technical work and do more of. That was interesting. That happened last week and I was like, oh, I felt like now I'm, I can see it. But I think to your point, when we're talking to that owner, it's, it's helping them to figure out. So that they can be excited about their future and where they're going, right?

JK: That's exactly it and that. Whatever is next, it's not seen as something less than. Yeah, it's seen as what do you want to do including. There are a lot of examples you see in the literature, and this is what I discussed with my clients. So that usually if you're an executive level, the things that you used to love a long time ago, you don't get to do those anymore. The Craftsman as some people call it, so say you know you still own the business. So simple example is you entered into this company, it was just two people. You were a chemist. Pastry and Michael, yeah, I do say, do you realize you could go back to the bench and start doing chemistry again? You have the money you need. You could have any job in this company. You also what you were talking about Michael, go get training in something that is there something that's been a passion for you, but as you've built the business and made it very successful, which actually you have gone. Wanna pursue because now you have the time and resources. So again, it's a. To see this isn't retirement, you know, buy white shoes, moved to Florida, it's a matter of. Something that you still like, I know typically in on your side of the street people talk about getting big into charitable giving and volunteerism and things of that sort. Wonderful because that is sort of A2 for community benefits and the individual benefits. You can see it as. Say natural next step.

You know, less than it doesn't mean that I'm sort of putting myself out to pasture. It's that there's something else I want to go to. And by the way, and this is the other thing that they've been doing some reading their kids for this. Discussion with the kids are in their 30s and 40s, the oldest ever. So were they, were they? Dad was deep in the 70s, but that. Alright. If in good faith, I was offering my children the opportunity. The next Gen. What that looks like, and even in the beginning, my advice I would. So people are not ready to work with me, so I'll say they'll say I'm not ready to do such. I'll say OK, once you do this, once a quarter, have a nice lunch with your kids, your spouse, whoever else you wanna invite and just talk about where is the business now and talk about what's the vision you all have for the future. Don't even write an agenda. There's the agenda and just see where it flows. Ask yourself as you learn, first and foremost, your kids probably have more on the ball than you realize, and they might have some ideas for some interesting directions. They might not even want your job. They might wanna spin off a division or start a new subsidiary. But you're so focused on who's going to take my job, and I'm already to leave my job. If you're thinking so, that's where you know. Simple enough. Lunch wants 1/4. Still pretty cheap. I love it. I love it. That's a great way of looking at it. And it to your point of what you're talking about, you know, you just said, you know, the kid might not even want their job. So that what succession means different things to different people. And and so there's, you know, I, I think you coined the phrase there's many roads to succession. And and so as you're thinking about that, sometimes you don't even know what the options are until you enter a dialogue until you start. I like what you said about meeting quarterly and just say where do you see as the vision of the future, you know, of the company? I would add a little tiny twist to that.

MP: Sometimes I think it's fun to just say, you know, what if we did a SWAT analysis, you do yours, I'll do mine. Let's talk about them. So if vision, you know, vision is one piece. Our strengths and our weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Maybe just see what that looks like. If you get bored, maybe you just do one per quarter. We'll do the S this quarter and then the. Sure. Yeah, I love that idea. I haven't thought about doing that on a quarterly basis.

JK: So I think that's really important. If you're not ready for succession yet, then you know as the family members, if you're going to be talking about it someday, at least have a quarterly lunch where you're talking about these things, what they'll find also. Situation. So I'm in a situation like this right now that. The business. Who really doesn't like the business? But it is doing it because of a felt sense of loyalty to her parents. So. These quarterly lunches which sometimes there might be some spin off one on ones that happened between the quarters, you as the parents are figuring out this thing that I always picture was gonna happen. So my kids don't want to do this and then then you can just be a good parent and just say So what do you want to do and you know any loving parents. The way I can help you to get there. Did he get there? And now also because I know you. Come the next owner, CEO, President of this. Serious planning to do. And what's gonna happen next with the business. But at least I know this thing that you'll be sitting in my seat. I need to get lost. All of that is wrong, right? And until you have the conversations, you don't know. You know, important that people and and that sometimes there are some families that have done a great job. They're, they're, they're thinking about these things in advance. They're having the conversations. It isn't an issue for them because there and I would say that they're. Their emotional intelligence with. Some way. Their ability to communicate. They've worked on that for many years. And that's where, that's where that comes from. When they get stuck, though, why include a consulting psychologist? You know what are you said this isn't therapy.

So walk through why isn't it therapy? But why is it important that that psychology background is part of it? It's not so. It's not psychotherapy or counseling. Is a marketing to get involved in any of the people's? Good. You know. Concerns with each other. If there's a mental health issue, I refer to a psychologist or some other kind of counselor. We're doing that is is that. Role as the consulting psychologist to remain. So if I start wearing too many hats, you gets confusing about so who is Jim to us and the first thing that's dropping off the plate is succession because that's the most feared thing. So it's easier to go work with each member of the family individually gym and we'll we'll get back to that succession thing next year. What I'm doing though? Systematically first determining. Where and why are they stuck?

So is that similar to counseling? Yeah, but the topics are different. So I'm gonna ask questions like. Rules for succession. Some of the things you think have made this go. What are some of the things that have made it not go well, and why? Some things that we get it back on track. That. So let's say for the. What are some things you feel your parents could do? To facilitate this process so. You can take the rest of our hours about spinning. In the end I sit back and I analyzed that and say OK. Net, net after I've written about 50 pages. What are we learning here about why succession came up to a certain point? Stopped. What you want to avoid is the you know. Discussed anecdotal story of the family that could not complete succession and then the main person Dan or Mom dies and then it's two or three days after the funeral and the kids are sitting in some big living room saying so now what do we do? It's like, wow, you picked a time in your life where you all feel the worst about each other in the situation and that's where you're going to do succession planning and they'll try it and it's, it's probably somewhat likely that there'll be discussions about to preserve our relationships, maybe we should just sell it, which for some family businesses, that's not a bad idea. But again, they're in the duress of they just. Not the right moment to be doing this. With some planning, I don't think anybody really. In the 50s, but you get into your 60s. It's a time to at least think about, alright. You know, do you want to see succession happen or do you wanna see a sale happen? Or I'll say this to owners and say maybe you wanna go with your boots on. As they say. You said it's your business. You might want to die in your office. God bless you. Go for it. Point to judge that right? But if you don't want to go with your boots on. Hey, you're 67. You can take out a life insurance chart. Truth we should start doing something. And do something that.

And you and your family can stick with with some consistency. So as you're aware, the Family Council model works really well for that and you see where it goes the the thing. It's also interesting in this work and you alluded to this Michael in the beginning of the podcast, No situation is ever the same of another as another situation. So many unforeseen things come up. So family secrets, betrayals, um, all sorts of things like that. And again, my skill is to say, OK, so you just learn something new. So you earned that, you know, Uncle so and so went to prison. You know he's on your board of Directors now. So yes, it's upsetting. Breaths. You're upset about that? Going through, what's a better way forward because? He's on your board. He went to prison, served his time. So is is the issue that a relative was on your board went to prison? The issue that nobody ever told you so again. My skill set you're mentioning EI before. I'm pretty unflappable. Because this is the training you're taught. Therapy school like you know. Fighters upset and you're upset.

Who's got their hand on the rudder so. You know it's right. So inside I might be gone. Can't believe they're saying XYZ. What's coming out of my mouth and that I'm very focused on. Folders to move leadership and ownership. Let's let's keep our eye on the ball. Let's. If we need to make some detours, how we're going to get there, somebody stop the roll. But this is the way I sound when I'm in front of clients. It's just like it's not matter of fact, but it's very common, very focused. And sometimes I'm the only common folk person in the meeting with the family. Everybody else's hair is on fire. So it's almost, you know, as you're as you're talking. It sounds like management consulting, yeah. And you know you start taking and we talked about this a little bit, but like you talked about Jim Collins and you know good to great and trying to figure out you're just helping them to figure out what are the right seats, what are the right people, who are the people for those seats and. And you know the love, the power and the money aspects of those psychology, you know fires and and remove them from there to make some logical decisions to be able to move forward and get everybody's buying.

Exactly what it is as well said. Also, it's doing objectively so. Care whether the son or the daughter becomes the next CEO. Today is so for example, you can. Type of management skill and all of its vicissitudes, so I'll say. It looks like it's a dead heat between your two kids. I don't know. Quantifiable test or a few of them. Let's figure out what's what. And the test is not going to tell you what to do, which is a big fear of clients. Well, Jim did a test and now I have to follow the test. Said no. All that is, is just information for you to know how you're gonna go forward. So if the lesser qualified. Is the one you still want to be the CEO, I'll say. OK, how are we gonna get him there? Because just throwing them into that seat, that's gonna be bad for that person, that kid. And the family, so if they're missing a skill. Those management skills can be learned, so say. They are. They're going back to school or we're gonna get them an executive coach. Are they gonna be in a family business study group? There are a lot of different options. Are they gonna just read? That would be good. Read some things and this domain. And I assure people that again that there is some amount of trepidation about testing, I'll say. Source of data say you'll say you own the business, you want to ignore the data. That's up to you. I'm saying used to inform what you want to accomplish because there's a lot of good information in there. It's not a it's not like a fortune cookie that's going to come true. It's saying if this is where things are headed. Happen. Let's figure out a better plan to. And air in better shape so that as they start taking over more leadership responsibilities and ultimately start getting equity. We're gonna do something that first and foremost they're gonna feel good about somebody, feels good about themselves as a leader.

You know this Michael that always goes better, that the business is gonna function better and the family's gonna feel good that they gave that air, the kind of support that made them successful so. That sort of thing that when you look at consulting psychologists, this is part of our skill set. That was one of the things that I really liked that we talked about before is that you do have a plethora you know of unique assessments in a in a bunch of different areas not you know we we talked you personality and I think your Myers Briggs, right if I'm not mistaken. The management leadership assessments, I think it really helps you to paint a bigger picture than about the situation by utilizing your background, your skill set. And then on top of that you have data that you can look at and say, hey, you know, this is what. 8000 other people that. This test this is what it looks like, right? And I'm a big believer that if somebody has a motivation and I don't even like the word motivation if some. Question 4. Next leader in the business. Learn anything. You know, I I have made mistakes through my career. You know, and I apologize and I move move on. That's all it is. And so, you know, they can learn anything and. And you get them through some of those assessments. Here's some of the areas that you should focus on first because it, you know, a lot of times I think in a succession plan, the, the, the. Mission.

Be focused on the technical side of making. You can do all that right technical things like you know putting together the taking the blueprint and making that blueprint come to life. Well if you can't do that how are you going to lead you know this business and a lot of times it's probably more often the people skills side of things maybe so that that leadership and. Like to know? And do things the same way Dad or mom did them. Successful and particularly also it's a good. That I remember years ago, local family business owner contacted me. We're talking about he wants to do some succession. He's got some kids who are up and comers, but somehow we got to talk about is discussion about his business was changing. What do you mean? You said we're about to take a whole new strategy, but we don't. I said, well, I'm not here. Next step then. To get you to somebody who's a strategic planning expert. So why is that? Because who you are today is the CEO. That skill set might not be the same as the next version of your company. And in determining which of your kids fits which role? Judge them based upon the. The company, not the current version, which you're about to change and like you know. Months so.

We're also I'm hoping this is coming through in our discussion. I really try to communicate a lot of hope to the families because again, by the time they see me. Really distraught. They just, they've boiled down their choices to a very limited number of choices. And there are many more choices that could be made. And they don't have to ruin the family in the process. Gonna try to say, I'll say you know. Although I'll say I respect that you all can't keep an open mind right now because you've been chewing on this for five years and it's not been a very delectable meal. Aside from that, you have to trust. I've been in so many family business succession scenarios. Some different things that you could be doing that first and foremost are not going to be as stressful. Are likely to get you to a better outcome. So let's let's take a breath. Let's just. Back for a moment. See how we got here. Me. What would be a better way to go forward? I talk with people creating something called a succession road map, so I don't know if I invented this or not, but I like it whether I invented it or not. Is is I'll say OK. Sort of. See that by an approximate date. That. For example, mom and Dad are going to be out of the business. And I'll say that's not etched in stone, but let's use that to then work backwards. So I'll say now we're gonna do is we're gonna work with each other to create a road map that spells out tasks that each of you have and the expected results quarter by quarter. That's a big piece of work, by the way. Why are we going to do that? Say we need like a succession GPS? Now while I'm hearing is someday you're gonna leave and some. Being promoted I'll say I'll bet you as you start writing the road map you're gonna see there are a lot of little bit significant things that need to get done so that when we get to, I don't know January 2026 that all those. So you have all those things have been done.

You have a really firm. Of now we're ready for success. Throw some big switches. So usually that's somebody's about to get a major. We start talking about then and this is where it involves folks like you and the attorney and the accountant, OK, so how are we going to do the equity transfer? Is it sweat equity, is it actually purchase? So that's that's outside of my realm, but I know that's I know to trigger it though it's already know who the accountant, attorney and the wealth advisor. Moment, we're coming up to this like in a year and a half. Let's start having some discussions about them, start building models for you. I'll say I'm like a trained monkey. What I just said to you that is the extent of my knowledge, but I know what I don't know. So it gets that's sort of going in the background a little bit. So when we get to January 2026, there is the first. With how we go from being like a VP to an EVP which is. And it might be here's the first chunk of the business. So through whatever means you know. Bobby is gonna get 20% or whatever, right? And it's interesting because it's like you said, it's different every single time, but there's always. There's always, you know, there's always a pattern or a beat. Happening, and I love this accession road map, I think that that really makes. It'll help people to envision what's next and where are we going when we're doing so. I am more, you know, yes, I do. The wealth management and all the technical estate planning, buy sell agreements and operating agreements. I help architect them. I don't draft them, but I make sure that they're architected properly. And but I also do a lot of work on that. Growth strategy work and so on that growth strategy work when I'm bringing on a new, you know, a new client, we have a quarter by quarter what to expect for three years. The whole idea behind that is. This meeting we're doing some cohesive. Places where we're just getting the team to. Things like, you know, what was a memorable experience before the age of 12 for you? Learning things about the the the other team members that. Before 9 out of 10 times. But you can't start.

You know you need to start there so that 8. Now, excuse me, 18 months from now you can. And you know what we call the the left? You know, thing left, what do you like about what this person is doing and what don't you like about what this person is doing? And then do it on the right side as well and then go continue going around the room. That can't be a first discussion, otherwise they never want to see. Planning work ever again. But you have to build that trust. Like you said, you build the trust. You put the pieces together to really get people thinking about, you know, that we're not there. Tell them what to do. They know the answers. Don't know the questions. It's exactly right. And then when they start figuring the math, they don't know to save them. So as a child in the family business, who really wants to be the CEO is not under consideration for that, but wants to have an earnest discussion with their parents and they're gone. I don't know how to have this, so either I'm gonna sound like I'm just trying to. By myself. And it's an act of hubris that I wanna be the next CEO or I say nothing and I'm really pretty unhappy being stuck in the middle of the organization. So if nothing happens, I'm probably gonna quit in 12 months. So they'll say it to me. Is there a way to have the conversation? I'll say sure there is so.

Something I'm known for. Help them to craft the words. Let's say if I were in your shoes, given what you've. This is what I would say. So I do that and get done and they'll say wow, you, you did that really well as well. Thanks, I said. Because I gotta help you to do it well. To talk about, you know, I'll say what made you comfortable, uncomfortable talking to your parents like that? Can you picture that? If you can picture it, when do you think you might be willing to try that? So I'm gonna. Forward to get through their discomfort. Point that they're willing to go have the discussion. For me to be there. As an advocate for the air, but. You know, this is a big issue. I've come to know your family very well. I care about you all. This is an important conversation to go well. So most times I'll be sort of a flying the wall, but, you know, if we go off in the weeds a little bit, I'm going to get you out of the weeds. So there I I wanna make sure that people don't. So we made a point of talking about the skill set that you. That is to make sure that things that are being said to each of the family members, you have a unique way of talking to them, hearing all of their things, being empathetic to them and then saying it in a manner that they can hear it, right. But then flip it, side two is as we've gone through the succession plan. Camp, then you're there to coach them to do exactly. Doing which is to how do I have a meaningful, critical, tough conversation? In the face of all the things that are going on because. Stuck if they were easy conversations. That's a good point from my perspective. Any consulting project? Will eventually end. It's supposed to end at least my involvement supposed to. So it's what you were saying in the second point that I want them not just to be able to memorize a script. I want them to understand from an emotional, emotional intelligence perspective.

First craft, what am I trying to accomplish? Some of the key points that I want to make so dot, dot, dot, I'll take them through. This is what's going on in my head when I role played those things with you. OK, now here's the next thing you try. To accomplish what do you think the key points would be? Your parents say some things that are upsetting. Manage your emotions a little bit, because if you start flying off the handle, that game is over, right? So tell me how you're going to be able to deal with that, and we'll practice some of that. So again, when the day is done. Recent version of me. But. To do it for themselves, that has to be their personality and that builds strength to them as leaders. Then that they're gonna be better not only talking to their parents, into their peers, their siblings, but also talking to the very important key non family members in the business. Ignored. It's like, you know, oh, Jane or Bob, they're never leaving. I'll go. You told me a story last week that they're feeling really edgy and they're not sure they can stay close. I know it it sets you to talk about that, but. It is, so I can remember saying, in a variety of family business. So and so were to leave. Happens to your business. There is a number of very bad things. This person is a very key player. The only thing is they're not a member of the family. So it limits equity and things like that. I'll say well. If it's OK with you. Paying attention to them. So I'll say in my experience working in hundreds of. Thousands of employees. Part of this script. They are, and I'll usually make a guess. It's usually, I'll say they are, somewhere between 12 and 18 months. They're gonna quit at a point that best serves their purposes because you're not looking after them anymore. You're gonna get very upset. You're gonna beg, you're gonna throw money at them, they're gonna stay for two more months, and then they're gonna quit and they're not gonna come back. So that's where. Talking with them, it's a matter of that broad perspective. You said before, yeah, say you are kind of like in this bubble, that it's only, you know, only people with your last name you're paying attention to say so might be a company that's 400 people. Most of the stuff that happens in this company has nothing to do with the the six of you do. Let's look at these non family. And. Say, let's talk to them about how where your succession process is, not how it's affecting them, because oftentimes.

Difficulties within the families spill into the non family members and. Members are thinking, do I need to be a part of this? I didn't sign up to be a part of your family's. Her job, I give you everything. I don't want to be a part of your family dynamic, so I'll explain to the family. I'll say you're exposing them. To too many of your conflicts. Then I'll say again, let me show you what the arc on this script looks. Say it's not going to be pleasant. Time. So that's where the hope comes in. There are things that you can do. Should turn out much better, and then what I'll recommend depends upon the specific situation, the specific person. But again, it's showing as we talked about before, there are often many more options in front of the family. Because their bubble is small, because they're in fighting, their trust is eroded. They're tired and they're angry. So this is my typical client, not all of them. So for those watching this, who are family business owners going, why do I have to be that to speak with Jim? No. But sometimes it's that if you take a succession plan, that really has been. And on the windowsill too long out in the sun. Is with it, so you try to work with that.

MP: Love it um. Our time. But I wanna make sure that we are able to talk about a couple of a couple more things. One is. I have. I know that in this family business coaching, that's the the the world that I put family business coaches, they're advisors into that. You call it the consulting psychologist I'm saying Yep. There's a world of difference in approaches to this. And I, you know, I just know that from 12 years, 11 years, whatever it is of being around the purposeful planning institute and seeing, you know, how people are coming at this, some people are coming at it from the fear based, you know. Get to the the third generation you. But I find that really I love hey, I want to make sure that I. You come at it. Let me show you all the good things that are available and possible. But we have to have some conversations to get there. You bring from that level, there's a real big push and they're going to share it. Real quick is Jim Grubman, doctor Jim Grubman and Dennis Jaffe. I don't know if you know those names, but both of them are talking about. Which is all coming in, everything from a positive spin. And now that I've been talking to you, I think that you've been doing that for a very long time. So I really appreciate that. I know that there's statistics out there that talk about those things, but the end of the day, that's what the the family, you know, the family Biz show is all about. It's just trying to help. Bring, you know, some really good teachings to people. I want to know is knowing? A plethora of people out there. Wait for a family to go through and say how do I know if Jim's the guide for us or if it's. Pete or you know. What are some of the ways that if you're a family that you're. Conversations.

JK: I guess it's a few things. It's not unusual that family business owners, no other family business owners. And sometimes they know them pretty well. They could be friends, could be golfing buddies. Ask them, say hey, you know wheels aren't falling off, but we're having some difficulty with succession. Succession. Yeah. Go what would you do differently? So those kind of things. Thing is, is that. That conversation that ultimately you're gonna end up with somebody a consultant. They're referred. You don't know them. One thing that I do when I'm first meeting somebody or some. Um. Why don't we meet for an hour, hour and a half? Say, you know I want to get a little more information than you offer me. A virtual meeting? Let's use this as an opportunity. For me to learn, are there ways that I can? What would that look like? And for you to learn, are you comfortable? Just sit across from me. I'm gonna ask you personal questions. If we work together, you know, ask the hard questions. Ask about my training, ask about how many family businesses I've been in. Asking about my success rate and what does that number mean, I'll say because when we start working with. Feel that I'm the right person. So no question isn't imply question. I'd have to think also, Michael, somebody's written some good article that you could Google that would say how do you qualify a good family business psychologist. But those are the things and I think oftentimes when I look at the clients to work with me, there's a point in that first conversation.

Or doesn't click into place so I can tell when both are happening. So certainly I prefer when it does click into place so we're talking and all of a sudden the conversation is flowing. They're beginning to tell me some things they haven't told other consultants they're willing to talk about some of their misgivings about doing. Yadda yadda and. So we're probably going to work with each other and I'll say at the end of the meeting I'll say, you know, it looks like you have some things that I can help you with. To the next step. Do you want to take a shot at this? So it's that is my hack need sales call technique. I love it. It's pretty low key. Likewise, there's some people where I can tell they're not ready, and it might be because of me, it might not be because of me. They're just not ready. So I'll say look. When we talked about. I think if you just got smarter about family business. You would see that some of your trepidation is unfounded, so either I'll say here's a book I really like, or. Hours. I'm gonna find you one or two articles. Think about it. Maybe have a little lunch with your family make. After that lunch, I'd like to eat, but yeah, so. The lunch and have a discussion and then I'll say. Time between now and never. You're gonna call me? And when you want to just, you know, call and update me. If we should meet, we will.

So what? So what's the idea behind that whole approach rifle? It's an empowering approach. I can't change any business. I can't change any individual. It's that they have to make the decision that they want to do the hard work, and the hard work's going to happen when they're not in front of me. You'll be able to have. Combination of the fortitude and the resilience. Able to have the hard conversations. To coach them how to do. Again, you can sort of tell in the beginning. Where is it? Where is this gonna go? It proceeds from there. So again, I think if somebody wants to just sort of get a primer on how do you pick a person like me. Google it selecting in our next family business. It's our family business advisor or you can play with the wording. Good thing so it will be a very detailed list, but again.

Like a gut punch, this decision that happy. First meeting where something goes click, I'm gone. They just became a client. But I'm always respectful. Sometimes I say I don't think you're ready. I realize, you know, you're 72 years old and you're feel. From everybody to do something but. You're not ready for that, sounds so. Say to them. Also, why don't you meet with me every other week for a couple months? About how you're not ready and let's see after four meetings. You'll feel more ready. You're not. Maybe you wanna go with your boots on. We're back to that again. So. It's your show if you. I'm not talking you out of it. I've told you what's gonna happen. That won't be that. But the way I come at all this, Michael, these are personal decisions. It's not my place to scare somebody into. If you don't do this, bad things will happen. I'll go. You know what's going to happen good and happen bad, if you don't be certain things, so you know that already. To show you how you can get to be where you wanna be. The way that I'll help you to get through the pain. Your family still gonna love each other. I say you're gonna have to have some courage. I'm going to be the broad shoulders behind you. I've done that before. And in the end, let's make something good happen. And that's.

MP: This all sounds like perfect. Somebody wants to reach out and find you, get in contact with you. How did? E-mail address.

JK: I don't know if you'll put that with the article or whatever of the podcast. So it's DRJIMATSG Also website is simple, it's get doctor So that's pretty easy. I got better at the second URL than the 1st. Oh, I'd get doctor So anytime and again, it's just a chat. If they like we were chatting about, we're gonna go have some coffee and if that works after that we'll do something. We go from there. I'm as low key as I appear to be though in this in. When?

MP: Here's last question. This podcast airs around the world. So do you, you know, what are your geographic limitations? Are you predominantly upstate New York? Do you take on clients virtually? Do you do any?

JK: I do some travel. Fairly extensive virtual work I was doing virtual. Virtual wasn't ever cool, but before it was a necessity, so. Yeah, I've done work all over the country. I've. Inside the country, if it was somebody in another country, you know? International events kind of depends on what's happening in the world, but initially I'll talk to anybody. I feel though that they don't want to do. And I've determined that's the only I would do it. Really big network of consulting psychologists. So I'd say OK, so you need somebody to work with your family in France. Right. Say give me permission just to talk about your family without using your family's name. Find you somebody who said they might say, you know, we're in and around Paris, let's say. Let me see if I can find you a consulting psychologist and around Paris. But I am willing to do certainly will work anywhere. I'm willing to do some travel these just face to face is upstate because this is where I am, but there are. To work with other companies who are not in Rochester, I'm in now. I've been on and off. I've been in Texas, so, so certainly willing to do that. Appreciate it very much.

MP: Thank you for joining us, everybody. This is been the Family Biz show. I'm Michael Columbus with family wealth and legacy and Rochester, NY really appreciate you taking your time to join us today. And we look forward to having you on the next episode of the Family Biz Show. Have a great day, everybody.

JK: Michael, thanks so much. Take care.

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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.