Keys to Success in a Family Business

  • April 19, 2019

How do you keep a family business together for multiple generations? There is no magic formula to guarantee that this can happen, but you can increase the likelihood that future members of your family will want to join your business by building a solid foundation based on seven characteristics:

Trust

Trust is a key to any successful relationship be it a business, family, or friendship. You must trust that those you work with will do the jobs they are assigned and that their focus is on the success of the organization. Those who see that you place your complete trust in will in turn develop feelings of trust for you and act accordingly.

Mutual Respect

In every relationship there must be mutual respect between the parties involved. When one party feels that they are better, or more important than others, they are taking focus away from the partnerships that can build mutually satisfying relationships. Families are about recognizing each other’s strengths and building upon those of each other; it also involves recognizing each other’s weaknesses and helping to overcome them or build them into strengths. This cannot be done when airs of superiority are presented among family members.

Loyalty

Loyalty is a character trait that is sadly lacking in the business world today; especially concerning is the increasing lack of loyalty among family members. Loyalty among family is more than key to its survival, it is an absolute necessity. Evidenced loyalty will provide family members with the confidence they need to trust each member of the family to do the right thing.

Love

This may seem overly trite, but there must be love between family members. You cannot succeed when those you are dependent on for your success are not close to your heart. If your goal is to keep your business within the family and build it for the benefit of future generations, you must honestly, without ulterior motives, love your family; not just those who are participating in the business, but all members. Love among members of the family will build the loyalty, mutual respect, and trust that are needed to make your business a success.

Service

Service to your customers and clients has always been a topic of discussion among successful organizations. The personal touch of offering clients service above and beyond what they might expect from an impersonal warehouse or department store type business will build a loyal customer base for every organization. In the family business another dynamic comes into play: Service to each other. You are not only striving to serve your customers, but you must serve one another. Family business is about building relationships of service to each other in order to make your business truly work as team and a family unit.

Flexibility

In any business, flexibility is key to survival and profit. It may even be more important in family businesses. As family members come and go, over the years and generations, each will bring different areas of expertise and interest. You must be able to adapt how structure your business, what products you create or offer, and how you actually conduct your business. Allowing family members the freedom and the excitement to bring their own personalities into the business may create a bond between them and the business that will become contagious to others within the organization, establishing a long lasting culture of innovation and flexibility.

Separation

Even though you are involved in a family business, there must be some separation between your business and family relationships. You must be able to separate the events that occur at work and those at home. Though difficult as it may be for families who are involved in a business together, their must be time to set aside the concerns of work and solely focus on building your family relationships. You cannot completely separate the family and the business because that is part of the dynamics that may make it succeed, but as much as possible you need to realize there are differences and a time and place for everything. One especially challenging part of this is when your business happens to be in your home. Having in effect a 24 hour per day business at home will make it difficult to keep the business and family separate. One way is to maintain a separate room in the home where you conduct your business. Once you leave the room, it is just as if you have left your office.

Building a successful multi-generational family business is a daunting task. Building a foundation from the above characteristics will go along way is helping achieve that goal.

Marriage and Relationship Problems

  • April 18, 2019

Couples counseling is designed to understand the behavior patters between people in a relationship to resolve problems more effectively. Couples therapy is a brief, solution-focused technique, which defines specific and attainable treatment goals, and is designed with the outcome in mind. Couples counseling will help people develop strategies for improving their relationships.

The processes of couples counseling teaches you how to take helpful risks to develop a loving relationship. Opportunities to continue personal growth occur throughout life. Individual growth leads to stable committed relationships. Couples therapy encourages emotional growth, which allows people to experience more connected feelings with one another. People develop trust when they feel safe in disclosing your deepest, most private self to their partners. The most effective way to obtain a good outcome in your relationships is to work with an experienced professional, such as a licensed marriage and family counselor.

What types of problems are treated in couples counseling?

The psychotherapy of couples counseling treats specific problems in a relationship such as poor communication, problems getting along, boundary issues with other family members such as parents or grandparents, disagreements about parenting of children, or difficulties with financial stress. Couples therapy shows people a way to live in a more loving and respectful way.

Work or career issues, financial issues, and issues with children and the extended family are the stresses that modern society place on a relationship. In couples counseling, people learn how to deal with the pressures of daily living without destroying their relationship. During the psychotherapeutic process of marriage therapy, couples learn that we are all human and have human flaws. Couples in therapy get the insight that we all have the ability to hurt each other and develop skills to prevent that hurt as much as possible. Partners in the counseling process find they have a safe place to acknowledge hurtful behaviors. People in relationships learn effective communication skills to apologize and express remorse.

How long do people stay in couples therapy?

Couples counseling is designed to address specific issues. Within 10 to 12 sessions, on average, problems will be identified and better behavioral strategies will begin to take effect. The number of sessions is tailored depending on the couple involved and their specific issues.

Often, couples desire to continue sessions with the therapist to reinforce new skills and effective strategies. They realize that cognitive tools can be learned which help produce a more successful relationship. As a couple puts what is learned in the initial sessions into practice, they become motivated to “learn more” as they see they have a more satisfying life with their partner. Often, couples begin marriage therapy in a “crisis” situation. When highly charged emotions begin to retreat, the psychotherapist and the couple can start the real work of learning and refining many skills and techniques to improve the marriage or relationship.

Why use a marriage and family therapist (MFT) for couples counseling and psychotherapy?

Marriage and Family Therapists are specially trained, licensed professionals focusing on relationships, family dynamics and psychotherapy. These professionals diagnose and treat a wide range of emotional and psychological disorders that arise between people in a relationship.

A marriage therapist is specifically trained to listen and analyze issues presented by partners in a relationship in an unbiased fashion. Friends and families of the couple are often very loving and very much want to help but their strong emotional investment with one or both partners makes them unable to understand the psychology of the relationship objectively. Even after the first session with an effective marriage therapist, it is quite common that couples will report a feeling of “hope” that they are doing something positive to help work things out in their relationship.

Will I become a better listener through couples counseling?

During couples counseling, people learn specific methods on how to listen to their partner’s needs. Active listening techniques help people develop empathy with their partner which lets them better understand their partner’s needs and improve their relationship. Relationships and marriages become stronger and more caring and loving when people learn to listen to each other.

Couples psychotherapy involves training in resolving conflicts, eliminating miscommunication, and healing painfully hurt emotions. Any relationship inevitable develops problems. Through therapy, you can to listen fully to your partner’s needs. An experienced marriage, family and couples therapist can teach the people in a relationship specific methods to improve their listening skills.

The therapist can help you stay on track when working on resolving an issue. You learn to resist “making a case” for yourself by bringing in irrelevancies that may only cause pain to the other. Couples therapy can effectively develop communication regarding a difference of opinion, which leads to a comfortable solution for both people.

How will couples counseling help me resolve the conflicts in my marriage?

First, the therapist will help create a safe, warm and trusting relationship for both partners. Next, you work with the therapist understand the nature of the conflict. Often, conflicts result when partners in a relationship differ in a goal or expectation. In couples counseling, the therapist will help you understand each other’s expectations, and help you and your partner learn new ways to communicate to resolve the conflict.

An experienced couples therapist can teach partners in a relationship skills they can use to develop strategies to improve conflict resolution that can adapt over time. People gain an increased ability to listen with understanding to the other person’s views, even though, perhaps, not agreeing on the specific issue. The marriage therapist can demonstrate effective and safe ways to express negative emotions such as hurt and anger in a non-critical and non-confrontational style. Successful conflict resolution results in partners feeling closer and more trusting with each other, strengthening the marriage.

Is couples counseling really effective?

Many studies demonstrate the effectiveness of couples counseling. The vast majority of people in couples therapy report an improvement in how they perceive themselves and their relationship.

Couples counseling is extremely effective in not only helping couples stay together. In fact, as each individual in the relationship continues to grow and maturing, they develop to more functional and positive communication and efficient conflict resolution outcomes in their lives outside of their relationship. Couples counseling, is not a passive thing “done” to a couple, but rather it is “work” done together with the psychotherapist. The counselor and the couple are in positive communion to effect positive results.

Couples therapy is an effective method to understand the behavior of the partners in a relationship and allows effective resolution of relationship problems. A couples counselor treats a variety of specific relationship problems and helps people learn to live more lovingly together. Couples therapy varies in duration, which is designed to provide enough space to address specific relationship issues. Professional marriage and family therapists are highly trained experts that can facilitate therapy for a couple in an unbiased and objective manner. People undergoing couples counseling learn specific skills to become better listeners and resolve conflicts. Overall, people find that couples therapy is effective and report an overall improvement in their well-being and in their relationships.

Relationships Matter Most

  • April 17, 2019

Healthy relationships equal hope filled futures.

The CEO of a California mega firm PIMCO, a $2 trillion investment fund, resigned upon receiving a note from his daughter listing 22 milestones he had missed in her life. His most recently reported annual income was $100 million. His 10 year old daughter’s compelling list of the special moments where he was absent in her life was the turning point to bring a new balance in his work and family relationships. It was the teachable moment for Mr El-Erian.

El-Erian’s said his wake up call was, “My daughter compiled a list of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade. I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-do, but it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point… I was not making nearly enough time for her.”

El-Erian’s decision has brought better balance in his work/family relationships. He is now chief economic adviser with financial services company, Allianz, where he told Reuters he spends “50 percent of my time and I love it.”

He surrendered the good life for a much better life with less stress and more fulfillment in what matters most—right relationships. El-Erian has upgraded his “investment portfolio” which now prominently includes his daughter. This priceless investment will go on long after El-Rrian is gone to yield dividends for generations to come as well as fulfillment to serve all of them well.

Most young people today are among the majority who do not have a mother and father regularly in their life. Most do not have a mature adult relationship in their life. Their preoccupation is in their impersonal digital and game relationships which is void of personal nurturing relationships.

Family disintegration, absenteeism and the digital pseudo substitute fillers are taking an incalculable and generational toll on the health and well-being of this generation and those to follow. The economic, social, emotional, health, behavioral and addiction costs are having a tsunami impact on the well-being of our culture and nation.What threshold of “pain” and cost will it take for our wake up call?

C.S Lewis, a world class novelist said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is His megaphone that rouses a deaf world.” What it will take for the “deaf” to hear. As a fish desires what’s on the hook, we have no idea what is to come but feel more and more uncertain and aware of the fragility of life.

We are hooked suckers who take the bait. If we are still breathing it is not too late to spit out the hook. Ironically, we change our ways, not when we see the bait, but more often when we feel the “hook.” Not one of us picked our place of birth, nor do we control the variables that shape our future. Fulfillment comes from personal relationships which determine our significance and legacy. If we settle for anything less we are our own thief.

The priceless value of our worth was assigned by God from the beginning of time. When all is said and done, personal relationships with God and others matter most. We can be the difference we want to see in our communities. Seize today to show the better way in personal relationships that matter most.

Child Relationship

  • April 16, 2019

When I first married, I didn’t realize there was a 50 percent chance that my marriage would end in divorce. During our marriage, we had a child and again, I didn’t realize that there was a one in six chance my divorce would turn out to be “high conflict,” and that my child would be used by an angry and vindictive ex to avenge the failure of our marriage. Over the years since my divorce, the mother’s behavior has only intensified. Eventually, I came to learn the meaning of terms such as Parental Alienation (PA), Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), and Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP), and experienced how easily the family court system can be manipulated by false allegations.

In 1985, Dr. Richard Garner, a forensic psychiatrist, introduced the concept of PAS in an article, “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation,” in which he defined PAS as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of programming (brainwashing) by the other parent and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent.” Several years later, Ira Daniel Turkat introduced “Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.” Behaviors associated with both syndromes are relatively similar, encompassing hostile aggressive parenting behavior in an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent. However, the latter focuses on the mother’s behavior whereas PAS can relate to both the mother and the father. Presently, PA or PAS are the common terms used to define the practice of attempting to alienate a child or children from a parent, regardless of gender.

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) official statement on PAS notes “the lack of data to support so-called parental alienation syndrome and raises concern about the term’s use.” However, the APA states it has “no official position on the purported syndrome.” Advocates against PAS believe it is a form of psychological child abuse, and the APA’s refusal to address PAS leaves “targeted parents” lacking needed resources to fight the problem. At the same time, there are those who discount the validity of PAS and believe it is used as an excuse by abusive parents during custody challenges to explain “the animosity of their child or children toward them.” In certain cases, that may very well be true.

In his article, “New Definition of Parental Alienation: What is the Difference Between Parental Alienation (PA) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?” Dr. Douglas Darnall focuses on the behavior and defines “parental alienation (PA), rather than PAS, as any constellation of behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious, that could evoke a disturbance in the relationship between a child and the other parent.” Simply put, PA is teaching the child to hate the other parent, leading to estrangement from the parent. By concentrating on the behavior, Dr. Darnall presents a more pragmatic approach to acceptance of PA by attorneys, therapist and family courts.

The tactics or tools that parents use to alienate a child range from simple badmouthing the other parent in front of the child; encouraging others to do likewise, until the child is bombarded with negative remarks on a daily basis; to reporting accusations of abuse or neglect to child protective services or family court. This behavior is known as Hostile Aggressive Parenting. One tactic that author John T. Steinbeck describes in Brainwashing Children is that some “hostile parents who remarry will have the child or children call the stepfather, ‘daddy,’ as a technique used to devalue the biological parent.” Parental Alienation Syndrome is a condition. Hostile Aggressive Parenting is the behavior.

Hostile aggressive parents are unable to move on. They are stuck in the past and focused on avenging the failure of their marriage and the control they had during the marriage. They manipulate the family court and child protective services in an attempt to continue control over their ex-spouse. They accept no responsibility for their actions, blame everyone, and place themselves above the child’s own interest. Therapist turned family law attorney Bill Eddy notes in his article “Personality Disorders and False Allegations in Family Court” that there is a “prevalence of personality disorders in high conflict divorce and custody cases in which false allegations are used.” The most prevalent of these is Borderline Personality Disorder, followed by Narcissistic Personality, and Anti-Social Personality Disorder. This accounts for the lack of empathy toward the child’s emotional state, and the ability to manipulate family court and child protective services so easily. Parents with anti-social personality disorders will play the “victim.” They are experts at manipulating and lying because they actually believe their lies to justify what they are doing.

Not all children can be taught to hate. Some have a very strong bond with the parent. Steinbeck also notes that in certain cases the “alienating parent feels that the other parent has a strong, highly functional relationship with the child or children and is irrationally worried that this positive relationship will somehow affect their relationship with the child.” A child old enough to decide with whom he or she wishes to live with may result in a reversal of financial obligations, as the non-custodial parent is obligated to pay child support and provide medical coverage for the child. HAP may simply be financially motivated. Regardless of the motives, attempting to alienate a child from a parent using hostile aggressive parenting or parental alienation tactics is psychological child abuse.

It is much easier to alienate a child when the child is separated from the parent. False allegations to family court of abuse or neglect will severely limit the relationship between the parent and child and the limited time spent will be under supervision. The Standard Divorce Decree has already reduced the non-custodial parent to a visitor in the child or children’s lives by a visitation schedule of the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month. Now the parent is limited to a “supervised” visitation schedule of three or four hours per month. Supervised visitation programs are just as easily manipulated as family court, e.g., parents simply need to call in at the last minute to seek rescheduling.

Family court will always side with the allegations and the court moves very slowly. Depending on the skill of an attorney, this period of separation could last for months. This gives the “targeting parent” additional time to teach the child to hate the “targeted parent,” as well as draining the “targeted parent’s” financial resources.

An attorney once told me that “the only place people lie more than in family court is at a bar.” Family court is plagued by false allegations simply because they are such an effective tool to quickly sever the parent-child relationship. Family court does not prosecute against false allegations, which is why false allegations have proliferated. Allegations do not need to be specific. Some attorneys advise clients to keep the allegations vague so as not to chance involving investigative agencies such as child protective services, as their reports carry so much weight with the court. An allegation to family court may be as vague as “The father is a danger to the child.” This is enough for the family court to order visitations withheld or supervised, but not specific enough to involve child protective services.

Family court is a guilt-by-accusation system. Once accused, it is the responsibility of the accused to prove the allegations false. The accused parent will most likely be court-ordered to supervised visitations with the child or children, as well as complete a psychological evaluation and meet with mediators and parent coordinators, all at personal cost. He or she also may pay for a forensic investigation, also referred to as a Social Study Evaluation, to prove the allegations false. The accused parent will spend thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars proving the accusations false – and in the end, find him/herself financially drained and psychologically exhausted. An accused parent may lose a relationship with the child or children simply because they ran out of money to continue to fight. Unfortunately, this also results in a child losing a loving parent. David Levy, cofounder of the Children’s Rights Counsel and author of The Best Parent is Both Parents, stated: “President Obama talks a lot about absentee fathers who need to take responsibility. (But) he may not realize that there are millions of parents who want to be involved (in their children’s lives).” Fighting for the “child’s right to both parents” is a costly battle – both financially and psychologically. Many parents simply lose because they ran out of money.