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The joys of Christmas

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With Christmas looming and most of us preparing to let amnesia kick in until the big day of turkey and pudding, where some mindless twit relative will remind you that someone often ruins Christmas day, it might pay to think about the business of families.

Generally, I try to promote being positive, but as an amateur historian I have to be realistic – some families do have ‘em. Yes, the Christmas turkey doesn’t just turn up on the plate – they’re often sitting at the table with you.

And I always hate those horrendous statistics of the suicide rates going up around Christmas, such that it might be high time people inside families and family businesses went looking for help and support.

I know I can be unfair on Americans – call me an Australian – but at least in one area they have got their act together. The ease with which they talk about going to a psychiatrist or shrink is very healthy.

Sure, the unfair might point to the greater need for therapy in such a wacky country, but that would be unfair. Most of us are given the business by family, friends, employers or work mates and our happiness and productivity suffers.

Family businesses sometimes have additional problems, often linked to the blackmail of money or promises of inheritance, which not only poorly affects the younger generations in the business, it clouds the management calibre of the bossy generation.

David Smorgon of the famous Melbourne Smorgon family talks about how few family businesses survive the third generation. Something like 10 per cent make it through the third generation gap or trap.

Sometimes they are lead by tyrants and sometimes by enlightened leaders. And as the family is the core of so many start-up small businesses, which later grow into solid medium-sized operations or massive corporations, like in the household setting, external help has to be a healthy option.

Nationally, the Family Business Association (FBA) was developed to assist families who often experience unique business issues and problems – and the FBA is growing.

The end plan of the FBA is to provide networking, information and support to family businesses. In a way, they provide the couch for a family business to rest its head on, to talk about its problems and reach solutions.

David Smorgon once said some patriarchs had barred their younger family members from attending the FBA because “they were afraid that they might learn something”.

The fear of facing the truth is the main reason I guess so many families struggle on Christmas day, why many individuals battle daily and why many family businesses don’t stand the test of time.

My Christmas gift/advice has to be – do something about it.

Work on your business, not in your business. To learn more about how Switzer Business Coaching can help you and your business, book a complimentary business assessment today!

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Thursday, December 03, 2009

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