Kramer: “I got a lot of things in the hopper, buddy”.

Jerry: “I didn’t know you had a hopper”.

Kramer: “Oh I got a hopper. A big hopper”.

Even if they do not remember this specific scene from Seinfeld, most people will recognize the character names from the TV show. Kramer always had something interesting on the go, backed up by a hopper full of other ideas for future episodes.

For me, the hopper is full of potential blog subjects, and the hopper fills up faster than I can empty it. Today I tackle one that has been in the hopper for a while, but I saw a great TV commercial this week that moved the idea to the top of the list.

Here is a link to the video, along with the caption:
Web searches, How To Videos, blogs and the rest of the internet have us believing we can do anything by ourselves. But when it comes to something important like buying or selling a home, we’re better off trusting an expert.

The initial blog idea came from a quote I read from novelist Margaret Atwood that I saw many years ago. It seems she was at a cocktail party and came across a doctor who mentioned that after he retired, he was planning on writing a book. She then apparently replied with “When I retire from writing, I plan to become a doctor”.

Now that is a pretty derisive comment no matter how you look at it, but her point is that you don’t just “write a book” any more than you just “become a doctor”.

Other examples of people who can do something versus people who do something for a living are all around us. I can write a blog, therefore I can write a book. You can take a picture, therefore you are as good as a professional photographer. I can drive a car, so I am Dale Earnhart or Sebastian Vettel. You just made dinner, so you are Gordon Ramsay or Rachel Ray.

There is a difference between being able to do something and being a professional at it. Now I am not saying that you need to have Jacques Villeneuve chauffeur you to work, have your photos taken by Ansel Adams and have Ricardo prepare dinner for you.

Most of the time, doing it yourself is more than sufficient. But sometimes, when things are truly important, it is worth getting someone who knows what they are doing to help you.

Notice that I used the word help there, and not advise.

Last week I tried to make the distinction between getting advice and getting help. The best helpers will combine a number of key elements:

– Listening to what you want to do
– Drawing up a long term plan
– Understanding all the pieces of the puzzle
– Help in keeping you on track
– Guidance at all key stages
– Explanations of pros and cons of alternatives
– Leaving the decision to you
– Getting out of the way after their work is done

My blog title mentioned that help was NOT on the way. Unlike Kramer, who was always just across the hall and whose impending arrival could always be counted upon, the right helpers do not just “show up” when needed.

You have to find them. Which means that sometimes you need to ask for help in finding the right person. Explain what you need help with to those you trust. Do not assume that they are the right person, because they probably are not. But ask them if they know someone else who might be the right person. And don’t stop until you find the right one.

Important transitions and successions should not be left up to what your accountant suggested to save taxes, or something your lawyer had drawn up for someone else last month. Take the time to do it right, you won’t regret it.

Steve Legler “gets” business families.
He understands the issues that families face, as well as how each family member sees things from their own viewpoint.
He specializes in helping business families navigate the difficult areas where the family and the business overlap, by listening to each person’s concerns and ideas.  He then helps the family work together to bridge gaps by building common goals, based on their shared values and vision.
His background in family business, his experience running his own family office, along with his education and training in coaching, facilitation, and mediation, make him uniquely suited to the role of advising business families and families of wealth.
He is the author of Shift your Family Business (2014), he received his MBA from the Richard  Ivey School of Business (UWO, 1991), is a CFA Charterholder (CFA Institute, 2002), a Family Enterprise Advisor (IFEA 2014), and has received the ACFBA and CFWA accreditations (Family Firm Institute 2014-2015).
He prides himself on his ability to help families create the harmony they need to support the legacy they want. To learn how, start by signing up for his monthly newsletter and weekly blogs here.