Episode 7 – What Did Steve Do When His Father Sold the Business? with Steve Legler

Joining Jonathan Goldhill in this episode of the Disruptive Successor is Steve Legler. Steve is from Montreal, Canada, and he shares a little background about himself, especially in the family business side of things.

Steve Legler is a Family Legacy Coach and Advisor at TSI Heritage. Steve works with people who work in family businesses doing one-on-one as a coach. He helps business families as a facilitator, assisting communications between various family members and bringing people and issues together.

He is also an author of two books called Shift Your Family Business and Independent Wealth.

To find out more about Steve Legler and what he’s up to, please visit his website at https://stevelegler.com/. You can subscribe to his newsletter and blogs for free on the website.

If you enjoy today’s episode, please subscribe, review and share with a friend who would benefit from the message. If you’re interested in picking up a copy of Jonathan Goldhill’s book, Disruptive Successor, go to the website at www.DisruptiveSuccessor.com.

Welcome to the Disruptive successor podcast. This is a show by for and about family businesses. And today I have a really special guest a family business advisor, who is from Montreal, Canada. His name is Steve Legler. And he grew up in a family business, which he expected to eventually succeed and take over for his dad. But his story didn’t end that way. It ends a different way. Steve is an author of two books, one called shift your family the other called interdependent wealth. And Steve and I are going to start a conversation where you’re going to learn a little bit about him. So Steve, welcome to my show today.

Well, thank you, Jonathan, for having me on. I hope that we can have an interesting conversation that will be enlightening and entertaining for your listeners. And who knows, I don’t know where this is going. But let’s go.

Let’s get started with so you came out of college and or came out of graduate school and went into the family business tell us what that whole process was.

look like. Wow. Okay, so I want to back you up a bit. I was born into a family where I was the first son so I have two older sisters. And it was a steel fabricating business. So it’s kind of a dirty business. I was born in 1964. So back then, women or girls going into dad’s business was not so popular and my dad was so happy to have a son. And so my earliest memories were that I was going to go and succeed my dad. So I went and I did my undergrad here in Montreal at McGill. I studied business because that’s what you have to study when you’re supposed to go and take over dad’s business and so that’s what I did. I went straight into working for the business straight out of undergrad, worked there three years and then it was time to go do my MBA, which I did. And then I came back. And on my first day back. My dad called me into his office as I walked by and said, Come here, sit down, close the door. We’ve got to talk. Things have been going downhill in the last little while our markets are disappearing. So we have to close we have to merge I have to sell we have to do something. Wow. I was like oh wow.

Now Had you already been in the business for like some time? Yeah, I

had word like high school and college and I did all the summers during high school and Okay, alright and most importantly, in my head this was my path was the path of least resistance. It wasn’t my desire my drive but it was my dutiful son. Path of expected to me so this is what I’m going to do. So what happened? Six months later, we went from 250 employees down to four, because we sold all the operations. And so and two of the four were named Steve Legler. My dad had bought a farm and he went off to, you know, take care of breeding some cows. And I was left with whatever was left, which was some real estate that we kept some money from the proceeds of the sale of the operations, some patented products that we had that to some people, so there was just enough to have like a little job here.

And gotcha and, and but what by the way, what happened to your siblings in this process where they excluded, not interested, they were

there. They were spared because they were already off on their own paths. So so one of my sisters became a CPA and is now a realtor. Right? The other one is an oncologist and she went to med school, and now she’s doing what she knows how to do to save people and I’ve got the second shot.

You do There you go. Wow, that’s really bad. So now that’s better. You can stay there.

Yeah, until the sun moves pretty quick.

So this is interesting. And it were I mean, this was kind of like your birthright you thought and maybe yes, maybe no and then I have an obligation

actually okay. After I digested the fact that this pre ordained path for me was not going to happen. There was actually more relief than anything else. What I didn’t do and when when you told me about your book and who you’re you’re aiming it at people who want to take something and really build on it. And yes, you get to the next level, right? I love that idea. But it’s not my story. But right now, I do work with families, as a consultant as an advisor, where you know, figuring out how to get what one generation work for. transition to the next generation is a lot of what I talk about. It’s often more about sort of maintaining what’s there. But what anyone who spends any time in the family business space quickly comes to learn is that the problem with sustainability of family businesses, even if the assets grow at a real nice clip, the pool of family members, three generations down the road multiplies geometrically must be much faster than the than the assets in many cases. Right? So you, you have a business and it’s $100 million in sales and and you grow it and you know, five, six years later, it’s 500 million. Okay, great. Meanwhile, you take a generation that was one household with four kids, and then they each go and have four kids. And next thing, you know, you got 20 households living off this same one business, that business didn’t necessarily grow enough to do that. So the idea that you’re trying to talk to people about taking what they have and grow it

again, because you have to because basically, you’re you’re supporting all these additional families, and it’s not going to work you’re going to be like cutting it up into small chunks otherwise.

So then you end up having to prune the family in order just to keep it going for another generation. But if you can have someone or more than one to really, you know, take this starting elevated starting point you’re not starting from nothing. And you can then be entrepreneurial again and find another way. And there’s an interesting field that I don’t know how much of you’ve talked about this, but intrapreneurship where people are doing something with the resources of the business, but that’s an idea that when I first heard about it, I said, Well, that’s interesting. And then the family business angle was Holy shit. This is a really, really, potentially really opportune place to do that in a family business, where you hear about families that have succeeded in many different businesses. And that’s because they’ve been able to take the resources from one line of business and then parlay them into or leverage them into into other businesses. But that takes not only the money from that it takes the drive and the desire and the entrepreneurship and the 100% of times you lose after the founding generation. Right. So to people who read your book, yes. Motivated to find the tools to do the rest of that.

Yeah, so um, my book is about how to two to 10x your business and using the family business as a platform but recognizing that you have to, you know, started fresh, but it could be used by any entrepreneur that wants to scale their business. And so I’m sure you see families where they have transgenerational entrepreneurship where the the next generation wants to start a business but they’re not wanting to go into the steel fabrication business or, or into the, you know, photochemical or whatever the, you know, yesterday’s industry was they were like, No, I want to do something in technology or I want to do something with software I want to do so or they want to take something that’s an offshoot you call it, I call it I call it the corridor theory of entrepreneurship, which is as you’re going down the card or maybe looking at the next entrepreneurial venture, you open up the door and you go, Oh, wow, that room is a lot bigger, this bigger opportunity this better there’s a better fit, so well.

There’s something new here that’s additional or it’s often complimentary. Yes. And it’s an additional thing. So I’ve heard stories about you know, a company is in a certain industry where they’re making something right and then there’s some kind of tech information technology angle on that same product. So you already have the connections in a certain industry, but now you have someone that is is taking a whole different angle on it. So using the resources and the connections of the business, but going down a different corridor or opening a door off the same corridor. Yeah, and doing that. And I think that takes you need the desire of someone in the rising generation to do that. But you also have to have the senior generation that is open to that and not insisting that their kids follow them down the same all the way down this corridor into God knows where it leads, when there might be something much more interesting and one of those side doors. Alright, so

let’s come back to this for a moment I want to do I want to go back and do a little deeper dive into your experience, because you did some things that I think some listeners might be interested in, which is you took an operating company, and you transitioned it after the sale into a holding company, which then transitioned into a family office. So break that down for us. What are each of those, like we know what an operating company that’s a business right? But what are what’s a holding company? What’s a family office? What was the day to day work? What was that? Like? Give us a maybe a chronological of what

that looked like so so when we we sold, we didn’t sell the business, we sold the operations of our business. So we sold assets, right? And we changed the corporate structure, which then when there was really no operations anymore, it was more of a holding company. So it was just a legal structure that didn’t really have any employees except maybe one or two.

Okay, so clarification, you made an asset sale, not a stock sale, which is the way seller would want to sell their business right is sell sell the assets because no buyer wants to buy any contingent liabilities. They might be lawsuits or

reasons to prefer one version or the other. Right. I know that for us at the time. This was what made sense. Okay. And so that if you want to talk about the day to day was we had some real estate which by the way, real estate can be a great business when you have a lot of it and it’s diversified when you only have industrial real estate, it near downtown that then turns out to be contaminated. And that you want to sell a building for four or $5 million. And then you get an estimate to clean it up. And that says $9 million. Yeah, that’s that’s pretty illiquid, and not exactly the best case scenario. And so that kind of hamstrung us a little bit from trying to grow into different businesses and it right 15 years to actually liquidate our divested of our biggest property. And we’re only able to do that because the government came by and wanted to build a highway. And so they were able to buy it and clean it, you know? Yeah, well, we got Lucky 15 years later. So lucky. That is, yes, yes. It was the it’s the way things go right. And I did not have that drive that entrepreneurial drive to take the place I was and say hey, how can I build this into something more? So I was the wrong guy for that. And I think the good news is my father recognize that it didn’t try to push me to do that. Because I never I was and I was managing a stock portfolio. And some real estate were trying to divest and so I went and I did my CFA because I figured, I’m going to be investing money. I should learn what all these other people are doing. And mostly, as I’ve admitted to more than one person, I did the CFA for defensive purposes, which sounds crazy, but basically, I didn’t want to be managing money. And having people from a bank or an investment company come and give me a business card that said, Joe Blow CFA, and say, hey, look, I’m smart. I have a CFA you should you know, invest with me.

Right. So let’s just clarify. The CFA is a Chartered Financial Analysts financial, only someone who manages and plans the wealth and like how it’s gonna be allocated, invested and manages the investments of it perhaps as well

which actually ended up now that you know, my dad died in a week and I still have the family meeting every year with with my mother and my two sisters. And our accountant who takes care of the books and all that. And we have our family meeting where I talk about where what we’re invested in and what the returns have been. Right. And I got to admit that that my sister’s cut me more slack when I have my CFA diploma on the wall here than they would have otherwise. And I mean, it’s not a huge thing, but it certainly helps. I mean, everyone knows stories about family businesses, where one of the children or more get a job that they’re not really qualified for, but where they make a lot of money, and then the other siblings are kind of working looking at saying, Hey, how come he’s getting paid to do this and why couldn’t I have had that job? At least the job that I was left with Visa V the family, right, it’s something that I am qualified for.

Yes. And certified as well. So we got both we got both both bases covered. So alright, so you’re now in this holding company. It’s sold. You’ve got these real estate assets. You’re not involved in the business when you have the holding company right here. It completely has

no operating. So we well, insofar as there was still some operations, it was it was with respect to a patented product that we had that we licensed to the company. Okay, I had bought our assets. So we still had a licensing agreement. So part of my job for almost 20 years after we made the deal was to continue to go and meet with this company quarterly and talk about the marketing of this product that for which they were paying us royalties for a long time. Gotcha. Did you have to audit as well? Or are you didn’t we have the right to but we didn’t and LK were honest with us and they were always on time. With their royalty checks and and that was actually it’s funny because my dad always said when you make a deal to sell something big like accompany people always like they’ll grab on to like how much did you get the scrap some variety, but often it’s all in the little details of terms and conditions where you really and we we collected a lot of money over those years from that royalty from that one patented product that my dad had invented. So okay, we got lucky.

So So now take us through the transition from a holding company. To a family office. What’s the what’s the distinction between the two?

So it’s there in name then in in difference? It was the way I could look at it is more now that I do consulting for families a family office is more of a holistic view of of structuring things to take care of the needs of a family. So I do more family office consulting, but I’ll often tell the story about you know how we had our liquidity event and we all of a sudden I was managing a family office, even though I didn’t know what a family office was because it was 1991 and most people didn’t know what a family office wasn’t. People still don’t know what it is. And many people who work many people who have CFAES like I do, who work for a bank or whatever will discover this term family office say that sounds sexy. Let’s call ourselves a family office. Right and and then people can will come and see us and we’ll charge them more money to manage their stuff. Whereas really a family office is whatever structure a family puts together to handle the needs of the family members, which include investing their assets, but also include their tax planning and their estate planning and paying their bills sometimes and and all the way on the extreme to managing their fleet of private jets and their yachts. So I mean, that can really run the gamut and no two family offices are the same

and they can be one person or they could be 100 people I suppose so yeah, Rockefellers, the. They have family offices that are probably quite large.

Yes. Oh, no. I know of some families that have like dozens of people in an office to take care of all sorts of things and then there’s others where it’s, it’s not even one full time person. It’s more of a virtual family. Understood.

And let’s not leave out the fact that they also do the philanthropic and the charitable trusts and things like that. So Okay. Take care of all that as well. Normally, yes, all right. So, so that was quite a transition. Again, coming out of school thinking you were going to run a steel business. What I don’t need to pry into your family’s finances, but maybe you can talk about this either in terms of your family or in terms of families you’ve worked with. And that is some kids are expected or interested in going into the family business. Others are not. And if most of the assets are in the family business, and that’s where they all are then in other words, there’s not an equal amount of real estate equal amount of stock assets. How do you deal with an or how did your family deal with divvy things up so that there’s there’s parity or there’s fairness or, or there isn’t fairness? This is just the way it happens. I mean, talk to us a little bit about that.

That’s so you’re getting to an area where you got to start looking at the difference between ownership and management. Right. So so keep some many, many family businesses will pay family people who are employees who have a role and a job that they do, presumably well and are paid commensurate to what they do. And and so you could have a family business where there’s let’s say, only two kids and they’re both employees and one is the president. And the other guys, the truck driver, and maybe they get paid the same, which wouldn’t make sense but there are all kinds of issues with with fairness for that. So right even within once who are employees, but then you have some that are an employee and others who are not, but let’s just say that they’re equal. owners. And so now how do you decide how much gets paid in salary and then how much is dividends? Which go which should go equally to owners if they own the same percentage, right. So

in my thinking, and just this is my intuition, and my experience is that compensation should go according to what fair market wages or value would be. And if you’re going to compensate a family member a little more, let’s say you have two people who are in a same sales type positions. Once a family member that you keep it to five, maybe max 10% more than what that fair market wages. So the compensation picture to me is the easy picture. It’s the equity and the distribution of the equity, that’s more trickier. So one guy’s a truck driver, the other guy’s a president. Hopefully assume you know, it’s presumed that the President is driving a lot more value in that business, and we should get more value but so how does a dad or a founder, you know, family members have these conversations and, you know, what’s your experience? What’s the best practice?

So so the experience is normally all this stuff is figured out before and then they complain about it. Ideally, they would be able to have a discussion and and CO create something that that looks fair and is fair. I’ve heard different versions of ways people deal with it. So So yes, there’s their salary. There’s dividends for ownership. There can also be bonuses. There can also be I’ve heard about a company that did their bonus pool. That rather than it being equal, it went by hours worked. So so maybe the truck driver did a lot of overtime and actually work more hours they’d actually get more of a share of the bonus than then then the somebody who was only working part time, but had a decent salary. So there’s all kinds of ways you can be creative. The problem is that most families don’t actually get around to figuring this out together. And so somebody will have come up with a policy and it won’t change until they have reason to to address it.

Meaning like someone complains loudly enough. I guess, yes.

And then maybe they bring in a consultant from the outside that sort of listens to it and then gets the other family members to understand that it’s important to correct this imbalance.

So I think there may be an underlying, unspoken rule here, which is that if you don’t have it decided, if you keep leaving it sort of in play for discussion, that it may be is the path of least resistance for some family members is like, well, it’s something that we’re going to get around to discussing. It’s on the table where you know, that’s going to be discussed at our next board meeting and then it doesn’t really ever get finalized. So it keeps you kick the can down the road, if you will.

And then down the road is something family businesses are usually pretty good at, right. You mentioned the board. Well, if there is a board, right, that’s right. The board really should be dealing with mostly business related stuff, right? A lot of these slippery subjects are actually more of something that a family council would look at, if the family has a family council. Okay, so

tell us the difference between a board and a family counselor. Tell the listeners, okay,

so a board is a board of directors of a company or advisors, right? It can so a board of advisors does not have any official power whereas the Board of Directors does Correct. Most family businesses will not have a board until at least into the second generation and sometimes not until the third, right? And they take care of that or they deal with business. matters. The family council is something that families sometimes put into place when they start to have more family members that become stakeholders of the business either through ownership, future ownership, becoming employees, and they deal with all the areas that affect the family and how the family affects the business but they take more of a family point of view, but this is a group that has actually no legal power. It is more of just a a meeting of the

under understood, unwilling right. So but here’s I think we’re at some of the challenge lies in from my experience is that the counsel the family members might get together and talk about the distribution of the equity, but without the advisors of an accountant or an attorney or someone who’s a specialist who says, Okay, well this is how we’re going to transfer it, you know, we’ll use a gifting mechanism or, you know, you’ll sell it there’ll be a fair market value purchase. I mean, how does the council make these types of decisions or

so now so ideally, the Family Council works together to figure out what makes sense for the family and then turns to expert advisors and tells them this is what we want to do, what’s the best way to do it? But what unfortunately too often happens is that let’s call them by their real names mom and dad go to a lawyer and or an accountant and say, we have this business, and we’re not sure what to do. And that lawyer or accountant says, Oh, I know how to deal with that. I did two of these in the last three weeks for the Johnson family in the Smith family. And here’s how we do it, I did it. And it was great. And this is the best thing you can do. And you should just do what I’m telling you and set up this kind of a trust or this kind of a whatever. And look, if you do it my way you’ll save exactly this many dollars and cents in taxes compared to doing it the other way. So just do this. And then the parents say, oh, that sounds good. And everything he says just makes perfect sense. So let’s do that. Right. And they’ll draw this all up and they’ll sign all the paperwork, and eventually either two weeks or two months or two years down the road when they start talking about how this structure actually works. With the kids coming in. They’ll realize that they bought the suit off the rack and it doesn’t fit in family and what they need and then they say well, this is use useless. So so that’s where I always try to say get the family to figure out what the family wants to do together. Once you know what that looks like. Take that memorandum of understanding, and go and say to people, this is what we have and this one we want to do. How do you suggest we do it? And then let the experts have their say, on the how to do it. But what too many families are doing is they’re letting the experts tell them what to do. Right? Well, I

think that makes a lot of sense. And what I oftentimes find is that what makes sense in regular business is the same sense in family business and if you just can parse or separate the family politics, dynamics, all that stuff from the business, then you can make good sensible decisions and and so I know when I first started one of my first businesses, it was don’t send spend a lot of time in a lawyer like having a lawyer craft this thing. Figure out what you guys want as partners, which is what we did, and then tell the lawyer like this is what we want to do. And then have them write it up in a way that conforms to the legal structure. It says

that, yeah, okay, people, overcomplicate things sometimes. Gotcha.

So, alright, so we’ve covered some different areas. Now, tell us about your two books you first wrote. Five more or more years ago, you wrote a book called shift your family. What was that book about? Shift

your family business? Sorry. Yeah, shift your family, your family business was after so I don’t think we talked about the fact that I stumbled into this program in Toronto called family business, a family enterprise advisor was relatively new and had come out of University of British Columbia in Vancouver a few years earlier. And this was a program designed to help train people who work with business families have family businesses, and so somehow I saw an ad on LinkedIn and I clicked on next thing you know, I was I was I enrolled myself in this in this course. So here I am with about 2025 people in the room. They all work for banks or they sell life insurance, or their asset managers are there accountants and they these are people that are employees of relatively large firms, and they’re there to learn what makes family businesses tick, so they can serve those people better. And I’m sitting there in this room and I have nothing in common with the people in the classroom. But at the front of the room, there are people that are talking about working with families on figuring out their vision, figuring out their values, encouraging their rising generation, planning their succession, having family meetings, having family retreats, and I was like, Oh my God, this I didn’t know that that was a thing. So the people at the front of the room so so this is where I had my calling. And I had been for two decades sort of twiddling my thumbs managing some money for my family, doing a little bit of this little bit of that, but never having anything that really drove me. My wife had been bugging me all along. You should write a book you should write a book and there were all kinds of things I could have written a book about. But I was never driven to write the book until I decided that I wanted to write a book about my calling and what I had learned. And I geared the book towards people like my father and actually my father in law because I also married into a family business, people who founded businesses and grew them to a certain point and then needed to make a shift. So shift your family business to thinking not about growing the business itself, but shifting to thinking more about the family. And the subtitle of the book is stopped working in your family business, start working on your business family, so there’s the working in working a lot. Everyone knows about the family business and the business family. Perfect shift is actually an acronym the word shift so there’s five steps to my process, okay, get help, invest, be flexible and talk that spells shift. Wonderful. So I wrote this book to sort of put a marker down and say, This is my new role. I know most people don’t write a book when they start down a new that’s

an interesting way to get Yes, my book is written after 30 years of experience. Your your book was written after what sounds like a few weeks of

coming to a realization but also realizing I was in a place where I finally felt at home, where I felt that my lived experience and what I knew and what I understood about the space was useful to people. Right. And so then I started, I had been blogging for a bit and I started a website and I found a few clients and I started to work with people, beautiful coaching courses, facilitation courses, mediation courses, all kinds of things. Which which have stood me in good stead at the time I said you know, even if, if these didn’t help me with clients that they all made me a better husband and a better father. Fantastic going for that and and realizing that you know, my dad had always seen me as his future person to take over his business because that’s because he needed someone for that. Meanwhile, my my grandmother, my mother’s mother, who lived with us when I was a kid till I was about 15. He used to say to me, you should become a priest. You should become a priest and I would laugh at her. But now like, I go to these conferences, where I talk, you know, and meet with people about family systems theory and stuff like that, right? There’s all these clergy people there, and I realized that my grandmother had me better pegged for what I’m naturally good at There you go.

So good. So if you’re interested in this is for listeners. If you’re interested in the business of family and the family business, then you can buy my book and his book together on Amazon and they’ll cover both bases. So alright, let’s talk about your next book, which was written just a couple of years ago. Now that came out last year. So well, you had to take some time to write this one, did you not? I? Well,

no. So right after, as my first book was coming out, I was thinking back to one of the things we learned in this family enterprise advisor course right around the first day was they said, the family is a system, right? And I thought, okay, I can buy that family’s a system. Let’s go with that. And then I realized I didn’t really know what that meant. And so I started to do a bit of research and about family systems. And I kept on coming across information about Bowen, family systems theory. Psychiatrist in Murray Bowen, I kept on seeing stuff about Bowen, family systems theory, and how if you’re working with business families, it’s really good to know this Bowen. stuff. So I said okay, let me go and find a book that will tell me what it is about this Bowen family systems theory. That is good to know since I’m going to be working with business families and I did not find that book. And so I went down and wrote it. Well, that’s it. So that’s why I decided to get some training right in the field, and eventually ended up spending two years in the postgraduate program at the Bowen Center in Washington DC that was founded by Mary Bowen, learning enough about this stuff not to be an expert, but enough to write a book. That was the book that I was looking for. So if people want

to understand what the Bowen family systems theory is, they would turn to your book. Is that a fair statement? So

So go back to my thing I said about the clergy. So, so most of the people that study Bowen, family systems theory, are our family therapists or psychologists, clergy. Gotcha. Maybe five to 10% of the people in the Bowen. world, our family business people, I say, Okay, and so I wanted to write a book that explained for people in the family business space, what is this Bo and stuff over here?

Right? Know who Bowen is. So what is it that they what are the questions or what’s the pain or the problems and

I’ll get to that as and I wanted to write a book for the Bowen, people that are in the other space, right to get them to understand a little bit about the family business transition world so I’m fond of having long subtitles to my books. So this one is how family systems theory illuminates successful intergenerational wealth transitions. Okay, so so it’s it’s all about wealth transition from one generation to the next. Understand some there are people that work in the Bowen world as clergy or therapists that my book also illuminate some of the world of business transitions.

Fantastic and important for them to know that stuff. So that’s great.

So the key to what I wanted to do was find and I found that there are 15 main chapters in this book that all talk about things that come up in both places. So there are certain concepts that you hear about in bowling, and there’s certain things that you care about in the intergenerational wealth transition. And so I wrote a chapter about those things I wrote. So I wrote there’s 15 chapters to talk about the overlap of these two spaces. And so each chapter is like nine to 12 pages about a certain topic. So it’s bite sized topics. It’s not if you read Steve’s book, then you’re going to know all this stuff. It’s more for people who say, what is this bowl and stuff and and how can it help me and how can I use parts of it? And presumably some people will read this book and say, I want to learn more and I want to go and find a bow and training program and learn more because it’s really one of those things that you really need to do the work for yourself. Like before you can go and really help another family with this stuff. You got to do your own work and figure out your own crap and deal with your own family stuff. And once you’re able to deal with your place in your family system, from your family of origin that you were born into, once you’ve sorted out all that stuff, then you can really go and help other people with their family dynamics. Gotcha. Good and Okay, well, then, you shouldn’t be giving swimming lessons if you only learn from a book.

Gotcha. So interdependent wealth by Steve Legler. Yes, the book that he’s talking about in my book, I which by the way, is trending number one in business conflict and mediation on Amazon. And also business quality control, but I deal and I provide some frameworks for how to have difficult conversations and get through those conversations. And I think that’s really important. The work of authors like Kim Scott, who talked about radical candor. So it sounds like yours is a much deeper dive into these into understanding the family dynamics, and maybe how they play out in a business.

Yeah, there’s well, there’s, you know, I would say that family businesses are tripped up more often by things that happen in the family than things that happen in the business case. It’s really important to not ignore those things and it’s all well and good to say, well, we’re not going to bring our emotions we’re not but they’re there anyway. So you have to learn to deal with them. And it sounds like you’re not sure how to deal with the same idea that you don’t you have to have to find ways through or around these problems and ignoring them. And ignoring conflict is never the the

going to be the best solution. Okay, so now, Steve, before we get to you, you know, how do people contact you? What is like the number one problem that people come to you to solve that you enjoy solving the most? You know, what really excites you? And so if someone’s still listening at this point, they’re probably pretty tired. Like, so what is this guy Steve, what’s his name? Legler. Do? I wrote I read this book. I think I’m getting a sense now what? What’s the number one problem that they come to, you know, or what’s a top problem that they come to you and

the generation that’s in charge now has worked really hard to grow something and create something and then they worry that either it’s going to screw up their kids or their kids are going to screw it up? Gotcha. And, and it’s one version or the other or sometimes both of that. Okay, so it’s preparing the rising generation right? And too often, the parents either overestimate or underestimate their kids. Her fan cram Great, great. And if you’ve ever coached any children’s sport, you’ve seen that there’s the guy who thinks his son is the best and put some out there to do everything even though he’s the worst player on the team. And, or, and then the next year, you’ll have the guy who’s whose son is the star of the team, but he treats them like crap, and doesn’t get nearly out of him what he what he could, and so it’s helping the families with an outside objective view, to properly evaluate where their kids are, yeah. And to help them come up with the best structure that has the best chance of success going forward. Awesome. And figuring out how the relationships between the siblings and the parents and the and the kids work

beautiful. And so you’re a coach and a mediator and a facilitator playing in between the spaces there. Yes. I think the book sounds like a great place for them to start. And you’re on the East Coast. I’m on the West Coast. If someone wants to talk with me, you know, it sounds like we could have a few bars here are the same stuff. Is there an assessment or something that you have like a leading instrument that that you offer?

Like question but I don’t like it because I don’t have one. Okay. And I love it when I hear people that are even more like way more experienced than me to come up with the same answer and say, This is not science. It’s art. Yeah. And so I do it more by the seat of my hands. Hi. I’m the same way I understand. I know that people use assessments and use them well and if they can, and good for them, but it’s not my style.

It’s a good tool to get people started in the conversation. But look for those people who have the patience to read a book. That’s probably a more thorough place to start. Is it available on audio? Is it available on any

done the audio? There? They’re on Amazon, they’re on Kindle. Fantastic. It’s print on demand. But you know, at first for people who like smaller bite sized stuff, I do write a blog every week and I’ve been doing it for over seven years religiously. So there’s like 100 blogs on my website. I always say when when people say how do people find you I say I’m lucky. I have a simple name Steve Legler. It’s It’s short. It’s easy to pronounce. There’s the same there’s only one vowel it’s an E it shows up four times. And even though it’s all those things, it’s not common. So if you Google me, right, you’ll find me if you Google Steve Legler I should show up and if I did if you put family business, I will definitely show awesome so you’ll get driven to my website where you can subscribe to the newsletter for free or and or the blogs and you can read stuff on all kinds of things that I’ve been writing. And I always tell people I write from my head and my heart. And so it’s it’s not a business thing. It’s all related to families and family office, family, business, family transitions, families working together, people who own assets together and trying to figure out how to get through that next transition, whether it be a year from now or 20 years from now.

Fantastic. Well, you’ve heard it here. The sun was literally shining through Steve as he was communicating this and you could see his brilliance. It was just it was like gold like coming across the screen. Steve, thank you so much. This Jonathan goldhill where we tell stories and talk to advisors, about family businesses, for family businesses and for next generation leaders. And this is the disruptive successor podcast. Thank you