Unleashing the Next Generation with Steve Legler

About Steve Legler
Steve Legler MBA, FEA, CPCC

Steve Legler is a Family Legacy Advisor based in Montreal, Canada. He grew up in a business family, destined to take over the company his father had founded before he was born. After an unexpected liquidity event that occurred while he was still in his 20’s, he ended up managing their family office instead. He also married into a business family, where he has witnessed a number of other complex issues.

In 2013 he stumbled upon the Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA) program in Canada, which turned in to career-changing calling for him. Since then, he has been working with other business families as they face the challenges surrounding their intergenerational transitions.

He works with family clients as a facilitator, and sometimes as a mediator. He also does individual coaching with family members. He recognizes how complex the world of family wealth transitions can be, and prides himself on knowing how to be a great resource for his clients.

He is the author of SHIFT your Family Business (2014) and Interdependent Wealth: How Family Systems Theory Illuminates Successful Intergenerational Wealth Transitions (2019)

He is active in many associations for professionals who work with families; a member of the FEA Council of the Family Enterprise eXchange (FEX); a member of the Wisdom Expedition of the Purposeful Planning Institute (PPI); and a member of the faculty of the Family Firm Institute (FFI) global education network (GEN) program.

Welcome again to the legacy family business program, a series of 21 videos recorded with experts and a whole host of areas around family businesses continuity or succession planning. And today we have with us a gentleman I’m really excited to be with Steve Legler. Now Steve Legler is a family business advisor. He’s a consultant and coach. He has a huge deal of experience in a range of areas for example, family, business, governance, and so on. But the area I’m particularly excited to talk to him about today is the area of siblings and and how the interactions between siblings plays out in the succession planning or continuity planning process. Now I know Steve’s Steve’s particularly well qualified to to speak to this. I mean, he was born into a family business run by his father, and he enjoyed himself so much that he decided to marry into another one. So he’s doubly qualified if you like. And I’m really, really happy that he’s agreed to join us. So welcome, Steve. And thank you for taking the time.

Thank you for inviting me to this when I when I saw what you proposed and the kinds of guests you were having. I I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this anything where people from different areas different backgrounds can share on these topics around family business, which you’ve got a global audience, and so much about family enterprise is more or less the same around the world. There are of course differences, but we can all learn from each other. No matter where we are, and where we’re hearing stories about things that are going on in other places. So I’m happy to take part in this grand experiment that you’re conducting of getting all of us together in different ways to do this.

Thank you very much for those kind words, Steven, and you’ve encapsulated exactly what I what I’m doing with this with this program because as you say, there are many similarities. But there are also contrasts for cultural reasons and other reasons around the world. And I wanted to put together as holistic a picture as possible of the dynamics around transition succession or continuity planning. So thank you for that. I’d like to start as I as I usually do, by giving you the opportunity to tell us about a little bit about your story. How did you get here What was your calling, to be doing what you’re doing now? I’ll say a little bit about your background. But could you fill fill us in on the rest of it, please, Steve?

Sure. Happily. So I was born here and I’m in Montreal, Canada. My parents came over as teenagers from Eastern Europe, and met here and married and started a family and my father worked for a company for a while and then as many immigrants do, they became entrepreneurs and he became an entrepreneur and started his own business. That was in the early 60s. I have two older sisters. It was a business in the steel fabrication. That was the 1960s. And so you didn’t necessarily think of your daughters as potential successors in that kind of a business. So when I came along the third child, but the first boy it was a big celebration. Finally, someone dad could leave his business to and so my whole upbringing, that was a thought that was never far from my mind, because I kept getting reminded that you know, you’re going to be taking over dad’s business and so I didn’t know any better. And I followed along it was the path of least resistance work there every summer as a teenager, went to university studied, what do I study well, of course, I studied business because I’m going to be taking over a business and so I did that. Graduated from McGill up the street here and went straight into the family business, which I now realize is probably a mistake. It’s better to go out and work somewhere else for a while. We might touch on that. I went to do my MBA after a few years of experience came back and unexpectedly on my first day back my dad called me into his office and said, close it or sit down we have to talk. The business has been evaporating for various reasons. We’re gonna have to do something sell a close merge and long story short, six months later, rather than 250 to 300 employees that we had before we were now four and two of us were named Steve Legler. I had the junior after my name my dad had gone to run his hobby farm that he had purchased and I was left with Well, we have some money from selling these assets. We have some real estate, and I was essentially running our small family office versus with the early 90s. People didn’t know what a family office was that at least of all me. Most people still don’t know what it is today. But that’s what I ended up doing. Along the way at MBA school. I had met my wife who also came from a family business started by her father. She was also the youngest of her family. They also had their liquidity event about 10 years later. And so I’ve seen how their family dealt with the birth and growth and sale of a family business and what then happens after a liquidity event and how different families handle it. And then you mentioned the word calling and I’m so happy that in 2013 I stumbled into a program here in Canada called family enterprise advice and so yeah, there’s the logo over my shoulder FBA. So this is a program started at the University of British Columbia about 10 years ago. And it was designed for people who work with family businesses, as professionals. So in this class here I am with a bunch of bankers, accountants, wealth managers, people in the insurance industry, who all have family enterprise clients, and they’re there to learn what makes family businesses so that they can serve those clients better. And after a while, I realized I had nothing in common with these other people in the room. But there were people at the front of the roof. Now we’re talking about the way they work with families and help them figure out their goals and figure out their vision and figure out their mission and work with the rising generation to prepare them and work on continuity plans. Then all of a sudden I was like I didn’t know that. That was a thing. Like people do that as their career. And I was like, I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course I was in my late 40s At the time, but better late than never. And so I jumped in I dove into the deep end I wrote a book I started a website, I got a few clients. I started writing a blog every week. I’ve since made contacts with people all around the world, mostly through the family firm Institute FFI where I’ve met a lot of people in this space. And so here I am trying to do my part in spreading the word because this whole industry, of working with families on the non business side on the Family Circle issues is still relatively new. And whatever we can do to help those families who who have these challenges, to realize that there are experts in this particular area that can help them, then that’s part of what needs to be done to you know, the rising tide lifts all of our books.

Absolutely. Gosh, thank you for that. Right. So it’s such a rich story that you shared with us. And as you were speaking, there are so many questions that came to mind. So the first one was about going back to what you said about it being a foregone conclusion that you’re going to take over the family business, and not your sisters despite them being older than you now. When you were told this because that’s what happened right? You were told this. How did you feel what was going through your mind?

Well, there’s something about just being a dutiful, with a D not beautiful but beautiful son, right and this is what’s expected of me and along the way hearing stories about my parents, and how, you know, obeying their parents is a very important thing that they did. And those stories were not lost on me. I’m not sure I had a better idea of what I really wanted to be it’s not as if I had some artistic talent that it was like no, I need to go and and follow this. I did not so it was really it was a path of least resistance and it was a sense of duty. And the other thing is I always felt it was something that I could do I was it wasn’t necessarily driving, but I knew I could do it. And so when I learned about the impending sale of the business, it sort of hit me in two different ways. And one of them was oh my god my whole life. I’ve been gearing up for this and now it’s being taken away. But in the other way it was like, oh my god, I never really really wanted to do this. I was just expecting to do it. But that adjustment still took a couple of decades in my brain to turn into something that did driving now in the interim, it had a lot of benefits. I raise a family in those decades where I was able to be present for my children in their lives and never miss a soccer practice and always, never miss anything that they were involved in. And I told them, Look, I’m able to be here. My father when he got tickets to the local football game. I went with my grandfather because my dad was busy growing his business, right? I got to benefit from the fact that he and for my parents, their other grandfather, they both did really well which allowed my wife and I as parents to spend a lot of time with our kids as they were growing up and I like to think that they are reaping the benefits of that still

a lot I’m sure they are Steven in one way that is a legacy that you have inherited from your you and your wife have inherited from your parents. And that the value of that should not be underestimated. So it’s a wonderful story. So it’s so Okay, so you kind of step into this. And you you had little to no experience of anything else. So really you didn’t know any better. And you stepped in and clearly it was something that resonated with you. Which was which was extremely lucky because I mean I remember when I was 18 I knew absolutely nothing, of course about the big wide world and, you know, I followed my father’s advice and it turned out was completely the wrong thing for me to do you know, so it happens, but you happen to be in the right place and then no sooner you are in the job, then then the company goes from 250 to four employees. I mean, that must have been quite a shock for you. And so how did you how did you rationalize it or crystallize this? I don’t call it a traumatic event. Really? Was it a big disappointment? How do you feel about it?

It was It wasn’t a just an adjustment for me to get used to a new reality but then it turned into well, what do I do? What I mean I so So the job of running this family office was at best a part time job, right when there’s a commitment required. So what could I what what I like to do instead and I embarked on a variety of different things, and I have different diplomas on my wall that can attest to it. And my wife always jokes that I have more letters after my name that in my name, and that’s because I was searching and so so I went and I did a master’s degree at a law school in the states and intellectual property because we had some patented product so I was interested in that. And then later I said, Well, geez, I’m managing financial assets. I had some friends who had just done the CFA Program, chartered financial analyst. And so I said, Hey, I’ll do that. And I went, and I did that and people who’ve done that, designation all looked at me like I was nuts. You’re doing that just so you can manage your own family assets. You’ve got to be crazy, but I gotta tell you when I have my annual family meetings now with my sisters and my mother and we talk about the investment results and things like that, that CFA diploma on my wall kind of supports the fact that But why were you chosen to be the one who takes care of this right I mean, like, it’s not like I just did what I have the bare minimum of what changed for me so I managed to find different areas where I thought I could do something that that I could do well, but again, I never found the passion until I discovered this world of working with families. And now I meet people and families that have similar situations here as the parent or the parents and they have some wealth, they might still have an operating business. They have kids who are growing up and they’re trying to figure out how to fit all these pieces together. And it really requires a lot of conversations between the generations. But I can tell you that those conversations around important things like career and money and self worth. They don’t just happen automatically in families and so they require some intention. They often require a little bit of help and some work from an independent outsider who can help bridge some of those gaps. A lot of people here in this space about it’s important to have a family meeting. So my dad joined an organization back in the 80s when we still had an operating company and they said you got to have a family meeting. So guess what he did? 1985. We went up north into the mountains. And we had this family meeting for a weekend. I don’t remember much except the fact that it was 95% of the information came from my dad and was downloaded onto his children and his wife and its future son in law who was there and we not in our heads and said okay, and then we did not have another family meeting until 2006. So that 21 years later, my father decided it was time for another family meeting, but that was you know, that was because he had just been diagnosed with cancer and says, Oh my god, now I need to convene my family now what, how might things have been different if we had had a family meeting every year, right and putting to talk about how things were evolving, including the sale of the biggest assets that the family owned, which was the business right? So that’s where it’s easy to understand what what could be done, what shouldn’t be done? But then to go and do it on your own is a whole other there’s there’s a huge step to be taken and that’s where people like you and I the people are just discovering that there are people who help families with these kinds of discussions and these evolutions of where they are.

Precisely precisely. I couldn’t have put it better myself. You know, I mean, it’s a it’s a key theme, okay, in the theme of communication, right? amongst family members and other stakeholders, but let’s let’s stick with that for the moment. And you know, and I know a that it’s essential and be that most of us don’t do it terribly well. You know, and almost everybody that has, this has been on this program with me, reinforces how important good quality regular transparent, honest communication is, in order for everybody in the family to move forward together and to then move into subsequent generations as smoothly as possible. And you’re absolutely right. That’s where, you know, people like you and I come in and we, we asked the questions, you know, and and hopefully we get we get our clients to move forward a little bit and touch he realized the value of doing this. So yeah, so absolutely. So, okay, so you they were, you know, you had the remnants of a family business, and then you developed a family office. Now, you alluded to this earlier, you said, Well, you know, most people don’t know what a family office is so that we can, we can talk about what it is so that everyone’s clear. We’re all on the same page when we when we use that expression to describe it.

So my favorite expression about family offices is if you’ve seen one family office, you’ve seen one family. There are no two the same nor should there be any to the same because there are no two families that are the same. So a family office is a structure that is put into place to take care of the assets of a family. That’s the simplest definition. Now, the people who work in that structure could be family members, they could be outsiders, they could be some of each. There could be there’s more and more, quote unquote, virtual family offices that just really a lot of the stuff is outsourced, but it’s a place to keep everything together. Now once everything there are financial assets, there are real estate assets that can be there. There could be operating businesses, and there’s everything that goes with that. So the ownership of all these things could involve trusts which involve lawyers, there could be holding companies, there could be a foundation there could be all sorts of philanthropy, but it’s it’s the concept of organizing everything together so that nothing falls through the cracks and that everyone can be aware of, of everything that is on the table that the family votes, and you know, up to, you know, billionaire families that have 30 people working in an office in New York or in Singapore, managing everything from hiring the maids for that third house to making sure that there’s a pilot for the plane and that the lease of the plane is taken care of, to someone to walk the dog or it could be honest. On the other end, it’s someone that makes sure that all the family members tax returns are paid, and often maybe takes care of their bills and hires their gardener and it’s everything in between.

Right. Yeah, I mean a huge diverse, diverse range, isn’t it of activities that family offices undertake and and as you know, again, as we both know, as the family gets larger and larger, the need for a family office becomes greater and greater, it becomes way too complex. For you know, a small handful of people sitting around a table to be able to handle and run the business at the same time. You know, and so yeah, so thanks for that. Okay, while I’m asking you about definitions, he has a second one. What’s the distinction between succession planning and college continuity planning, because we have a chat about this before we started recording?

Yeah, it’s a distinction that might not have a huge difference, but I think it reflects the evolution of the vocabulary in this space. So I talked mentioned earlier that this is a relatively new area. And I think as people in different parts of the world talk about it, we are learning a better ways to use terminology that that’s more positive and better reflects the reality so I still get a kick out of reminding my kids that when I was young in the 70s, I would, they would, they would give us stuff at school to go and raise money for a cause. And I remember going around and trying to collect money for the Crippled Children. Now it’s 2021 we wouldn’t use that terminology anyway. So the terminology evolved from crippled to handicap to disabled and I’m not even sure what the proper term is. But succession planning has a connotation especially for the senior generation but now generation that are in place, that it’s okay. What are we going to do after you’re gone? And it makes gives the perception that we’re talking about well after you’re gone, which for the person who’s there the incumbent, they don’t want to meet that step. So by reframing it and talking about continuity planning, it just lends itself more to what are the things that are going to stay the same, as opposed to what’s going to be different that so what are the things that we will continue to do into the future? And so it’s a softer way of presenting the subject to the older generation who also don’t like to be called the older generation, right, right. So the terminology around are they the senior generation, the leading generation, that now Gen and the next gen, but then we also had the discussion about you call it the next gen and for the last five years or so, I’ve been seeing a lot more discussion about the rising generation, as opposed to the next generation, because it’s almost like it’s the opposite effect there where it’s the next they’re always the next they’re never gonna get their turn. And the succession is, well, I don’t want to leave but the rising is there. It’s an evolution, they’re moving towards something. Because if you look at your next generation, when the kids are 1012, and 14, well, five years from now, those kids are you know, 1517 or 20, and it looks a lot different and it’s, it’s it’s something that like I said, I love the word evolution, and this evolves over time. So you need to continue to be having regular communication with all the stakeholders over time and understanding where everyone is because that you talk about today, when you’re talking about them in five years. The fact that you talked about it five years ago, and four years ago, and three years ago, people have had a chance to digest and get ready for it and they’re ready to contribute. Whereas if you kept them in the dark for five years, and now you throw a topic on the table, they’re not ready to move on it because they haven’t had time to adjust. They haven’t had time to, to evolve their thinking towards where the family is trying to go together.

Exactly. Isn’t that interesting how the importance of words and the impact that it has on the whole communication picture, and therefore the impact it has on behavior. So So you know, as you say, succession continuity. Let’s take that as one example. And succession implies the ending of one and the beginning of a new order, if you like, and succession the whole idea of coming to the end of your, let’s say, career working life role, whatever it may be, is kind of scary. And then a lot of people including family, business owners, or family enterprise owners, some more terminology. A lot of people are scared of thinking about facing that. And that often leads to delays in planning for it, which then has all kinds of subsequent complications as a result.

It is scary. I can tell you so I mentioned you know, my dad, by the time he sold his business already had a farm that he loved to go to. And so he his transition from a business owner to a gentleman farmer was it was all it was quite seamless. My father in law. On the other hand, I still remember we went up to a family. It was a big family party for his 70th birthday, which coincided with him having negotiated the sale of his business, and he went up to give his after dinner speech to thank everyone for coming there and it almost felt like we were at a funeral because he felt he was now realizing that he had sold his business and he wasn’t sure what lay ahead for him. Right. Tell you that for him. Those next few years of waking up and say well, what am I going to do? Well, I guess I’ll drive into town and have breakfast with my buddy. So then after breakfast, unless it was golf season. What was the rest of it? So he did not. So for many people, the generation that built something that hasn’t prepared something for later becomes the biggest stumbling block towards being able to let go. And the younger the rising generation will always be frustrated by the fact that it’s like there’s somebody on the escalator ahead of you. And when they get to the top and you think they should step off they keep stepping backwards and they don’t want to leave and now you know you’re gonna crash into them. But nothing you can do unless you help them identify something they can go towards, as opposed to pushing them away from where they are now, which is absolutely easier said than done. Of course. But it’s an important part of the evolution and the next step.

Yeah, exactly. And that’s why it’s so important for families to think of this as an evolution. That’s the first thing, get the communication going clear. It’s not a big surprise, you know when it does happen, but also please let’s remember that the preceding generation has a lot to offer as well. And and you know, when we want them involved, we want their guidance and advice. I mean, many family companies I’ll come across, you know, they’ll stay on as non executives in some capacity as advisors and so, you know, they avoid this kind of feeling of falling off a cliff. And that, again, makes a transition that much more palatable, I should imagine is that your experience as well? Absolutely.

I mean, there are all kinds of potential roles that they can play. And the biggest part hopefully is if they realize they can go from being the one who’s running things to the one who’s coaching the people who are following there’s Ambassador type roles of still you know, going and meeting important suppliers and important customers and staying in touch and talking about the fact that they’re really happy with how their offspring are now running the business. There’s there’s being the Tinker and continuing to come up with with ideas for the family. There’s all kinds of different things. A lot of a lot of exiting patriarchs move towards more of a philanthropic goal and just start a foundation or join some nonprofit board. There are all kinds of things, all kinds of places where the experience of that person that they gained through all those years can be repurposed and hopefully they can find areas that want you know, make them want to go and do something when they get up in the morning. That’s that’s the hardest part is finding that but it warrants a lot of exploration and a lot of looking and a lot of questioning. And there are a lot there’s a whole new field now of Exit Planning. Where where people who are coaches work on people for for these, this next chapter of their lives.

Right. Right. Absolutely. Yeah, it’s an area certainly I think because I agree that has been sorely neglected in the past and that’s, that’s unfortunate, but we’re addressing it, you know,

demographics, the demographics that we are facing with the aging of the baby boomers, it’s become more important than ever, fully different areas in different industries and different professions have been sparking up around it. And so far from what I’ve heard about these kinds of professionals evolving it’s it’s been nothing but a plus for everybody.

Yeah, absolutely. Everybody wins. Exactly. Okay, so I want to pivot a little bit now, Steve, because you were successful. Okay, in your father’s family business. And it was it was a foregone conclusion, as we’ve already discussed, but let’s suppose now you’re in in the in the position you’re in at the moment. So you’re a failure of your own your own family office, right, but how would you what criteria if you like, would you apply when, when thinking about about appointing the person who’s going to succeed you? Yeah, what what would you be looking for?

So I love your question, but I’m going to pivoted away from my personal experience, because I’d rather talk about the kinds of families and companies that I’m working with where there is, there’s a generation that’s still running things and still planning to run them for a while, and yet they have a number of I will use the word again, offspring because I don’t like the word children, because children when they’re five years old is okay, when they’re 25. That’s not so good anymore. And when they’re 45, to call them your children. I really don’t like questionable term that that outlived its usefulness. So I prefer offspring. So for people who are running a business and have various offspring that are either entering or have been there for a while, and they’re all trying to figure out their place. It’s really important to first of all, make it an evolution don’t don’t just have someone come in and make them the president on the first day that I mean, that’s something you should avoid. Making sure it’s something that they want to. There are too many people that get drafted into service the like I did, I think there’s less than less these days. It seems to be that going to work for the family business and for many people is is not seen as individualistic enough. It doesn’t let people develop as them and I understand that. The other thing is, don’t fast forward them into the business and so a lot of families are creating rules of entry into so the idea of well after you graduate from school, you will go and get a job somewhere for two or three or five years and once you have worked somewhere else and proven that you are good and gotten a promotion and manage people or whatever kind of check marks you want them to hit and then once you have achieved that, then you are welcome to come and apply for a job in the business as to that’s where you’re gonna end up because too many businesses end up as like the welfare state for the family where, you know, oh, graduated from school, I don’t want to go to school anymore and you have a job for me at the business. And some of those situations work out fantastic. But there are more that work out to where somebody is collecting a salary and doing a substandard job, and that demoralizes all of the other people who work there, including all the non family members, who quickly see that oh my god if this person is going to eventually be my boss. I’m gonna go find a job somewhere else because I like this company now. But there’s no future if this is the direction it’s going. And that’s something that too many families do where they have that unintended consequence, that they don’t realize it until it’s too late.

Right? Right. So so it’s get out there. earn your stripes. Make sure it’s something you want to do. Show us or demonstrate that it is something you can do. And then come and talk talk to us about a job. In other words, you’ve got to earn your place.

And that’s, that’s an important part for any individual member of the family offspring. The more the trickier part is when you talk about and think about a sibling group and how they are going to interact together.

How it’s going to come to that exam.

I knew you were going there. So I want to I happen to have two clients right now. I I like to typically work at that a higher end of wealth where, you know, the companies have a lot more assets, but I’ve been recently working through a government program here that is trying to help smaller businesses with their succession. And I have these two young women in their 20s who are just starting to work in their parents business. And it’s so fascinating to hear them tell the stories about how they need to work with their siblings. So one of them it’s their sister and and the sisters husband and then the other one it’s the brother and the sister and my coaching with them is all around their relationships with their siblings. It’s all about I try to help them clarify those relationships so that they can demonstrate to their parents that not only are they able to perform their role that they’ve been assigned within the business, but that they can do it in a cohesive way with their siblings, and so their siblings are all equal in terms of the fact that they’re siblings and they might own the exact same percentage of the business and each other but they have roles that place them in some sort of a hierarchy. And I happen to be working with the ones who are at the top of the hierarchy with visa vie their siblings, and so my coaching with them is all around. How can you lead your siblings without being in a one up one down position with it’s so the idea of the founder starts the business. It’s one person making most of the decisions and then in the next generation. Now, it’s typically not always but typically a group of people and so they have to learn how to make democratic decision. The analogy I like is that it’s from going like an individual sport. So that is a golfer, a tennis player, but now when you get to the next generation, well now that’s a basketball team. They got to learn to pass the ball to each other. Just because you have one great player, it’s how are they going to interact together? And that we were talking earlier about, you know, takes time and takes intention and take someone from the outside to help everyone have their piece and say their story to understand how to have their communication evolve in productive ways. So that everyone has a chance to be heard. And everyone has their everyone has a voice even if they don’t have a vote. Right? Right. That takes time to instill that kind of a structure within a sibling group who just grew up together and sat around the kitchen table. They didn’t really have a structure now because they’re in a work environment where there are other stakeholders and other employees and customers. They need to be a little bit more rigorous in terms of how they establish how they’re going to communicate with each other. And those things take time. You don’t just walk in one day and say okay, here’s the rules, and now everyone understands them. And it’s supporting. There’s a there’s a getting used to and an evolution to all of

us. There’s a process and there’s, you know, alignment. Also is is about in my experience, I think you’ll probably agree. It certainly also about identifying where your place is if you like in that team structure and feeling feeling confident and comfortable there and releasing if you like the attachment to the hierarchy, although it’s very, it’s not easy to do. And, uh, you know, adopting an attitude of, well, you know, I am playing this part of this team, you know, and it’s not about who’s who’s a team captain or who isn’t. It’s about the fact that we are working in unity in alignment. And then that’s that’s where the magic happens. Steve, I think,

yeah, I had a group of siblings I was working with a few years ago and we worked through a textbook I had found a book called I’m looking over here to see what the exact title family wealth continuity, okay, like my David Lansky, and I was working with this group of siblings. They were in late 20s, early 30s. Three of them worked in the business one didn’t, and I would meet with them and we would basically, I’d assign a chapter and then we come together and say, so what did you get out of this chapter and I was so happy with one time I asked them each to come with a quote from the chapter that that spoke to them. And there’s a quote in there of the strength of the path is in the wolf. And the strength of the wolf is in the pack. And it was it’s so nicely encapsulated. That whole we are stronger together and I am stronger because of all of you and to hear one of my clients were my, my whole purpose of working with them was to get them to learn how to work together. Right? And so to have them give me that quote of them understanding that about themselves was like yes, okay. Yes, they get that so the fact that they got that and their parents could see that through working with me they were able to demonstrate and practice working together and practice doing things in a you know, in a constructive way, with sort of nobody being the boss of the others. We had, we had family council meetings where we rotated each of the four children was the chair and then another one was the secretary and the next meeting two months later, the one who was the Secretary was the chair and went around and the parents all they had to do was come to the meeting and watch their siblings do this now. What do you think when it came time to you know, make the decision to transition? Wow, they saw that their kids were able to work together and do things now. You know, you talk about people not wanting to let go the baton Well, if you know that the people coming behind you that that rising generation is in fact rising to the challenge, then it’s so much easier for them to let go with a baton, knowing that they’re leaving it in good hands.

Very true. Very, very true. Yeah, absolutely. It’s a skill that I I try and I try and work with with clients on as well. It’s because it it is it is I like your idea of getting a quote from a chapter I think, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna I’m gonna borrow that. It’s great. So unfortunately, time is against us, Stephen. I think we’re gonna have to start bringing this to a close but you know, you shared some really powerful messages from from both your personal experience and your experience with with clients and the work that you’ve done with me if I can share with you what what really resonated was the deep importance of the relationships that get to be built for a successful transition. cannot be underestimated. That’s the first thing and the second thing is that they can only this can only happen with the kind of level of communication on a regular basis and and and the acceptance of the fact that siblings need to work together. And, you know, the old man or whatever can feel comfortable stepping down and he or she doesn’t feel that it’s the end of it’s the end of the line for them. You know, they’re still contributing. It’s such a wonderful vision, I think for the family as a whole. For all generations involved. It’s so satisfying when you see it, sorry. It’s just so satisfying when you see it happen with your clients,

isn’t it? And I want I wanted to share that when I first got into this business working with families. My mind was focused on finding family groups with with whom I would work. So I my expectation was I was looking for areas where I could work with all the family members, and I did a lot of that and it was often meetings with the group, followed by one on one meetings in between and then meetings with the group and then doing that. And what I’ve stumbled into in the last few years is because of family is a system and I did a lot of work in the area of family systems theory. A system means all the parts are interdependent, and what I’ve discovered and I’m really happy that I have because it’s it’s it’s a lot less of a big step. Like it’s a big step for a whole family to agree to hire a guy like you or me. You have to get everyone on board and if any one person that’s shaking their head and not nodding it, it’s probably not going to work correct but by working with one person, if you can help one person in how they look at and how they communicate and how they conduct their relationship with all their other family members. You are in fact changing the system as one person changes because all the other people relate with them. One person can change the system. Now the trick there is that you can’t just show up to one meeting and say one thing and expect everything to change because there’s resistance in all those other people to those changes you’re trying to. And so coaching someone who is involved in those relationships is all about them then coming back to me their coach and saying so how did that go when you said something in that meeting and how might you repeat it the next time differently? How might you reinforce it, how might you modify it? What reactions should you be looking for and what reactions can you anticipate that hopefully you can hit back over the net right away to help them maintain new and stronger postures within their family relationships to help the entire family to evolve to a better, more cohesive, more harmonious relationship? That is, that is what I’m starting to discover is a lot more powerful than I ever could have imagined. And I love every time I get off a coaching call with an individual like that. And I can see that they feel empowered to go back to that next family meeting with a stronger backbone to face those people. That’s where I know that I’m delivering value not only to that person, but to their whole family

to the whole fan. Absolutely. Right. I mean, your story kind of reminded me of a particular client of mine who exactly the same situation he felt almost intimidated really the fact the business was run by his parents. And although he was he was very capable, very enthusiastic, very willing and experienced in the business by then. He felt that he simply couldn’t stand up to up to the you know, the influence his parents had and and so coaching him, I mean, got him. I mean, he’s now leading the business. But it’s another case in point of what you just described. So, so thanks for sharing that. Now. Before we wind up. Steve, there is one other thing and that’s around a free gift. I understand that you are generously offering our audience a free gift perhaps you could share some details with them.

Well, so I often the kind of relationships that I get involved in as a coach. They rarely materialize after you know an exchange or emails or a 10 minute phone call. They do involve taking some time to make sure that that the connection is good and the chemistry is good. And I know there are people that say, Well, you shouldn’t give away your time for free. Your time is valuable. I’m willing for people who reach out not only to give a one hour free getting to know you but because really there’s really a two step evolution here. There’s a getting to know each other and then there’s a let’s have a coaching session. So what I prepared to offer anyone who sees this and wants to get a hold of me just set up a one hour call for us just to chat. And at the end of that we can set up for like two weeks later or a week later, a one hour coaching session where I will work with you as a coach and you can experience that for free. And then if we decide to work together, we’ll figure out how that’s going to work. And the beauty of this pandemic was everyone has now learned to work over zoom. And I’ve worked with clients in Asia and Europe and North America and it’s almost like I’m right across the table from

absolutely what a great author how generous of you Steve, thank you for sharing that with the audience is wonderful, wonderful. So how do they contact you? What’s the best way?

So the best way is my website, which my name is Steve Legler and my website is Steve legler.com. And if you’re listening to this and not being able to see it or write it down it’s it’s it’s, I have the benefit of a a easy name to spell. There’s only one vowel it’s an E and it repeats four times and it’s le G le AR et Cie. And it’s not a common name. So if you Google Steve Legler you’ll usually hit me and you’ll end up on my website and you can please hit me up on LinkedIn and please I have a lot of LinkedIn connections. For this industry. I have a lot of people who work in this and they often have clients that they’re concerned about but aren’t sure how to how to guide them and as and often a one on one coaching relationship for someone in the rising generation. I wish I had someone Oh yeah. When I when I was in my 20s getting ready to go into my dad’s business really could have benefited from having someone with a little bit of gray hair and some more experienced just to help reframe, thinking partner and accountability partner that that’s what a coach is talking about. industries that have evolved over the years family business but the coaching industry has really kicked it up in the last 10 years. And And rightly so, because, you know, people don’t want to go see a therapist or things unless they have serious problems, but they often need someone that they can talk to who is there for them to be with them. And help them talk through and reframe their sins way Exactly.

And move forward and and challenge the you know, preconceived notions, that kind of thing as well. And that’s very, a very difficult thing to do on your own. So there’s so all that remains is for me to say thank you again, Steve for sharing your valuable time with me and the audience. And and the and the huge amount of value that you’ve added in our time together short though was so thank you and I hope that we get another opportunity to do something like this in the distant future.

I really enjoyed it. And when when we spoke yesterday, you told me some of the other people you were having on as guests and I gotta tell you, I’m looking forward to viewing those sessions as well. Because there’s a lot of people that I know and there’s other people who I know by reputation but I haven’t met that I look forward to having the opportunity that but listen to an intimate conversation with with you who who get it as well. This it’s so much more enriching to have a conversation with someone who’s in the same space, the right audio, the questions and the evolution of the question is so much richer. So thank you for doing this because it really, it is going to give a lot of people a lot of insights from a bunch of different experts from around the world. And that has a lot of value in another cell. Thank

you. Absolutely. My pleasure. Thank you, Steve.

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