There Are Different Ways to Take a New Look

LinkedIn is head and shoulders above all other social platforms for professionals, and I’ve found plenty of great content there over the years, not to mention the wonderful connections I’ve been able to make and nurture there.

This week’s post was prompted by something I saw there recently, and even though the majority of my network on LnkdN is connected to the world of family wealth transitions, this particular piece came from a local colleague whose professional life is very much elsewhere.

This friend had recently experienced a sudden and unexpected career disruption, after which he took some time away to think about how he wanted to come back fresh for a restart.

I was so pleased to see that he shared a quote from Leonardo DaVinci on the experience of stepping back and taking a fresh look at his life and career thanks to this experience, and I know that I can use it as fodder for some ways to look at my work with families.

Back to Some Translation Issues

Setting out to write about this topic this week, I hadn’t realized that I was going to once again run into an issue around translation, which is something we looked at last week.

See: On Coaching, Parenting, and Sub-Optimal Translations

But because the LinkedIn post in question was in French, I’m writing this in English, and I’m pretty sure the original quote from DaVinci was in Italian, I’ll need to take a bit of editorial licence here.

(Despite some attempts via Google, I wasn’t able to locate a direct English translation.)

Here’s my quick version of what he posted:

“Take a step back, and the problem looks smaller. And in one glance you’ll have a better view of the full picture, and a lack of harmony or proportion will be easier to see”   – Leonardo DaVinci.

Planning to Transition your Family Wealth

This is the point where I now switch from the inspiration for the post to the message for families whose main challenge is transitioning their wealth from the current generation to the next.

These families have many potential resources available to support and guide them on this journey, yet the hard work cannot be farmed out to outside professionals.

The idea of stepping back and looking at the problem differently is definitely something we can suggest as a worthwhile action.

Because I also understand the context of my colleague’s recent challenge, I also know that his “step back” was not just a simple one.

I know for a fact that he included both time and space in his reflection.

Time Away to Clear your Head

His efforts involved taking several weeks off and travelling across an ocean.  He was also able to spend a good deal of family time with those most important to him, and get his mind away from what had been his usual work grind.

Many family leaders employ similar methods, such as getting away and taking longer and longer vacations (and weekends) over their final years of working in their business, to allow those on their way up more opportunities to take on leadership roles.

That works well in many cases and isn’t anything new, but I’m talking about more than that here.

Clearing your head completely and beginning to think about “working ON the business” as opposed to “working IN the business” is a bigger step.

Being able to see the picture more fully, including where there’s a “lack of harmony” can take a bit longer and require more effort.

Add an Outsider to the System

In many ways what I’m getting at is that this requires a fresh perspective, which can really only occur after some kind of a break, either in time or space.

Getting away from being in the middle of something is needed to be able to look at things from the outside.

Having someone along who is also an outsider to the system can also be useful, because they will automatically have a different viewpoint, as well as way less “baggage”.

When you’re constantly surrounded by the same people who all look at things the same way, you can get caught in the tough space of “group think”.

Getting away in both time and space, and bringing in a coach who is there for you on your journey, are great ways to make a fresh start.