When you make a mistake and it costs you, the worst thing that you can do, in my opinion, is to fail to learn from it. If you can learn from it, and even help others learn, the cost can become well worth it.

This week I made such a mistake, and it cost me a bit of money, and a LOT of time to clean up. And while the end result is not perfect, it has some added benefits that make up for its shortcomings.

This week I will try to give you a quick “Reader’s Digest” version of the events, and next week I will cover the lessons learned.

I have been working with a Hotmail account since before Microsoft bought them, literally in the last century.

Nowadays you can use their Outlook service with any email address using an “alias”, and I wanted to make my sl@stevelegler.com address the primary one, but I went one click too far, and accidentally deleted my old Hotmail address.

“Ooops! I better put it back”. But it was not possible to do so online. Aaaargh. After a few hours on Monday evening, I gave up and went to bed, figuring I would try to call and speak to someone the next morning.

I could send emails out, but I couldn’t receive any. A few years ago, this would not have bothered me, because when you run a family office, you usually don’t want to be found. But now, as a family business advisor, building a client list, this was a problem.

At about 4 AM, I woke up and could not get back to sleep. Was it because I was “off the grid”? Or was it because I was trying to figure out how I was gonna get back on the grid?

On their customer support website, it is nearly impossible to find a phone number, because it costs them a lot of money to help you that way. They prefer to minimize those interactions, but I was hell bent on calling someone, because I was hoping that they could revive my old email address, and that was the simplest solution.

So I googled “hotmail support phone number” and just like that, I came upon an answer with a toll-free number. I called, and “Jessica” told me this was a “paid support” line.

Now I had a live person, and I just “knew” that my problem only required a quick fix, so how much could that cost, I wondered. But I had that live person and did not want to let go, so I said OK.

Half an hour later, she was finally at the point where she understood my problem almost as well as I did. Another 20 minutes or so later, her tech friend, to whom I could hear her speaking in another language, had supplied me with a new hotmail address, which I could have done on my own, had I concluded that this was my best choice.

Oh well, we are almost done, so I let them finish up. Another 10 minutes with “Harry” to give him my Visa number to cover the $149.99 to pay their company, not Microsoft, but some randomname-noname.com service company.

I felt like I had been had, but at least I had something workable, and they did spend time helping me, and I had agreed to pay.

But my fun was just beginning, as I now had a new Hotmail account that could receive and send emails. However, my other account, where I had all my contacts and dozens of folders of saved emails, could only send emails.

I still needed to somehow “fuse” them together.

So do I call them back, or try another solution?

Hint:
Next week: How Microsoft saved the day, and how I learned that you don’t need to actually speak to someone to get things done.

Last week I came across a Tweet about how sitting can kill you, complete with all sorts of stats that made me think about my own habits and how sedentary they are.

A news report then followed, touting the benefits of treadmill desks that some companies have installed for workers, that has them walk slowly but for long periods of time, with great results.

In an effort to see if something like this was actually doable for me, I looked for a way to try this out with the treadmill that I already have at my office. So it was off to IKEA.

I purchased a small table that attaches to a wall, and brought it to my office. My 13-year-old daughter has assembled lots of her own IKEA stuff, and she offered to come to my office and do most of the work. What follows is our separate accounts of the experience.

His version:

What can you expect from an eighth-grader? Well, when she is MY daughter, I expect quite a bit. And she rarely disappoints, and she did not disappoint this time either.

She assembled the pieces perfectly with no instructions or supervision from me. So now it was time for me to get involved because it was time to attach it to the wall. It was also time for things to begin to go downhill.

“Oh, so those screws don’t come with it?” I asked. “No, I guess we need to go to the hardware store”. Off we went. But first I checked to see that I did have the plastic shields to put into the gyproc to make sure the screws would hold well. Check.

So we get there and I locate some good strong screws, ignoring the packs of screws that come with shields, since I already had those. Let’s go put in these 6 screws and our work will be done.

Except that the big screws did not fit with the shields I had installed, so we had to start over, with four big holes in the wall. We hit another patch of frustration due to one of my screw-ups, the details of which I no longer recall, resulting in more holes.

Long story short, we finally got the wall-mounted table attached, after more sweat (no tears or blood!) and a few muffled bad words.

She gets a 9/10, I don’t know if I deserve a 5/10.

Her version:

My father bought an IKEA desk, and seeing as I’m the IKEA expert of the family, I offered to go to his office and help him build it and hang it up.

When we got to his office, I decided to start off the building of the desk. I’d dealt with IKEA furniture before, so I completed it with ease, but it still needed to be mounted. The treadmill then needed to be turned 90° so that the desk could over-hang properly.

We realized that the screws required to hang the desk were not included in the box, so we were off to the hardware store!

We got big sturdy ones that could support the weight of the fixture. We came back and put in shields, but they didn’t go in properly, but we still tried to hang the desk and failed miserably. So we took them out, and moved it an inch to the right, and tried again. One of the shields broke, another one went straight through the wall.

At this point, I thought we were pretty much screwed. But then, we tried one last time, and we went a bit upward and took our time. It worked!

The desk is now hanging more or less properly over the treadmill (I’d give us an 8/10). I had an over-all great day with my dad, and I’m looking forward to having some feedback from my father about his brand-new treadmill desk.

This past week our family was at the cottage, where we do not have all the comforts of home (although we are far from roughing it!)

I was washing the dishes after supper one night, and I had a flashback to my childhood, making me realize how much things had changed in just one generation. I started out thinking about doing dishes, but then thought about all kinds of other family issues too.

When I was a kid, we were the last family on our street to get a colour TV. I remember that we were lobbying our parents for that colour TV, but my mother wanted a dishwasher.

I don’t actually remember if we ended up getting the TV or the dishwasher first, but I do clearly remember the fights I had with my sisters over whose turn it was to dry the dishes each night.

All sorts of memories came back, about my Dad forcing us to create a calendar to keep track of whose turn it was; complaining that there were more dishes on the nights when it was my turn; thinking that maybe if I “accidentally” broke some plates, I might “get fired”.

So here I am at the cottage, washing the dishes by myself, and I never even asked my able-bodied teenagers to join me. Was I just sacrificing myself , so they could enjoy the last few days of their summer vacation, or was I trying to avoid the whining that would surely result in my asking for help?

After I had washed them all, they were drying in the rack, so I just left them there overnight, and put them away the next morning. This made me wonder why I was forced to dry dishes 40 years ago in the first place; did we not have the patience to let nature take its course and let them dry themselves? In retrospect, it seems like there was a lot of fussing over nothing.

But of course the real question that arises is whether we are we spoiling our kids by not making them help out more, or is this just the way people raise their kids these days, or both?

And what about that “colour TV” we wanted, not many families are having that discusssion nowadays, as TVs are becoming passé, with such a variety of screens all over the house.

I remember watching the old Spiderman cartoons with my young son a decade ago, where episodes featured the words “In Colour!” and I had to explain to him that back then, everything used to be in black and white.

We have come a long way with technology, and few would argue that so many of the changes have been positive.

What about the family, and not raising the kids to help out? I am not sure if that is such a good thing. We want our kids to become independent, but we don’t always help them by doing so much for them.

In wealthier families, this can be even more of an issue, as the kids can begin to think that household tasks like mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, and keeping the house clean are somehow beneath them, as they are all things we pay “others” to do.

Back to me doing the dishes that night, at least my kids were not thinking, “Wow, Dad is doing the dishes!” as if it was something that should automatically be Mom’s job. That is one thing that has definitely changed since my father’s generation.

Somehow, though, I am pretty sure my son is hoping he will end up finding someone like his grandmother, who did view that as part of the woman’s role. But they don’t make them like her anymore, do they?

We all get stuck sometimes. We can be in a groove one day, and then suddenly find ourselves in a rut the next. It isn’t necessarily important to figure out what happened, but it is important to figure out what to do next. It isn’t what happens to us that matters, it’s what we do about it.

I am currently in the middle of nowhere, at our family cottage in New Brunswick. We got here a week ago, and we will be here for another week, and then we head back home and the kids start school, and everything returns to “normal”.

I don’t know what it is about this place, but everything just seems more calm and peaceful here. I came here by myself in January to get my book started, and I think that that was when I noticed how different everything feels here.

When I was doing the CTI Coaches training, I remember being sceptical when I first heard the term “geography”, and the concept that where you are, and even what position your body is in, can make such a big difference. But I can now say that I am a firm believer.

The best thing is that you do not have to drive 9 hours to my cottage to enjoy the benefits that Geography can give you. You could simply walk out the door and walk to the nearest park bench, or the local Starbucks. Or head to the airport and fly down south to sit on a beach, if you like.

The point is, where you are matters. It changes how you see things, how you think about things, how you feel, how you relate to others, and how you think about the future. When you bring along others you will learn things about them, and when you go alone, you will learn about yourself.

If your family is important to you, it makes sense to carefully consider where you get together. If you work in a family business, you probably have already experienced the fact that some people are better at separating “home” and “work” than others. When I started working fulltime for my Dad, I was still living at home, but within less than a year I couldn’t take it anymore and had to move out.

A family retreat is something that some business families try to incorporate into their schedules, as an opportunity to get everyone together, but in a different place, because they realize that “where” matters. The parents’ home is their place and their turf, even if you grew up there. The office is a place of work, and some of the stuff that needs to be discussed is not work related (even if it is some of the hardest work!).

Most families try to choose a resort location, and they try to make sure they have a variety of activities on the schedule, as well as lots of free unscheduled time, to allow people and smaller groups to interact as they please.

Whether your family is ready for this type of bonding activity or not is another question of course, but it will only happen when somebody decides that it is something worthwhile. And then it has to be followed up and repeated in the future in order to get some momentum.

Regardless of whether there are any family retreats in your future, I hope you will try out the geography theory that I am talking about. Notice how things look and feel different depending on where you are. And then when you get stuck, you will be able to try moving to a different space to change your perspective and get back on track.

Plus tôt cette semaine, nous avons fait faire des travaux dans notre cour arrière par un paysagiste, avec qui nous faisons affaire depuis plus d’une dizaine d’années.

Après le départ des ouvriers, j’ai regardé les arbustes qu’ils venaient de planter, et pour un instant ou deux, j’étais un peu déçu par la petite taille de celles-ci.

Mais avec un peu de réflection, je me suis mis à sourire, en pensant que l’important soit fait: leur plantation. Pour le reste, il ne fallait que de la patience.

C’est important de faire preuve de patience dans plusieurs domaines, et aussi d’adopter une attitude positive, tout en développant notre capacité pour la gratification différée.

Mais la patience, l’attitude, et nos capacités d’attendre des récompenses ne sont pas suffisantes dans la plupart des cas.

Tout comme le paysagiste, qui avait fait le travail (et qui j’ai payé pour le faire), de planter ces nouvelles plantes, il est important de ne pas négliger qu’un certain effort est souvent nécessaire avant de pouvoir attendre patiemment.

Dans une famille en affaires, les parents qui font simplement attendre que leur enfant soit assez vieux pour venir travailler dans la compagnie, sans avoir pris le temps de l’éduquer et de lui préparer, seront sans doute déçus.

De l’autre côté de cette même médaille, le jeune qui s’attend à avoir un emploi, simplement parce qu’il fait partie de la famille, sans faire l’effort pour se faire éduquer et de se préparer pour ses fonctions, risque aussi la déception.

Quand viendra le temps de penser aux questions de succession de la compagnie, et/ou au transfert de l’entreprise à la futur génération, le travail de préparation devient encore plus important que la simple patience.

Si nous voulons une belle haie mature dans cinq ans, c’est aujourd’hui qu’il faut y penser. Ce n’est pas simplement en continuant dans les mêmes fonctions que nous allons éventuellement avoir développé les capacités de leadership et les structures de communications qu’il faudra.

Trop souvent la famille concentre ses efforts sur le côté de la “business” en croyant que toutes les questions du côté “famille” se règleront toutes seules. Ou, ils se disent qu’ils auront le temps d’y penser “plus tard”.

Si vous lisez ces lignes et vous reconnaissez des membres de votre famille, dites-vous que vous êtes loin d’être tout seul.

Mais dites-vous aussi que la patience ne règlera probablement pas la situation toute seule. Vous ne voyez peut-être pas les efforts que vous pouvez mettre immédiatement, mais laissez-moi vous donner quelques indices.

Pour moi le mot le plus important dans l’expression “entreprise familiale”, ce n’est pas “entreprise”, mais plutôt “familiale”. Quand on parle de famille, c’est parce que ce n’est pas simplement une personne, mais plusieurs.

“Ah oui,” je vous entend déjà, “mais chez nous, il y a vraiment seulement une personne qui prend toutes les décisions”.

Mais cette personne, (plus souvent qu’autrement c’est Papa), ne sera pas toujours là, et la famille a l’obligation de se préparer pour l’avenir. Oui, ça prend un effort, mais sans effort, la patience ne suffira pas.

Plusieurs personnes ça veut aussi dire plusieurs liens, et les liens peuvent devenir plus forts et plus serrés avec plus de communication. Parlez-vous des défis de la famille dans 5 ou 10 ans, dans divers scénarios.

Commencez à penser comment vous aller travailler ensemble quand Papa ne sera plus là. N’oubliez pas de parler avec Papa aussi! Il risque de ne pas vouloir en parler avec vous au début, mais s’il devient au courant de vos discussions entre vous, éventuellement il pourrait s’intéresser à vos pensées!

Attendre avec patience, même avec ses doigts croisés, ne donne pas souvent les résultats voulus. Mais avec un peu de travail, d’effort, de communication, de partage d’idées et de pensées, les chances que la patience soit récompensée sont beaucoup plus élevées.

We left off last week’s blog talking about some of the family members who are not employed in the family business, but whose lives are nonetheless affected by the business, as part of the general theme about how the family governs a family business.

Today we will use the airplane analogy to talk about how they can influence the business, as well as the responsibilities that come along with the benefits. We mentioned a few of the different generic players who might be involved:

– Alan/Alice (G2 child who is not employed),
– Betty/Ben (G2 in-law), and
– Chris (G3 potential future employee).

The day-to-day business is run by the employees, and the employees are usually managed by the senior executive(s) of the company. If there is a board of directors, the board appoints these executives.

Somewhere in that framework, there will be some sort of strategic plan that guides the company from month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, and year-to-year. So what about the family? Let’s go to the airplane analogy.

The company is the airplane. It would seem crazy to simply allow Alan/Alice to decide that they wanted to fly the plane one day, by simple virtue of the fact that they are the child of the founder.

Similarly, if Betty/Ben were to insist that their family wanted to use the plane for a month for a long-dreamed-about trip around the world, this idea would be rejected.

And if Chris is thinking “It sure would be cool if I could borrow Grandpa’s plane to bring my buddies to Cancun for spring break”, this is probably not something that should be seriously considered.

But airplanes can be used in many different businesses. FedEx uses them to deliver packages, Doctors Without Borders uses them to fly to underserved countries to provide much needed medical services, and organized crime uses planes to move illegal drugs around from country to country.

What business is the family in? What business does the family want to be in? What business is the family good at? What business can the family be proud to be in? All of these questions are family questions.

When Grandpa started the company, these were not questions that were pondered. If, however, the family business is going to last more than a generation or two, these questions become crucial.

In order for the family to be involved in the answers to these questions, there needs to be some form of governance structure. How are decisions made? Who gets to have a say? How do we communicate? These are all really important questions that are part of transitioning from Grandpa’s start-up to the legacy, multi-generation company.

This is hard work, and when you think about it, not every company will have what it takes, and not every family will have what it takes, to make it happen.

While Alan/Alice, Betty/Ben, and Chris will rightly feel like part of the family and therefore part of the business, the benefits of ownership, if they are to enjoy them, come along with responsibilities as well.

The most common form of governance for the family is a sort of “Family Council”, which will represent the family’s interests regarding such questions as “what do we want to use our airplane for?” After all, it might have their name on it.

But for their say to be taken seriously, they must work together, in a formal way, to have their voice heard. And while initially Grandpa may have a hard time accepting that others want a say, the family’s best hope of being taken seriously is to work together, within a structure, as the family’s voice.

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.

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I believe that just about every family business founder wants the same thing. In the short term, there are many ways to achieve it, but in the long run, due to human nature, not only business people, but all people, want to be remembered fondly and to have their efforts appreciated.

No, I do not have any statistical evidence, and I have not done any surveys, but if we just take a quick look at the opposite situation, how many people do you know who want to be remembered as a scoundrel and being despised? Yes, there are some, but thankfully they are in the minority.

What this blog is about in general is family business, and today’s topic is legacy. I truly believe that every family business founder wants to create a lasting positive legacy. Of course one of the traits that many of these people also have is that they believe that they are going to live forever.

Getting these people to actually commit to doing some serious succession planning, or as it is now more commonly referred to, continuity planning, is a huge problem, but we will get to that again in a future post. Today I want to talk about a pre-requisite that I believe must be present, but which is not spoken about enough.

So what is this mystery element that “must” be present? I like to call it Family Harmony. Despite their best attempts to avoid it, every single one of us will die some day, and there will be others that we will leave behind. It is up to those people we leave behind to ensure the positive legacy of the family business, and/or the business family.

This example has been used in this space before, but it was in one of my occasional French blog posts, and since I get more English readers, it is time to translate it.

Even those of us who have never been camping will surely have driven by a campsite or seen a tent structure before. In my analogy, your legacy is the tent. We can see the tent, how big it is, its shape, its colour.

The tent also provides lots of utility, in economics parlance. Shelter from the elements, safety, a place to gather and be together, often as a family.

Imagine for a moment that you only packed the shell of the tent, and you forgot the structural elements at home in the garage. Without any support to hold the tent up, without any pegs to hold it down in place, I think that this camping trip will likely be called off, or else be deemed sub-optimal. “Did we pass any motels lately?”

In my analogy, the pegs that hold the tent in place, and the support pieces that hold the structure up in a useful form, are the family harmony that you need to support the legacy that you want.

I realize that in this blog I have not proven this to be true, and those who do not want to believe it can do so if they choose. But please think about this, and share this example with others if you are a believer.

Too many business founders spend so much time making the proverbial pie bigger and bigger, without spending enough time thinking about how the pie will survive, how it will be grown or preserved after they are gone, and how those left behind can benefit from the pie for generations to come.

It does not happen by itself, and the harmony in the family is one of the biggest determinators of how well their legacy will survive.

Yes, it means that you need to discuss the fact that you will die one day. Get over it. Your legacy depends on 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.

Over the past 8 months or so, I have taken on a renewed interest in family businesses and what makes them different and what makes them tick. I have enrolled in courses that do a great job of teaching what family business is all about and how and why they are special.

The courses have covered some in-depth ideas like having a family mission statement, holding regular family meetings, setting up a board of directors with non-family members, getting advisors from different fields to work together harmoniously, facilitating meetings and helping with conflict resolution.

But the single most important thing that I learned was right at the beginning of each course. And it is still the most powerful place to begin any discussion with a family businessperson. It is called the Three-Circle Model. It is SO simple, yet we kept coming back to it during the courses.

The Three-Circle Model (TCM) has only been around for twenty to twenty-five years or so. I am not sure who gets the credit for it, and I would not be surprised to learn that its exact origin is disputed. I recently read an artice from the 1980s that was still talking about family business from a “Two Systems” point of view, which leads me to believe that the TCM evolved afterwards.

(Note from 2016: Please see http://johndavis.com/three-circle-model-of-the-family-business-system/ for more on the origin of the model)

Without further ado, the 3 circles are, “Family”, “Business”, and “Ownership”. F-B-O, a simple Venn diagram of three overlapping circles.

The premise is this: Most people look at a family business as one thing, one entity, one system. But upon closer inspection, there is a LOT more going on there. So in the 80s they started to look at how the Family and the Business were different, and needed to be looked at separately. Later, it was determined that Ownership was also worth spinning out as its own circle.

So part 1 of my equation above in the title of this post is the TCM. What about the seven sectors? Glad you asked. When you draw the TCM as a Venn diagram, you get seven different sectors. Picture yourself asking a three-year-old with a box of Crayolas to colour each portion with a different crayon; they would need seven of them.

So why is this important to Family Businesses? Well mostly because the people who inhabit some of those sectors aren’t even part of the family business. Some of them are part of the Business Family!

People who are only in one circle (the 3 sectors without any overlap) will look at the family business much differently than those who are in one of the three sectors within a two-cirlce overlap.

And then there are those in the middle sector, who are part of the Family, who work in the Business, AND who are also part of Ownership. They often lament the fact that everyone else doesn’t see things the same way as they do!

People who inhabit different sectors will view things in different ways. It is only natural.

Once you learn to view any family business through the TCM, it is like turning on a floodlight. All of a sudden some things that were difficult to comprehend become more easily understood.

And then when you realize that the four sectors where there are overlaps are the ones you need to really concentrate on, you can start to make a lot of progress. I like to think of this as the “flashlight” stage.

The TCM was the floodlight that allowed us to see many things in a new way. Shining the flashlight into the nooks and crannies of the overlapping sectors will help uncover the key areas that will need to be monitored and worked on going forward.

For a visual perspective on all this, please visit my website: click here

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.

 

 

 

This week I had the “pleasure” of undergoing my first colonoscopy. Thankfully, it was really no big deal, and even more importantly, nothing was found and I don’t have to have the procedure again for five years. The biggest benefit is the peace of mind that I now have, assured that there is nothing to worry about.

This is just one small example of taking care of your affairs so that you minimize the number of things that you need to be concerned about.

Whenever I get a renewal notice for an insurance premium, I usually feel a sense of relief when I make the payment, knowing that I am good for another year of not having to think about it, and knowing that I am covered in case something bad happens.

As a parent, you never really stop worrying about your children, but as they get older and learn to be more self-reliant, there is great satisfaction in seeing them overcome what used to be obstacles.

Just knowing that they now know how to swim, ride a bike safely, can go to the bathroom by themselves in a public place or walk to the corner store and get something for you, are all stages that they go through, and each provides their parents with a little bit more peace of mind in knowing that they can be trusted with their independence.

On the other end of the life spectrum, elderly parents often need to be cared for, and surely finding a place with caring staff, good facilities and enjoyable activities serves to provide peace of mind when that time comes.

In between the times in our lives when we have other people worrying about things for us, there is the part where we are responsible for looking after ourselves. What can we do to make sure that we maximize our peace of mind during those years?

I have already touched on a few of the areas. The colonoscopy is a small part of the making sure that you are being properly followed by medical professionals who will hopefully be able to spot anything early enough to be treated. Insurance is something that falls into another category; if you don’t have a go-to person for your insurance needs, you probably should have one.

Of course I would be remiss if I did not talk about the importance of making a will, and keeping it up-to-date. The whole subject of how much you tell your family about what is in the will is too big a subject to be properly treated here, and it will be the subject of a future blog post.

For now though, you should know that I am usually in favour of more communication and not less, so as to minimize the potential for misunderstandings.

Making sure that more people fully understand your wishes can go a very long way to making sure that things will be taken care of the way you want them to be.

Making your family aware of your wishes is the first important step. The second is making sure that at least one or two other, non-family people are aware is the second step. Having a notary and/or a trusted advisor on board can provide you with more peace of mind than anything else.

The problem is that these are not subjects that most people enjoy talking about. But if you think about the added peace of mind that you will feel once you have taken care of everything, maybe that will help you get moving.

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.