Blog

Apr 24 2017
navigating transitions

Navigating Transitions

By Sally Derstine, Managing Partner, Senior Family Business Advisor

I love learning and providing opportunities for others to enhance their lives, their families, and their businesses. On March 24, we held a Mini-Conference that featured a keynote from Travis Sheetz, G2 VP of Ops at Sheetz, as well as six Breakout Sessions. These mini-sessions focused on topics such as governance, generational transitions, leadership, HR, and learning from our failures. If you weren’t able to join us, here are some Member comments about this event:

It was great to hear the heart behind the Sheetz family. I appreciated Travis’s candid approach, and the fact that he allowed us to see that not everything was perfect and figured out already. I also liked hearing about everything they had structured and set up to maximize the positive impact on the family. – Dan Davis, Sight and Sound Ministries

Transparency. Travis was very real and made progress seem doable. – Keith Brubacher, Brubacher Excavating

I especially valued Travis’s honesty concerning the way they’re approaching the development of their Family Council and the way they recognized a need to re-organize the structure of their leadership team accountability. It’s so helpful to hear what prompted others to make changes and how those changes have impacted the family and the company. – Alicia Horst, Lancaster Aero

The Only Constant Is Change

Finally, a key takeaway from Travis is that no business family always gets things right on the first try. They continue to adjust. This is why navigating transition is critical. Why? Because things are always changing. People change, strategies shift, priorities change. Change is often scary because of the unknowns. So, how can we imagine the future we’d like to have? Furthermore, how do we name the changes we need to make, and take that first intentional step?

Anticipating and responding to change are common challenges for Business Families. This is why we chose “Navigating Change” as our 2017 theme. Business Families are immersed in a world of overlapping roles, responsibilities, and relationships. This can create environments ripe for confusion and conflict. Add onto this the myriad of transitions which all Business Families move through in all 5 Mountains. We created our governance framework of 5 Mountains to give everyone – family members, employees, shareholders, board members, and advisors – a common understanding and language. This is the only way to navigate transitions in a healthy way, and plan for a future with a stronger family and a more sustainable business.

Preparation Breeds Success

To build on our common language, I encourage you to read the book we sent all Members earlier this year, Managing Transitions, by William Bridges. Bridges refers to a transition as a three-phase psychological process that includes Endings, a Neutral Zone, and New Beginnings. He notes that if organizational leaders facing transitions don’t prepare for these psychological transitions and only focus on the technical aspects of change, they may not get the results they are seeking. (BTW, what Bridges refers to as a Neutral Zone often feels more like a wilderness or even what I like to call The Messy Middle!). Our core work includes guiding Business Families through multiple transitions on different Mountains.

Therefore, at this time of traditional spring cleaning, what might you identify in yourself that is preventing you from reaching your desired outcomes in one or more of your Mountains in 2017? How are you creating the future you would like and navigating through transitions as you create New Beginnings?

Lastly, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite comments to sally@dvfbc.com.

Add Your Own Comment

Mail (will not be published) (required)