Aug 21 2012

Turning Awkward into Opportunity

Every leader is faced with telling stories to enact the change we seek.  These are stories that come to us in the middle of the night or while listening to an employee or family member.  Most people struggle with the challenge of letting go of a story that is no longer true in the midst of pain.  Pain is often caused when a member of the family crosses a boundary and is hurting themselves and  often others in the family business through their actions.  When we are called upon as leaders to confront the kind of behavior that has caused the pain, we are often confronted with an awkward conversation.

What we are learning about these awkward conversations is that they are the next generation’s opportunity to enact the change they seek.

Embracing this opportunity, the next generation can:

1.  Start by apologizing for not being clear about the boundaries and expectations
2.  Affirm or ask for the clarity about the underlying desire of the person who crossed the boundaries
3.  Provide a list of 4 things they want this person to do and 4 things they do not want them to do.

Often conversations are the unit of change.  They provide the possibility for organic influence to take place.  However, structures need to be put into place to serve the common goal of the organization/company.  Leaders are tasked with the opportunity to enact the change they seek, one awkward moment at a time.

I believe that the Leadership Labs become the incubators for the next generation leader to practice the opportunity conversation.  We know this will be an opportunity because it will be awkward.  I believe that the Leadership Labs allow the leader a safe place to fail in the company of leaders who have also failed.  Failure is about learning.  Learning is about clarity, and clarity provides the courage to act out the change we seek for abundance and flourishing in family and in business!

By Scott Hackman, Family Business Advisor, Delaware Valley Family Business Center

Recent Comments

  • 08.21.12

    By: Heather Chandler

    Great blog, Scott! A framework for difficult conversations is a huge help since they can be so emotional and easily derailed. The framework can bring the conversation back to topic and ensure both parties leave with a plan.

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