Happy Monday morning,
I was having a conversation with a senior leader at one of our clients. She described her corporate culture as a family.
She shared the “F” word, no, not that one.
The word “family.”
That word is loaded with deep meaning, responsibilities & expectations.
These past two weeks, I have been away on course at Regent, a school of UBC. We have been looking at issues around leadership & ethics. One of the conversations that arose was around the use of the term “family” within organizations.
First of all, how many high functioning families are there & how can you change the role of someone or ask them to leave the family if there is a substantive change in the needs of the organization? I understand what she was expressing. She cared deeply about the people she worked with & took on a deeper meaning than just an organization with deliverables & a budget.
As I thought about my discussions with my client & at school, I reflected upon a recent case around this very topic.
This generational global family-owned brand had been going through some turbulence on its senior leadership team. Some members on their leadership team had decided they wanted to pursue a different level of responsibilities & take their careers & their lives, in a different direction. At first, they tried to keep several “family” benefits, leverage the brand &, at the same time, still be involved.
What I found fascinating about this case study was how the family responded. In this case, the leadership team was exclusively family. Should this family be more flexible? What were the needs of managing the relationships within the family & the needs of the global brand they were leading?
This real case is full of nuances & complexity. If you put the needs of individual family members ahead of others in the family, how is that fair? What impact may the imbalance have not only on the family but also on the needs & stability of the global brand? Where are the boundaries & lines?
In this particular complex case, I was impressed with the speed & the wisdom in which all the parties worked to come to a resolution. It seems at this point that they came to an agreement that met the needs of the different parties as family members, but also as stewards of this global brand. We will have to wait over time to see how this plays out to truly determine if this was handled well.
In case you are wondering, this case was about The British Royal Family and the senior leaders who wished a different role – Harry & Meghan. The other senior leaders involved include Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip; Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla; and Prince William and his wife, Kate.
It also shows you how, as a leader, you want to avoid bringing in another layer of complexity within your organization, that being, creating a false sense of family.
As I shared with my client, it’s complex enough to lead organizations today. It is wise not to add to the complexity by blurring the lines the false exceptions of what a family should be providing.
The better word, unless you indeed are a family-run enterprise. The “T” word.
Along the road with you!
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P.P.S. Looking for ways to develop your leaders as well as your own leadership skills? Reach out to Jason Parks, VP of Business Development to start the conversation about Leadership Coaching and Development at 1-877-256-2569 ext 600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.