Imagine running a relay race. Each person has to be individually competent but the thing that can trump the whole race is the hand off. Drop the baton and the team is disqualified. If you have a family business you are in a unique position to hand off to the next generation a great opportunity. Sadly, many experience heartache when passing the business on to their children: businesses fail but more importantly families are ruined, broken apart by unrealized expectations and misunderstanding.
Family business succession is an important topic because it affects many of us, indirectly. In the United States, family businesses employ 60% of workforce. In Canada the number is closer to 50%. Worldwide, in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries – including France, Mexico and Sweden – more than 90% of businesses now have fewer than ten employees and are family businesses.
As Thomas William Deans says in Every Family’s Business, handing off a business is largely about setting realistic expectations, avoiding surprises and just plain communicating, and this can happen many, many years prior to the turnover of the business. Through this fictional story based on the real life events in 3 generations of the author’s family, you can discover some essential steps.
Movies, novels, and folklore have all influenced what you think about heaven. If you believe in heaven or not, you have some ideas about what it will be like. Every major religion has a view of heaven, but what about Christians? What do they think heaven will be like?
John Eldridge describes in The Journey of Desire, an image I can relate to.
“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an un-ending church service… We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing –along in the sky,….. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.”
Is that true? What will Heaven be like? Where do we go when we die? We all want to know what the destination after this life will be like.
I believe God has placed within all humans an understanding of the eternal. We all have a sense that we will live forever somewhere. But what specifically happens after death? Where do we go?
Jesus provides illumination in his words of comfort to his disciples before his death.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
When you watch a movie or read a book it summons a response from you. Some you either love, hate or are unaffected by. You’re engaged by the characters and themes or disenchanted with who they are and the lives they live. What if your life was unveiled as a “story”?
Did you know the most impactful and memorable are based on true-life stories? As Joseph Campbell mentions in The Hero With a Thousand Faces it’s human nature to relate to story.
Up until this year my life story was concealed, shared only with those who lived it alongside me. Most of us share safe “bullet points” – basically demographic information that keeps us in a safe zone because we fail to understand the impact of our own story or know how to live a better story. If you think that you are watching a badly lived life unfold before you watch this 2-minute video called A Better Story.
Learning to live and tell a better story are skills we can learn.
We talk a lot about growth in our culture. Personal growth, economic growth, population growth and more! In the church these days we use language that is sometime confusing – after all, what does it mean to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I just returned from a Build-Up Conference and it seems to me, we need to shed some light on this phrase.
God provides illumination in the words of Jesus in the story of the Roman centurion who demonstrated such great faith it was preserved as a model in the Bible.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
Think of a word that is used in science, math, psychology, politics, religion, business, society, social media and medicine …..the purpose of the word creates understanding, context, expectations and changes outcomes…..it’s….
Between numbers, principles of matter, chemistry, business, the economy and so much more…..RELATIONSHIP is the important factor which helps us understand the world around us. How things interact with one another? How they are affected by one another? Let’s focus on people…..I am not a psychologist or an expert in human behavior but recently I came across an incredible statistic: 76 million Americans have no one to confide in. That’s 25% of the population. In a world where everyone is connected digitally, people are not connected relationally.
I was no different. Driven as an entrepreneur and businessperson, I had many friends but few people to trust with the inside story…..the truth about my life.
Eventually, there comes a point where we can all identify with having “needs”. Freud believed mans greatest need was pleasure. Victor Frankl believed it’s a pursuit of meaning and purpose. 18th century pastor Charles Spurgeon thought mans greatest need is “the willingness to know and be known”.
If relationships are so important…..on what basis can we have real relationships with God and others? Jesus’ brother James gives illumination.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7
At 25 years old I was a young entrepreneur with my own company . At 36 I, thought I’d arrived at the pinnacle of success. After all, the company had won lots of awards locally, provincially and eventually we even won Americas best Builder in the U.S.
Pinnacles have a way of bringing you to a perspective that can make or break you – giving you perspective on life and reality! The truth was I was spiritually empty. I started searching for something bigger than success, more important than money and more lasting than homes. I’d vowed never to argue over money like my alcoholic parents so success in business was my life’s pursuit. But achievement was a lonely companion.
In my heart I knew there was a gap. A gap between what fulfillment I expected and what I was experiencing. At 36 years old, I had not accepted responsibility for my own personal and spiritual development. My commitment to Jesus as a teenager hadn’t matured. We started attending church, which certainly helped but I knew there was more.
I was afraid of my next step: reading the Bible. Falling into the trap of thinking…..
“You can’t read the Bible. It’s like a marathon. It’s too big. It’s for pastors and intellectuals, or retired people with too much time on their hands. It’s intimidating. It’s too challenging. You’ll never understand it.”
How many of us look back on our childhood and wish we’d been taught more about money? More than two thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Many parents are not doing a great job themselves. Many find it an easy subject to avoid.
Sadly, most people leave home and graduate from university without any idea how to manage money never having been taught personal finance. It doesn’t have to be that way!
For me, it starts at home. I believe in leaving my kids a rich inheritance. However, it has nothing to do with money. Instead, it means teaching my children to be financially literate; to be Balanced financially.
Many have encouraged me; it’s better to build boys than mend men. Solve the problem before there is one. Help children avoid the pain of following a consumer driven lifestyle. Instead follow God’s plan.
God wants us to make a difference, financially, in our family tree. If we don’t teach children these most basic, critical life skills, they’re going to struggle with this problem their whole lives. Money problems are the leading cause of kids dropping out of post secondary education and the leading cause of divorce.
The Bible’s says more about money than any other subject. God inspired the apostle Paul to write theses illuminating words.
It is required of a steward that he be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:2
Recently there has been a trend in my life, where people I meet have one basic problem – they think “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Whether they are affluent or not, they feel trapped in their life and look with envy at those who are successful, fulfilled and inspired in their lives.
Is there a gap for you? Between where you are and where you want to be? Is your income and personal success lacking?
The solution may not be in changing jobs, going back to school, or in winning the lottery, but simply in “seeing” with new eyes what you already have. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, don’t have a lot of post-secondary education nor have ever, or wish to, win the lottery. I saw opportunity all around me and went after it. Opportunities in business and in a supportive family that were unearned, unmerited favor; I attribute to gifts from God.
How does perspective on your side of the fence and the opportunities you have been given affect you?
A thought from the Bible on this:
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Most people in the world operate with a 1 to 1 approach to life. One hour work equals one-hour pay. Productivity is limited by the number of hours in a week. Productivity isn’t always focused and without a life plan priorities are often missed.
Successful entrepreneurs are not like most people. Never content to settle for a 1 to 1 relationship between efforts and results they achieve far higher levels of productivity. We all know someone whose productivity is outstanding.
The problem is if you’re already working as hard as you can, you’ve hit a limit on what you can produce. So how do they do it? How can you learn to increase your productivity?
Jesus provides the answer. In his first and most famous teaching metaphor, the Parable Of The Sower (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus describes four different scenarios in which an investment, in this case seed, produced significantly different levels of productivity.
Politicians, entrepreneurs, parents and pastors – everyone you are leading is looking for you to take responsibility. When you lead others it’s your tribe that keeps you accountable. What about when you are leading your own life? How are you taking responsibility for your own personal and spiritual development? It was one of those very disruptive, pivotal, thought provoking, experiences of my life, when I considered my responsibility for my own spiritual growth. It made me think about responsibilities in a whole new way.
Responsibilities. We all have them. However, we may not all take them as seriously as we should. Wouldn’t it be great if we all took responsibility for the things we are responsible for? Our finances, health and relationships.
Everyone loves the underdog. People who begin with limited opportunity and overcome great odds. These people often could complain ‘Life’s not fair’. But, instead they choose not to make excuses, but to leverage what they have for the benefit of others.
We’ve all said ‘Life’s not fair!’ We all say it when we feel we’re comparing ourselves to people with more opportunity. But some of us learn to do the best we can with what we have. How do we learn to understand life’s apparent inequality and begin to start taking responsibility for our own life?