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?
Doing the right thing, for the right reason and at the right time is the sweet spot of success. Sometimes being stretched by too many tasks in life others are making the choices for me and I bet it’s the same for you. We often confuse being busy with being productive with little Margin. Accepting every opportunity, squeeze in one more commitment, one more phone call, one more email. We operate on the principle of scarcity rather than abundance and are tempted to take everything on all at once! Change your thinking and it will change your life.
In ancient times, Moses father in law Jethro was the first life coach and business consultant. Watching Moses exhausting himself judging all the Israelites, he suggested the appointment of others to handle the simpler cases and freeing Moses to judge the complex ones.
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
Earn, invest, and spend! Giving and being generous were not part of the conversation. A culture of consumption led me down a self absorbed road for a long time. Even though there’s been a shift towards generosity and giving in our culture, it’s a small step towards a great goal. Truth is most people don’t know how to give. That was me – 35 years old and self serving. Self examination doesn’t show us how greedy we are…..you can’t see it in the mirror.
Has anyone taught you how to be rich by giving? Society, culture, TV, advertising taught our parents to want it all and to overspend to get it. This left them with little to be generous with. Few schools teach how to give. Then fear of the future robs us of our desire to give and be generous. Often we don’t give as we value security, not only materialism, hoarding our possessions. There is often competition for Lordship in our lives between God and money.
How can you change? What’s the process?
Start with the foundation…..
Jesus himself reminds us, “…you cannot serve both God and money”.
Then consider the real security in life…..
“Therefore, do not worry about your life”
Jesus assures us we don’t have to worry about our life because God’s promised to take care of us.
……further Jesus teaches in verse 33,
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Then start praying…..
God what do you want me to do with all you’ve entrusted to me?
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.”
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
If you are growing in any area of your life you are learning. The question is; who are you learning from? To learn anything important, I look for someone to model my life on. I look for someone who has been a success in a particular arena of life, so I can stand on their shoulders and go further faster.
Truth is we all want to make good decisions and identify with success. Having a mentor helps. The problem is how do you find a mentor?
Formal mentoring relationships are often found in the workplace, school or sports. Then there are informal ones; people who have mentored me but have no clue who I am. Through the books they’ve written, through the talks they’ve given, and through the lives they’ve led I have been changed.
Meet the greatest mentor who ever lived; the apostle Paul. He mentored a younger man named Timothy. He has some amazing, God inspired insights about what others can see in you that you can’t see in yourself.
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:14-15
Stop looking around, over your shoulder or to social media to find a hero. Look in the mirror instead. You were created for a purpose and your life has meaning. Do you consider doing something unimaginably courageous? You can make a world of difference.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, doing this one thing will make you a hero and make a difference to the lives of millions of people! If you’re a Christian, even better, because we’re called by God to make disciples in all nations.
Three years ago, in a small rural Kenyan village, I saw a glorious thing. A dug well that provided water for thousands of villagers. But horror hit me when I took two steps and was introduced to the graves of the patriarchs of the village. Grandma and Grandpa were buried within feet of this precious water source were decomposing and turning this precious well into a contaminated water source that was killing villagers. The image continues to haunt me.
If you are making a presentation to 5 or 500 – you are speaking in public. You have an audience and a message. What if your fear is crippling and hinders your success? You will fail to make an emotional connection with your audience and the important message you want to share will be lost.
Studies show people fear public speaking more than death. World class presenters like Nancy Duarte used a resource before her TED talk Uncovering Common Structures Of Greatest Communicators. The book version of this resource helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. I needed some new skills for the task of building up people instead of homes.
Recently when I was asked to rewrite half my speech the night before, told I wouldn’t have the comfort of a podium to rest my notes on and hide behind – these strategies made a big difference. Understand and use this approach and you will make a big difference!
Paul who used to hate Christians, until he had an encounter with the risen Jesus provides illumination about fear.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV