Getting Real with Your Accountability Chart™ in a Family Business


During a recent session with a second-generation family business, I asked two questions as we looked at their Accountability Chart™.

  1. Where are the family members on this Accountability Chart?
  2. Is anyone off-limits?

The answers? “My daughter sits in this seat and reports to a member of the leadership team.” and “She is not off-limits.” Both of those answers came from her father – the founder and first generation of the family business.

He gave both those answers in front of the entire leadership team. Talk about getting real with your Accountability Chart in a family business. Those words sent a strong message about his investment in the future of the business and running on EOS®.

It wasn’t easy for him to say, but he meant it.

This is the ideal answer. Why?

Greater Good of the Organization

First of all, the second-generation family member is skilled in her role, but she is not skilled as a leader. She doesn’t sit on the leadership team. Her dad, the founder, wants her to participate in the business as long as it’s right for the business and right for her.

While he can imagine a potential future where she owns the business, he doesn’t feel she’s entitled to it. She won’t help run the day-to-day operations of the business unless she’s the right person in the right seat.

Secondly, when he told the team (especially her supervisor) that she was not off-limits, he sent a clear message. She can receive constructive criticism. She can be asked to improve. And if she doesn’t perform, she can even be fired.

Vision, Traction, Healthy

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) gives all teams the chance to clarify their Vision, gain Traction, and be Healthy. This is especially true for family businesses.

When family business owners and leadership teams commit to putting the right people in the right seats, it is healthy. The business and the family both benefit.

Let me explain.

When you create an Accountability Chart, you start with structure. Then you put the right people in those seats to create a healthy structure for the business. You might end up having some hard conversations with family members. There might even be tears, hurt feelings, or conflict. That’s actually also Healthy!

Despite those hard conversations, you’ll also have a fair system to promote, train, and reward your team. That means everyone on your team, whether family members or not.

You’ll have an objective method for talking about who gets a raise, who gets promoted, and where people should work.

Instead of people saying “mom’s favorite” gets to run the business, you can say, “it’s what the business needs.”

Can you think of anything more Healthy?

Download a copy of the Accountability Chart from the EOS Toolbox™ to help you discover the right structure for your company.


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