Top 10 Ways to Fail at Running Your Family Business on EOS®


I’m a big fan of investor Alex Hormozi’s posts; he’s written great tongue-in-cheek tweets about how to stay poor. Those tweets inspired me to write about how to fail in your family business. Now I give you my top 10 ways to fail at running your family business on EOS.

1. Half-A$$ a DIY of EOS

Some businesses choose to self-implement EOS, while others must do so out of financial necessity. But failing to devote the necessary time and energy to really run on EOS sets you up for failure.

Bringing in an expert can fast-track your progress and ensure you use the tools and disciplines correctly. Plus, having a third party in the room can keep things from getting personal between family members when creating The Accountability Chart™.

2. Designate People “Off Limits”

Some family business owners make it impossible to discipline or even fire certain family members. Protecting problematic people because “they’re family” doesn’t serve the organization. Instead, it hurts morale and you risk having your best people leave.

People who cannot fulfill their position or don’t fit the core values need to go, regardless of who their momma is.

3. Avoid the Most Important Issues

It can feel easier to Identify, Discuss, and Solve (IDS®) minor problems rather than bigger ones during meetings. But the bigger ones don’t go away. They fester, impact the business, and complicate family interactions outside of the business too.

During Level 10 Meetings™, start IDS with the most important issues, even when they’re hard. An hour of discomfort is easier than years of dysfunction.

Download the Level 10 Meeting Agenda

4. Don’t Give Everyone a Number

Closely related to #2 above, allowing anyone to avoid accountability breeds resentment. Resentment makes family gatherings uncomfortable.

Tying someone’s performance to a measurable on the Scorecard holds them accountable and frees you from managing personalities, egos, emotions, and intangibles. Give every person who has a seat on The Accountability Chart a number and expect them to hit it.

5. Fight About the Vision Instead of Creating One

Family members can get personal when choosing a vision for the family business. Everybody wants to get their way. They fight about everything from the direction of the company to who got the last slice of Grandma’s pie.

Instead, get in the session room, discuss and debate the vision, and then decide on one. Don’t play a game of who is right. Play a game of which vision will get you where you want to go (then celebrate with Grandma’s pie).

6. Keeping Grandma or Grandpa’s Vision Alive Instead of Creating Your Own

Speaking of Grandma, just because she started the family business doesn’t mean the current generation can’t put their mark on it. The purpose/cause/passion and even core values might stay the same, but the rest is yours to create.

Keeping the family business running honors the previous generation’s legacy. Keeping it relevant and in tune with the current leaders’ styles improves its opportunities to thrive.

7. Let Clueless Aunt Matilda Keep Working in the Business

Aunt Matilda fits the business’s core values, but she has NO idea how to do her role. Other people have to clean up her mistakes.

Sometimes family members take on roles they simply cannot do. They don’t get the job, want the job, or have the capacity (GWC™) to do it. Even if they are family members, they must go.

8. Let Cranky Uncle Jack Keep Working in the Business

Uncle Jack’s a little rough around the edges; the family just works around it. But family members aren’t the only people interacting with Uncle Jack. Customers complain when he insults them. A few employees cry when he yells at them.

Sometimes people are really good at their job but are a cancer in your culture. Even if they are family members, they must go.

9. Stay in Your Seat Because You Think You Have To

A family business has a way of pulling family members into the fray. Maybe you agreed to temporarily fill a role. People expect you to continue, but you hate the work.

Just because you’re a family member doesn’t mean you have to sit on the leadership team. If your favorite thing is mowing lawns, go mow lawns.

10. Make Your Accountability Chart Look Just Like Your Family Tree

Your son has trouble keeping up with his responsibilities as the owner, yet his little sister has a great mind for the business. But he’s the oldest, so he has to sit at the top, right?

Let GWC decide who sits where on The Accountability Chart, not birth order, age, or gender.

How can you get stronger as a family business and avoid all these failures? Take the Organizational Checkup™ to find your strengths and weaknesses!

How strong is your company?

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