Pete Walsh is a Master Certified Coach who is passionate about helping people succeed in business and life. Having spent 16 years in his 90 year old family business Coach Pete knows firsthand the challenges most family businesses face. He has developed a series of practical and proven exercises families can use to strengthen their family business and their family.
Coach Pete’s mission is to end family business suffering one family at a time. Since 1999, he and his team have been providing Executive and Leadership Coaching to some of the most successful businesses in America. In 2014 they have launched a new FREE online resource to help family businesses get access to proven exercises, videos and practices that will help them work better together in their business. The site also gives families access to experienced family business coaches as well as other families to ask questions and seek advice.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the unique challenges and advantages that face family businesses?
Pete: The challenges are running the business like a business and not letting family dynamics interfere with sound business practices. The best run family businesses establish clear guidelines and expectations for employment in the business.
The advantages are that often times family run firms can take a long range approach to the business and not have to make decisions based upon short term investor returns like most public companies. Many studies have shown family firms consistently outperform non-family firms.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share some of the ways you work to promote and create common family vision and values within a shared business?
Pete: We’ve developed tools and a process that brings the family to the table in very collaborative way to get everyone in the family to talk about vision and values. We then help them talk about what those values “look like in action” in the family so they are not just words on a wall but observable behaviors everyone can see.
We tell families that they need to think of themselves like a great sports team or orchestra that needs to come together often and practice if they are going to be successful. We teach them about “deliberate practice” a proven concept used by high performers.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some ways that you’ve been getting the word out and encouraging families to interact with your new website?
Pete: We are using all of the social channels – twitter, linked-in, Google+ and Facebook plus because we really believe the web gives us the greatest opportunity to have the farthest reach.
BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you feel so strongly about the need to have next-generation family business participants have the experience of working outside of the family business?
Pete: There are a number of reasons. The first and I think most important reason is to give the person an opportunity to create a healthy identity and confidence outside of the business. I coach many family business members who are always wondering – “what could I have done out in the real world (outside the business)?” You may never have that chance again once you join the family business.
Secondly, every business, and family for that matter can benefit from learning from other successfully run businesses. New ideas and processes are the lifeblood of long term success.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you pass onto siblings that are contemplating launching a business together? What key questions should they be asking themselves and each other?
Pete: Make sure and look each other in the eye and decide what’s more important – having a business partner or a sibling. You can find business partners anywhere – you can’t replace a sibling. Make a commitment to never allowing the business to fracture or break your family. It happens too often. Make that agreement up front and discuss the conflict resolution strategies now rather than later — conflict is almost inevitable.
BusinessInterviews.com: Last year you launched the Family Business Performance Center. Can you share a meaningful milestone and what you hope to achieve in 2014?
Pete: We want to reach 500 families this year and grow that number exponentially each year after. I know how painful it can be to be unhappy in the family business. I’m on a mission to give families the tools and support to not let their family business become a source of family destruction.
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