Building a Legacy

Building a Legacy

Working with the leaders of some of the most remarkable and impressive family businesses across the country is immensely rewarding. I have the opportunity to work with people who are creating organizations that lead and work with integrity first. The conversations that ensue because of the relationships throughout the organization are significant and they offer great learning moments for both my clients and myself. One of those conversations centers on the topic of legacy.
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The Impact of Influence

The Impact of Influence

Think about the last time you were really intentional about something you said or did. What was the impact of your words, approach or actions? Was that impact intentional, accidental or maybe incidental?
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Functional Dysfunction

functional dysfunction

Companies that are simply surviving are a lot like bad relationships. They are functionally dysfunctional. They exist, but they aren’t achieving their full potential.

In relationships, people don’t just wake up one day feeling bitter and resentful. Likewise, organizations don’t go from prospering to barely holding on in days or weeks. There is a pervasively predictable pattern. It happens over time, and is often so gradual that no one really notices until the company is nearly beyond repair. It’s a slow slide.Read more

Independence in Business

Happy Independence Day

In celebration of Independence Day (and independent business week), I wanted to highlight some of the ways business and independence go hand-in-hand.Read more

The Concept I Didn't Learn Until I Was In My Mid-Forties

The concept I didn't learn until I was in my mid-forties

Balance doesn’t equal weakness. Shocking, right?

Prior to 10 years ago, you never would have heard me say that. In fact, I would have told you that balance was bull crap, most certainly a weakness and a waste of time to talk about.

A few mistakes and years later, I’m completely okay with admitting I was wrong.
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Simplexity and The Importance of Focus & Critical Thinking

Simplexity and the importance of critical thinking

To all of you fellow dads, I hope you have a great Father's Day. In keeping with family-business on a day to celebrate men who influenced us as children, I want to tell you about my grandpa.

My grandpa was a simple, yet very complex guy. Part hard-working farmer and part deep-thinking philosopher. That made him simplex. He had such a unique way of making poignant, simple statements that also held a much deeper, complex meaning to them.
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Expansion vs. Isolation: Your Mindset Matters

Expansion versus Isolation: Your Mindset Matters

What we don’t understand terrifies us. In many cases, it causes us to shrink back to a point of retreat rather than advancing forward. As a result, there are two mindsets that exist when we don’t understand something.

  1. The Expansion Mindset – We confront what isn’t understood. Expand our mindset, absorb new information, develop greater awareness, process ideas received and advance.
  2. The Isolation Mindset – We ignore what isn’t understood. We limit the acceptance of new information, we stagnate in our awareness and mindset and we stall.

The reason many individuals and family businesses fail to maximize their capacity, is because they are operating from a point of isolation rather than a point of expansion.

Here’s a list of isolationist statements, see if you recognize any of them:

  • I don’t have time to read.
  • Social media is a fad and isn’t applicable to our business or industry.
  • They just need to do it my way.
  • I’m not interested in new ideas that are simply that…ideas.
  • Our culture is our culture.

Here’s a list of expansion statements, see if you recognize any of them:

  • I read regularly.
  • Clarity about the use of social media comes from defining social media as a part of our strategy.
  • My way is just that, my way. We need to define the best way to do things.
  • Ideas are the fuel for our growth. Keep them coming.
  • Our culture is a distinct competitive advantage.

Professionals who exist with an expansion mindset are consistently and constantly seeking growth for their company, themselves and others. People who exist with an isolation mindset are consistently and constantly limiting growth for their company, themselves and others. In both cases, a mindset is being multiplied which leads to a lasting impact.

Now, use the following practical questions to evaluate the impact of an expansion mindset:

  • What is the outcome of your growth when you work with a leader who has an expansion mindset? Why?
  • Do salespeople who expand mindsets deliver more value to their customers? Why?
  • Is there a connection between new ideas, people and performance metrics such as sales growth and profitability? Why?

Then, compare your answers to those questions, with your answers to these to evaluate the impact of an isolation mindset:

  • Are Leaders who exist in isolation, with no new awareness, really leaders? Why?
  • Are salespeople who exist in isolation ever going to maximize sales opportunities with their customers? Why?
  • Will a company maximize its capacity to grow and evolve without purposefully infusing new people, ideas and perspectives? Why?

Final thought & a challenge:

There’s a distinct difference in understanding something intellectually and applying it intentionally. In many ways, that may represent the difference between the mindset of isolation and expansion. In the coming weeks, I’m going to take a deeper dive into expanding mindsets and detail how they can contribute directly to the development, growth and performance of people and companies.

If you attend to your growth and development, your growth and development will attend to you.

I want to challenge you to think about your own growth and mindset this week. The following statements are thoughts I’ve honed and grown into over 30 years of working with privately held and family-owned businesses. Does one stick out to you? Pick one or two and consider them as you challenge your existing mindsets this week.

"The mastery that built your business is uniquely different than the mastery to evolve it."

"Who brought you may not be who brings you."

"In order to continually grow and evolve a family business or privately-held company, you must confront what you knew, what you know and what is not yet known."

"When someone exists in isolation, they don’t know where to go because they haven’t expanded their consideration to understand where they could go."

"Does that person bring 10 years of experience or are they bringing the same year of experience 10 times?"

Have you defined your value?

Image of Keith's Thank You Note

Houston, we’ve had a problem here.

There’s a major disconnect between the definition and delivery of value by salespeople.

If a salesperson can’t define and deliver on the value they represent as an individual, they shouldn’t expect their company’s product or service to define or deliver it for them. If value is the exclusive property of the product or service being sold and someone exists only to complete a transaction, then we have to ask an alarming question. “Why do we need salespeople?"

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Beyond the Name, where can you go?

Beyond the Name, where can you go?
A special thanks to Allen Royce for the landscape photos we regularly use and to Alyssa Patmos for designing the header images each week.


My new book started shipping 2 weeks ago, which means over the course of this past week I was able to start hearing feedback from those of you who have begun to read it. Getting to engage in conversations about the book has been immensely rewarding and I've noticed two questions are coming up repeatedly.

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The Discipline Correlation

the discipline correlation

This was the single statement, written on a sticky note, which began the actual writing journey that became Beyond the Name,

“The mastery that built your family business is uniquely different than the mastery to evolve it.”
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