Your Crunchbase is NOT your Friendbase

“Charlie, we love you but we’re worried about you”, in your family, it’s an intervention. Your family gathers around you, and they have a conversation where they tell you how much they want you to succeed. They talk about memories of the good times, and give details as to the descent. At the end of the conversation they invest a large sum of money into you, and send you forth. At some point, Charlie ran out crying, but he’s back in the room.

There are only three difference between that conversation at a business vs. your fathers living room. At a business, it happens much sooner and at your father’s house. you get to come home after, oh yeah, and in business the situation isn’t limited to drugs.

There are three messages here:

  1. You’re a manager, and that’s not your daughter

We’re put on this earth with a bias. You share DNA with your parents, your brothers and sisters, you share a vow into families through a sickness and health clause. In all of those commitments or miracles, you lose perspective and you gain bias.

“I’ll love them anyways” is a common term in families, eternity, sacrifice, they describe the unlimited sacrifices we would make for our DNA.

The same reason why nepotism is not allowed is because the above logic can’t be brought into the work place. It is like being your own attorney, you can’t see and operate the business out of external interest over self interest. The reason YOU are the manager and their loved one is not, is for the bias you do NOT have.

So stop calling them a family. It’s a lie to them because they need to know they are not, but more importantly, it’s your job.

2. Your job as a manager is to have the agility to do this early.

On the show intervention, families had been dragged through the mud. They repeatedly invested money in a hopeless cause. For the life of every family member involved they tried to hide from the obvious and hope in the unlikely. They layered in communication with hopes of improvement while reinforcing the behavior, clueless as to how to solve it.

It’s a horrible story, it’s a story of extraordinary sacrifice. Families ripped apart, opportunities missed, relationships broken, and it’s horrible undignified. Everyone’s reputation is marred, diminishing returns on controlling the behavior have been reached and the situation will only deteriorate. Hopelessly, you just watch it continue far too long.

In business, your job as a manager is to come to terms with this early, to act soon, and break the cycle before it develops. Your job is to keep the perspective of your team, your investors, and your opportunities in mind, and not wait until you have no other options, but rather, until it’s the right option.

3. The greatest control you can put into your business is hiring managers who know the difference.

I’ll forgive my family for anything, solely because they are family. I can’t forgive my employees for everything and revolution can’t be slow. You have an equal obligation to a lot more stakeholders as a manager, and anything else is a conflict of interest.

If you hire a manager who works a lot, that’s a good thing. Some people balance their social lives concentrated to weekends and travel (I do). However, if someone leverages work for their personal relationships, they will not be able to handle them effectively. For that reason, never hire managers who deliver families, hire managers who deliver agility.

When you assess the ability of a manager to operate within internal controls, ask if they can meet this one. Your business depends on it.

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