The Owners Dilemma: Who am I?

Business Legacy, Business Planning

The Owners Dilemma: Who am I?

Eric DunavantAugust 12, 2019

It’s 4:00 PM on Friday, and you’re about to begin a week‑long vacation. You’ve just finished looking over the financials of the company. Payroll is made, and as you look at where you are versus your targets, you can tell it’s going to be a good month.

Then, you get a phone call from your HR Director, wanting to know what the policy is on bereavement leave for someone whose aunt just died. Isn’t this why you hired an HR Director? All you want to do is go home.

As you’re trying to figure out the bereavement policy, you get a text from your spouse asking when you’re going to be home. The kids need to run to the store to pick up some items they forgot for the trip. You feel like pulling your hair out. All you really want to do is go on vacation.

This is the dilemma of a business owner. Are you a CEO? Are you the boss who makes the everyday decisions? Are you the member of your family who just wants to leave and forget all of this headache that’s staring you in the face?

Every single owner faces this same dilemma. It becomes an even bigger challenge as you try to leave a legacy inside of your business. I have found the simplest way to leave a legacy is to understand each of your distinct roles and how they interconnect with each other.

Realizing the importance of your leadership in each one of your positions can empower you to leave the legacy that you desire, once you understand how they’re uniquely positioned.

 

In the role of CEO, most owners desire to leave a story that lasts beyond them. They want to be known for the influence they had in the overall community or around the world. It’s something bigger than them as a CEO, and bigger than the company itself.

I think of companies like Chick‑fil‑A or Hobby Lobby. They are known not only for their values, but how they influence thousands of other business owners to consider how their faith and values line up with the way they run their business.  How can you use your leadership to influence other leaders?

In the role of boss, your focus turns from looking at the influence of the company outside to looking inside, seeing how everyone inside the company works together. What kind of teamwork happens among the various employees? Is there engagement with your products and with the clients you serve? Are the employees growing into their potential?

Each one of these questions require a different level of commitment and delegation. You must bring together your leadership team and prioritize the things you want to be known for, and then instill those inside your employees.

The real key here is delegation. Your job is to set the tone and cast the vision. If you spend your time caught up in the day‑to‑day details, that could end up setting you back rather than being the strength you hoped it would be. How can you empower you team and your employees?

In the role of a family leader, it’s important to realize what you do at work affects the way things happen at home. It’s important to be able to come home and not talk about business all the time.

This can be harder if you have family members who work inside the business. We have served many families with this situation and everyone agrees it can often be hard to turn the business conversations off.

No matter what, you’re seeking family harmony. Your family exists outside the business. It needs to thrive without relying on being the business. How do you find contentment in simply being together and being who you were created to be?

 

In my own experience, I have found that generosity connects all three roles in a way that makes it easier for owners to function.

Generosity allows the business to live a bigger story. It provides an opportunity for employees to be engaged. When done well, generosity also connects the family and involves their opinion on how money is handled.

Overall, the biggest part of a legacy will come down to what we do for others and how well we serve. No matter what story we ultimately want to leave, the story that we create through our influence and love for others will be what is remembered long after we are gone.

Even though this type of discussion is not easy, there is a simple path to help you get there. At Paradiem, we have walked several business owners and families through the process. Give us a call at (985) 727-0770 or email info@paradiem.org.

About the Author

Eric DunavantEric is the president of Paradiem, a man devoted to God and the advancement of His Kingdom.

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