Question For The Gman: I am the new director of sales for a 95 employee manufacturing firm that is family owned. The patriarch still runs the business with three of his children as department heads. When the sales team brings new ideas to the table, the other department heads will not commit or respond in a timely manner or sometimes no response at all with ANY type of commitment. What suggestion do you have for overcoming this?

Answer From The Gman: I must tell you that my experience in working with family owned and operated businesses have presented the identical problem time and time again, so you are not in a club by yourself. However in most cases, you can overcome the problem IF the owner, patriarch/matriarch if truly ready for change and has confidence in you. The commitment MUST come from the top and be passed down through empowerment.

Please read on and Enjoy!

George (The Gman)

How Do I Fix The Roadblocks That Family Members Have Put In My Path To Achieving Our Company Goals?

What typically happens is the “kids” are accustomed to waiting for mommy or daddy to tell them it IS okay to make decisions on their own. This scenario is ALSO commonplace when you have a senior tenured employee who is accustom to always going to the owner for answers and/or validation.

But the real problem lies with you not getting the person at the top to agree in advance that you have the authority to act in accordance with your defined authority and/or agreement upon being hired. That acknowledgment of authority must be conveyed to the “kids” and once that is done, you should act within your scope without further interference. If they choose not to contribute ideas then they should be allowed to voice complaints.

We are all creatures of habit and change comes with truckloads of trepidation and anxiety. Your owner must have the confidence in you and must convey that confidence level to the balance of the staff.

Or in the alternative, after time proven decisions have been effective, they give you a Carte Blanche and you can roll right on through with the roadblock the kids are putting up. But in reality, by-passing the kids can easily be the kiss of death for your career within that organization. Getting the kids on your side as well as you on theirs is paramount to developing a successful team environment. After all, you said you ARE sales, so make your case like any other presentation and sell the concept and you will make it happen!

My guess is you are about to ask the question, “HOW DO I make that happen?”

1.Meet with the owner and explain the situation without being condescending
2.Ask the owner how he/she would suggest “you” handle this
3.Ask if he/she feels there is something they can do for or with the kids to better define your role and authority within the organization
4.Confirm what he or she would like to see you get accomplished and in what time period
5.Validate his/her confidence in you and your decision making process
6.Validate that you have the authority to act
7.Get a verbal commitment from the owner
8.Follow that meeting up with a writing confirmation and understanding, again without being condescending.
9.Meet with the kids one on one or as a group and explain the roadblocks and how you view this as an impediment to achieving mutual goals
10.Ask them if they see it the same way
11.Ask if they understand your concerns
12.Ask them what they suggest you can do as a team to work more effectively
13.Validate their confidence level in you
14.Validate that you are acting within your authority
15.Do not be condescending, argumentative or overbearing
16.Follow up conversation with confirmation in writing.
17.Get a commitment from them verbally and follow it up your understanding in writing.

If you have followed my newsletters or attended one of my seminars you will remember that according to “Gman” the definition of a commitment is an agreement to do something…..anything…but an agreement just the same!

What you should hope to accomplish is the opportunity to gather a barrel full of information that can help you plan, execute and/or include them so that they feel warm and cozy as well. The goal is to uncover why they choose to put up a wall when no wall is needed. Then develop a plan you can all live with and work it to the max. This issue is huge and all scenarios can’t possibly be covered in a few short paragraphs, but I certainly hope this helps.

As always, please accept my wish for a tremendous week. If I can ever be of assistance to you or your organization, please call or write and I will respond immediately! Your suggestions and questions for future newsletters are always welcome.


George F. Mancuso, CPC, CEO (AKA, The Gman)
Client Growth Consultants, Inc.