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Keeping it in the family

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A great story today in the NYT earlier this month about Brooke Denihan Barrett, co-CEO of Denihan Hospitality Group, and the culture at her business as it relates to employing family members.

The interviewer asked her about the culture at her company, and she described it as a big family, then sort of corrected herself. Here’s the money quote:

But I always have to be careful when I use that word “family,” because a lot of times it can be misinterpreted as taking care of people to the point of not holding them accountable. You have to set certain standards that you want people to live up to. And if people need help, then we want to help them along the way.

I think people naturally want to do the right thing, and do their jobs well. Sometimes organizations can fall down if they don’t also ask: How do you give people the tools they need to be successful? How do you get that person to understand what change needs to happen, and how do you help them along the way? Because people can’t always figure it out on their own, and nor should you expect them to.

I love her focus on having standards to hold everyone accountable. And it’s the owners job to ask the questions – regardless of the employee’s last name – like “What else do you need from me or this company to be successful?” or “Do you know what’s expected of you?”

We cover family businesses almost every issue, but we gave three of them the cover a couple of years ago to find out in detail how they make it work.

Thanks to Marty for the link.


May 28th, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Posted in business

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