Amateurs v. Pros

The Family.Inc Newsletter - Issue No. 12 - Amateurs v. Pros

Newsletter No. 12 – March 29th, 2024
Written by a human. 

“Amateurs wait for someone to recognize their position, tap them on the shoulder, and give them a big opportunity. Professionals go show people what they are capable of with no expectations.”

Are you an amateur or a pro?

Specifically, if you’re in a family enterprise, looking for respect from your family and non-family management, are you acting like an amateur or a professional?

When I start working with a new family client, the difference between a pro family and an amateur family is quickly evident.

Let me highlight a few (but not all) of the observations I’ve had of pro families:

  • Pro families have a clear “why” for their family and their enterprise. They have spent time thinking about the reason for the existence of their enterprise and their family’s involvement; then they codify that and talk about it often at corporate and family gatherings.
  • Pro families talk openly about the responsibilities and expectations that accompany privilege.
  • Pro families establish expectations and procedures for how a family member enters the business, grows in their responsibilities, and earns a promotion (and thereby, earns the respect of everyone in the company).
  • Pro families make generational investments, sometimes sacrificing short-term profit for long-term returns.
  • Pro families surround themselves with colleagues who will challenge them and elevate their enterprise, not those willing to bend in appeasement.
  • Pro families know how and when to wear different hats; sometimes it’s the family fedora and sometimes the owner’s beret.
  • Pro families view boards not as a burden but a blessing.

If after careful reflection you find you (and/or your family) are still playing in the minor leagues, admit this and then make a conscious decision to do the hard work of becoming a pro, after all, every pro started as an amateur.

– Josh Gentine

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