Gabija Grušaitė on Translating ideas into businessAuthor of Stasys Šaltoka, Co-Founder of Qoorio & Vieta3 months ago
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on how we tend to reduce knowledge by narrating it: "Both the artistic and scientific enterprises are the product of our need to reduce dimensions and inflict order on things. Think of the world around you, laden with trillions of details. Try to describe it and you will find yourself tempted to weave a thread into what you are saying. Narratives spare us from complexity of the world and shield us from its randomness. Myths impart order into disorder of human perception and the perceived chaos of human experience. " Now this applies to all of us, but some can handle the unknown better than others. And... There is a test to measure the ability to survive in uncertainty. Cognitive closure test would help you to identify your relationship with uncertainty. Would you like to try the test?
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Algimantas Časas on Is your idea worth exploring?Founder at sustainable watch bands www.someloops.comabout 2 months ago
Why you should share your ideas with as many people as possible? When you came up with an idea you came with it from your own perspective. Closed environment is challenging for an idea to be as competitive as possible with good go to market strategy. Having feedback about it from as many people as possible (preferably live conversations) is good though game to check or adapt that idea before even starting to test the market. I do believe idea is as important as execution. After gathering feedback you will be able gather feedback on: - weather you communicate it clearly - problem haven't been solved in other way - does the problem exists - what is most lean approach in validating it - after what point it can be profitable - do you have time and persistence to develop it - what partners could be good for it - what is your core motivation in pursuing it You will save lot of time and effort making it the most efficient way possible by gathering knowledge from other people. Should you be afraid of sharing your idea then just start doing it and you will figure out the rest later.

Algimantas ČasasFounder at sustainable watch bands www.someloops.com
Yes, telling your idea to someone let's you understand it through other point of views and makes it more refined and doable 👍🏻 Looking forward!
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Fun Fact: Shopify VS WordPress 1. Shopify powers 1 million Websites around the world. Cost 29/month - 299/month. Limited and requires more paid plugins to get it going. 2. WordPress powers almost half a billion websites around the world. Cost nothing, just web hosting per year about 50$ and free plugins to get it going. Your welcome 😁
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Hannah Binti Azlan on Clarity in Intraspection: Introthinks too much about thinking too much | mental health3 months ago
There wasn’t anything that could have prepared me for my first full-blown anxiety attack. I felt like I was frozen in place but I couldn’t stop shaking. It was like I had tunnel vision; all I could focus on was the trigger and how overwhelming it felt, how I didn’t think I could overcome it, how it felt like no matter how hard I tried - I would never be able to do something about it. Was I not good enough? Did I do something to deserve this? My thoughts would come at a million miles a minute but also fixate on the same topic again, and again. It kept happening like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. I couldn’t escape it. I was so scared. What if I never fixed it? What if this kept happening? What if this was it, this was the end of it? Anxiety doesn’t always feel the same for everyone, but one thing is: it’s your mind and body being in a state of emergency when danger isn’t. Learning to recognise the signs of a panic or anxiety attack is key to learning how to self-soothe and get it under control again.
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Hannah Binti Azlan on Clarity in Intraspection: Introthinks too much about thinking too much | mental health3 months ago
If you ever feel bad for burning out... don’t. It’s normal to be burnt out if you’ve been working hard on things, or even if you’ve been doing the same thing for so long. You might have all the luxuries in the world and you might still burn out. It’s okay, breathe - you’re allowed to have a moment where you’re not okay.
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Povilas Petrauskas on Coach mindset: hobby or businessExecutive coach helping leaders create great tribes
Edited 2 months ago
“The Unlucky SEVEN” - things you need STOP doing and your coaching business will grow. Its a promise? Lets look closer. In my 11+ years of coaching practice I found that it is very easy to do these actions and I call them “The Unlucky SEVEN”. If you are a beginner in coaching - it will be very easy to dive in this routine. Don’t go for the easy way. Better to go for the right one. [1 - Coach everyone] I know that it is easy to say “I can coach everyone” as everybody could benefit from coaching. You are right. They could. But not everybody knows it so first - do your educational part for them and let them decide if they want to be coached. [2 - One man orchestra] Yes, you are good in doing things by your own and you know how to write posts on social media, you know how your website should look like and you even know how to create it and you sure know how to write a sales letter. But you know what is better? Better is together with your team. Maybe not right now but it will be better later so prepare for that. Look for your future team. [3 - Solve client’s problems] I know that you want to help your client to solve his problems. Stop It. You are a coach not a problem solver. Work on your client not on his problem. (S)He created problems by being smaller as a personality so (s)he can solve those problems by becoming bigger, right? Work on client, not on problems. [4 - Learn nothing new] Coaching is not just a profession. It is more like a mindset, lifestyle with huge amount of curiosity - so you can’t stop learning as there are so many things you could learn to be more valuable to your clients (and to yourself too). It easy not to learn. Stop It. More Learning is more Earning too. Actions 5, 6 and 7 still left. Can you relate with first 4? If yes - take a look what can you do differently and in the next insight I will share the rest.

Justas JanauskasCEO @ Qoorio
I am not a coach, yet qoorious to learn 5,6,7
Gabija Grušaitė on Business/Life/Creativity balanceAuthor of Stasys Šaltoka, Co-Founder of Qoorio & Vieta3 months ago
I graduated from Uni in 2009 in the depth of a recession with no jobs available for fresh graduates. 😳 My options were to stay in London and keep hussling between unpaid internships 🙄 and short term gigs in service industry 🍽️, or move back to Vilnius that had even less jobs available, but at least I could live with my family. 😔 Neither of these options seemed ideal. 20s is a beautiful period in life meant for travelling, making mistakes and learning about yourself and life, so this desolate post-crisis Europe was not the best environment for my personal growth. 🤔 At least, that's what I thought at the time. I was 22 years old with no fear of failure and plenty of naivety and stupidity. Who wasn't, right? 😂😂😂 So I went for The Wild Card - a completely crazy option that was outside of "usual" paths. I went to South East Asia, found few freelancing jobs, eventually settled in Penang and had this amazing opportunity to co-found independent art center called Hin bus Depot. ❤️ I had nothing to lose, only gain, while going for "conservative" options would seem safe at the first glance, but in reality there was no gains for me. 🌎🧭 It's counter intuitive, but safe options often lead nowhere. 💚 It turned out really well for me. Plenty of new challenges, new friends, new skills and much deeper grasp of how different and how universal at the same time people are. ❤️ I would not be who I am without these 7 years in Malaysia and I am still in love with Penang. 🇲🇾 My insight is that you always have more than two options. In fact, there are unlimited options once you start thinking outside the box. We often tend to trap ourselves with thinking that "if not this, then this". 🚀🚀🚀 I'm not advocating crazy risks, but rather to open mind for unusual paths that your intuition tells you to follow. 🧳

Thomas DesimpelAngel Investor, Polyglot, Real Estate Investor
Thanks for sharing Gabija. I recognize this path of life. My path lead to Brazil, it was also completely off the path. Nobody can take away those experiences of life and in the long run they pay off somehow. (And now I start to understand as well by the way why Quoorio starts to grow in Malaysia too 😉👌🆒)
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Povilas Petrauskas on Coach mindset: hobby or businessExecutive coach helping leaders create great tribes
Edited about 2 months ago
It's a second insight about the last three actions that most unsuccessful coaches are doing and sometimes they are trying do more of those steps. Sadly - this takes them to the direction they don't want to go. Those steps are easy to do and that is why it's a trap. It takes courage to do it differently. But it is worth to try. Here are the rest three from UNLUCKY SEVEN. [5 - Skip coaching for yourself ] Its one of the points why most coaches (~88%) stays in the same situation when they started coaching training. They know the theory as there were a lot of examples, they are clear about the coaching conversation structure and sure they are really smart people who are willing to help others but... But if you don't have a coach for yourself so who will want to pay you? Sooner or later clients will ask this question: "Who is your coach? " So if you don't have your coach so maybe you don't believe in having one? [6 - Have small plans] If there are two types of coaches so they are rather dreaming/acting BIG or... eh, just the opposite. Just imagine that coach works with several clients and coach's passion is to help them succeed. All of them have the leverage for their dreams - coach. It will be funny to know that with client's dreams the coach has just small plans, right? Small plans leads different direction of what you started. And there are no way like this if the coach has his own coach [#5], focuses on new learnings [#4], have a team [#2] etc. [7 - Work alone as a STAR] Yes, you are big. But when big person is in a community - they all became great! Being with like minded people, together with those who has a needed mindset - everything is more easy and there are more passion to create. Those professionals who works alone they are fighting in the competition battle. Those who are a part of community - create something bigger while all the time sharing their knowledge and leadership. Its a way of not being just a lonely star. Its a way of leading by example. Just take a look at all those SEVEN principles (first 4 were in the previous insight) and find what exactly you are doing. If you can find one or two - its a sign for a change. If you can relate to three or more - i want to encourage you to change, to STOP do those easy things and your coaching business will begin to thrive.
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The paradox in corporate management. I recently discussed with a few top managers in leading IT players about talents and business growth that they can bring. So what do they want? They want to attract top talents to their companies to build innovative business models and enter new industries to ensure at least double-digit growth. How do they want to get it done? Easily and securely. Not to cause problems to the current CxO management layer, to fit one's talent into a tiny corporate square and not to cause damage to existing procedures and methods. Is it real? No. It is not real for sure. You cannot grow & innovate and at the same time, protect current inefficiencies. You cannot protect the mistakes that are hidden in the methods of current operations. In order to grow -- you need to change. So stop wasting talent for the objectives that you genuinely do not want to achieve. Or rethink the way your today’s organization work.
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Let’s discuss how the Sales department should work. Should Salespeople be incentivized for high performance? For hitting targets? Or only for outperforming them? Should they be paid a small or large fixed salary? What are your opinions and experiences? I tend to think that the optimal model is to construct a three-tier salesman compensation strategy: 1) Pay an adequate salary, so the person doesn't need to bother for money so much 2) Pay team bonuses for overall team performance for reaching and exceeding the targets just split the reward equally between team members, so it is perceived as a team effort 3) Finally, add the cherry on the top for individual efforts and extra miles that a particular person is doing. Sharing is caring ;)

Mantas MažūnaPartnerships & Innovations
I’ve tried it all, as individual circumstances require tailored approaches. There were a bunch of mistakes that led to a lack of team spirit and fighting over bonuses. There were success cases as well, but as your product or service is getting complex, your compensation schemes have to adjust and become multilayered as well.
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How do you structure goals in your organization? Do you use any frameworks or tools to do that? I’d believe the most companies rely on measuring some KPI’s. However, in my experience, KPIs are not reflecting the real objectives that organizations are chasing. I have lately been reading on OKR (Objectives and Key Results) and implementing it for my personal goals. It seems that it works straightforwardly! I suggest you check some primary samples on www.okrexamples.co Happy goal reaching! 👏
OKR Examples - Good examples of Objectives and Key results
www.okrexamples.co

Mantas MažūnaPartnerships & Innovations
However, I would still encourage people to apply this method for small departments/companies or personal goals to get a better understanding of which Key Results you have to focus your attention on moving towards the Objective. As sometimes one can feel confused, it helps with analyzing which consequence is reached by a particular cause.
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Hi qooritos! How to train your creativity muscle? A vital part of today’s startup is content marketing. Not only you show that you an industry expert with interesting insights, but over time can share long term vision and it becomes easier to lead others. Unfortunately, you cannot get lots of help from copywriters, since they will be telling their version of future, not yours. So how to keep those content ideas coming? Sharing what works for me. First, always be for lookout for some interesting ideas: whether its a chat with friend, colleague, or news article. The world is full of ideas and as an expert you will naturally react to it. As CEO, you will get privillege of exposure of even more ideas: feedback from customers, employees, industry experts. Some ideas resonate with you, some are b*#&! - either reaction is great. Mark all of them down on the paper so you don’t forget. You will likely discard 90% of the ideas as not newsworthy, but thats ok! Train you creativity muscle. My friend shared the story of Onion writer, who had to produce 25 content sketches per week. No excuses. Initially it sounds hard or almost impossible, but after few weeks it becomes as normal as brushing your teeth. The awesome side-effect is that this creativity spills into product as well. As long as you can filter out crappy ideas in objective way - you are good! Finally, some ideas expire. My product and industry (CityNow - real estate interactive map and news outlet) is changing rapidly. Sometimes I look into sketches of content which I started a month ago, and don’t get excited anymore to write about it or the news are no longer relevant to the audience. It feels like fishing - the fun and productive part is 1% of the time spent. But maybe tomorrow you will get inspiration for your best PR idea? Ready to train your muscle? Write us ([email protected]) your 5 ideas, how you would improve CityNow product and help us. Also let me know what you would like to hear about and lets make it interactive :) Cheers
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Have a lot of thoughts buzzing in the head, but feel crap at articulating them to your team or others? I feel you. It happens to me. ALL.THE.TIME! 🙄 You feel like you have a lot of ideas and have the reasoning why they are great and that you can take over the world with them. But when they come out of your mouth, what you say doesn’t have the same power when you vocalize them. And unfortunately what sounds great in your head just doesn’t translate to anything valuable, impressive or inspiring to your team. Not all of us are born great orators, but when we have a passion, we can talk hours about it. Meaning, we have a bunch of words and sentences around the topic, but the key is to concentrate the most valuable part of the whole idea into a short pitch. So…what to do? Basically you have to practice explaining things to people. Here’s a few tips I from my experience, that I feel helped me a lot: 1️⃣ TREAT IT LIKE A STORY “It all started, when…” Not everyone operates on the same level of information as you do, so even if it feels stupid and common sense most of the time when working in a team, start with giving a back story to why your topic/suggestion/idea is important. This introduction is a great way for you to keep the flow of your talk, have everyone onboard and not jump into the middle of the story where context might get lost for people that have less information about what you are telling. 2️⃣ HAVE A PLAN Have the end goal in your head, where you want the listeners to be taken to by your story. Even if what you will be telling or discussing goes all different directions, you will have this powerful lighthouse - the main point that you want to conclude to. 3️⃣ BE PREPARED if you have time, let’s say - have a meeting about something - do some research and challenge your idea asking WHY it is important to discuss and HOW it could be perceived different than you think. In that case - you will feel solid if you get these questions, will express your opinion more firmly, taking possible doubts into consideration, and increase the chance that conclusions will be made as you expected. 4️⃣ MAKE IT FLOW Thoughts usually are very chaotic. In our heads, they are random keywords which you roughly know how to combine into this huge concept. Try putting your thoughts into text. When you do this exercise, you will be faced with a challenge of construction - have to write it down so that it has structure, flows nicely and makes sense in general. After doing so, you will have the structure in your head: what is starts from, why it matters, how you propose to approach it and what value will this idea bring to listeners. 🙃 P.S. See what I did here? I think Qoorio insights are a great way to start practising structuring your talks and inspiring your team 😉
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Here’s another tip - if you’re looking for a specific piece of furniture, search for ir in its country of origin. So, for example, if it’s a Minotti sofa you’re after, try checking ebay.it, if it’s a set of Hans Wegner wishbone chairs, your best bet is sourcing it in Denmark. Oh, and local classifieds sites are pure gold - dba.dk in particular, if you’re into midcentury classics of Wegner, Poul Henningsen, Kai Kristiansen and so on. Translate the whole website with google translate ans search away!
eBay | Tecnologia, moda, fai da te: prodotti nuovi a prezzo fisso
ebay.it
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Justas of Qoorio asked me: "Thomas, what's your story of becoming an angel tech investor ?" Short answer: "The totally different and new network of founders and co-investors and the continuous learnings and new insights that break you outside of your social bubble" Very Qoorious ☝️😊🤗 of filosofy, (part) of the reasons I am on this network to have my daily Qoorious coffee/readings .. Longer answer (and as a bonus I will let you know how I ended up as the only Belgian, so far😊, until this moment on Qoorio, at least to my knowledge.) "As a Belgian living in Brazil where I set up my own real estate investing company from scratch (as foolish as this looks in hind sight when writing this down, in the beginning I couldn't speak even Brazilian Portuguese- but that's another story), I worked almost day and night while also had to give a lot of attention towards my family whom I had brought over from Belgium with me and they also faced the same problems (new school, new language, new house, totally new social environment etc). "My work universe was (and still is) a network of trusted Brazilian real estate lawyers, brokers, real estate developers, my accountant a few free lancers (real estate scouts, architects). With this people I have worked very closely during a number of years." "While doing so, after some years, some Belgians from my 'old' home country started to contact me and asked spontaneous help to introduce them to and help them with things like setting a local company themselves, referring to have a good accountant, commercial introductions, helped them to translate (meanwhile I became quite fluent in Portuguese) .... I started to realise I had something to offer...and the seed of becoming a business angel was planted." "Also doing so, broke my old social network and I met totally new people from outside of my network with different/other views/insights/experiences....and that was the second seed of becoming a business angel" "After a failed first investment in a start up, I realised I lacked training/education in the business angel world." "After moving back from Brazil to Belgium I decided to follow a number of angel investment classes where at the same time I learned how syndicates were working" "I couldn't find the specialised trainings in Belgium so I found a course in the Netherlands. I very much liked it and learned a lot. I asked the organizers how did they start. They learnt it them selves from other investors/copied the program from Estonia. So I took lessons online/offline from Estonia." "In Estonia I asked the organizers from the Nordic Angel Program why/how they decided to launch an investor program...seemed they learnt it themselves/copied from Fiban (association of Finnish business angels) and some angels of FIBAN in Estonia invited me to Helsinki to "learn from the source"... "And so I ended up in Helsinki...taking lessons and networking /investing together in one Finnish start up. (The idea/filosofy of those programs is not only learning in theory but also Do-ing it, making a real due diligence /vetting process)" "In Helsinki I was approached by a Baltic VC who wanted to learn more from my Brazilian experiences as one of this start-up's started to get active over there and checked if I could help them potentially...Offcourse✌️😉..." " I liked his investment approach and learned he was launching a new fund...the first investment turned out to be....,🙌🤗 Qoorio" And so Justas that's how I became an angel investor and enthusiastic supporter of Qoorio 👌👍 and the first Belgian on your network. Hereunder a picture of Brazilian art, it's a group of people going in group from one place to another and that's how I feel about life and angel investing.

Stephen BrooksEntrepreneur & Acapella Singer
Great story, thanks Thomas!
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Agne Nainyte on Strategy deployment with Hoshin KanriDigital Transformation | Process Excellence | Women Empowerment3 months ago
What a great example of another successful transformation journey from Best Buy which was heavily struggling with increased pressure from online retailers such as Amazon. These are my key takeaways what the new CEO Hubert Joly and his team did very well: - Went to gemba right away and listened to the shop floor problems. - Focus on people to increase employee engagement. Much research confirms that more engaged employees translate into happier customers and higher financial performance. - Smartly turned weaknesses into strengths. Best Buy was aware that many are coming to their store to check the product physically and later buy it online. So they took a risky move and matched the prices with Amazon. - Built strong relationships with clients instead of focus on one-off sale deal. https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/amazon-almost-killed-best-buy-then-best-buy-did-something-completely-brilliant.html
Amazon Almost Killed Best Buy. Then, Best Buy Did Something Completely Brilliant
www.inc.com
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Justas Janauskas asked me: "Mangirdai, I would love to ask you a question and you to answer it publicly. Can you explain in simple words what GPT3 is, how it works, who can use it, and what can be done with it?” My answer: GPT-3 was released in the beginning of June by OpenAI. It is an invite only API. GPT-3 is one of the most hyped tech in recent years. My opinion it is overhyped by new startups trying to use the hype for product launch or money raising. Let’s dig deeper. GPT-3 is transformer based language model. It is a successor to GPT-2 and GPT-1. Transformers type neural networks are an ongoing1 trend demonstrating better performance. GPT-3 idea is simple - it is trained to correctly predict the next word in a sentence. Model could be adapted to other tasks as well. GPT-3 works with text. It can answer questions, generate articles. Even translate text terminal commands or generate code(although such demos should be taken with the grant of salt). GPT-3 real innovation is its ability to adapt to new(unseen) tasks. Good results or sometimes state-of-the-art results could be achieved showing only 16-32 new task examples. This is important - training neural networks from zero is very hard. GPT-3 API lowers the barrier for product development by small startups. Unfortunate model is not open source and available as an invite only API(API will be paid going further). On the other hand similar results could be achieved with GPT-2/BERT/other models with custom training. Some good reviews so far: https://blog.rasa.com/gpt-3-careful-first-impressions/ https://minimaxir.com/2020/07/gpt3-expectations/
GPT-3: Careful First Impressions
blog.rasa.com

Thomas DesimpelAngel Investor, Polyglot, Real Estate Investor
Thanks for sharing Mangirdas Adomaitis I learned something new and interesting 👌
5 tips to planning your perfect holiday A) Use the help of aggregator sites such as skyscanner for airlines and Trivago for hotels but always make your purchases from the airline / hotel itself because sometimes going through a 3rd party site causes problems like bookings being lost B) Get a translator app if you're going to a foreign country. The kind that helps you type in your chosen language and is translated in written foreign language or spoken foreign language for locals in that country to understand and help you. This is because not every country speak English as a native language esp Korea. So you're gonna have to get creative C) Get cost savings by using sites like Klook which is famous for asian countries deals and discounts. I got my Korea Rail pass, portable wifi and sim card as well as theme park tickets to Lotte World on Klook and I saved quite a bit vs buying it on the spot D) Use tools like google streetview to help you gauge the neighbourhood and surrounding area of a particular place you're interested in. This will help you have an idea if you like the neighbourhood before you decide to book it / is it safe for a solo traveller / too many slopes for older travellers or people with bad knees. E) Research, Research and Research Its the only full proof method to a well planned trip without any unplanned surprises. This also helps you maximise your number of days at that particular location and making sure you visit everything that tickles your fancy without any unforeseen circumstances I love planning full-proof trips and I spend months planning them. If you would like any advise or help planning your trips for you, happy to do so.
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Agne Nainyte on Crash course on LEANDigital Transformation | Process Excellence | Women Empowermentabout 1 month ago
Over the last few weeks I was deeply involved into a business performance management topic. This made me realize how much myself and maybe some of you, apply the same principles in our personal lives. Measuring our happiness with success KPI’s from professional life feels to me a bit outdated. 👉 check out my blog post with my thoughts on this topic. I am very interested in your thoughts! https://nainyte.com/2020/personal-development/are-there-kpis-for-happiness/
Are there KPIs for happiness? - Nainyte.com
nainyte.com

Agne NainyteDigital Transformation | Process Excellence | Women Empowerment
Good point Marius!
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During my professional career as a wealth manager I had a privilege to work with the first and second generation of wealth creators. We discussed quite many angles of their wealth starting from the sources of accumulation to expected or targeted investment performance, however, one theme was extremely rare. It is succession planning. Succession planning is a process. It's not like flipping on a light switch, or even changing a light bulb one time and then ignoring it. Succession planning is, you might say, a full contact sport, because it requires the current leadership of an enterprise to really roll up their sleeves and dig into the details of the business. The purpose of the effort is to thoughtfully identify and develop a comprehensive strategy for the transition of management, ownership, and control of a family enterprise, but unfortunately many families don't focus on succession planning proactively. They treat it reactively once a triggering event has already occurred, such as the death of the family patriarch or the retirement of a family business CEO. It's worth for families to think of succession planning as beginning much, much further out than that triggering event, because the trigger isn't when you plan, it's when the plan you have gets implemented, and its effectiveness is tested. The plan is what you develop before during calmer times. For business owners that haven't yet started succession planning, what is the first question they need to consider when thinking about eventual succession? The first question is always the same, and that is, what is your goal for undertaking the succession planning in the first place? In other words, what direction are you headed in? Fundamentally, family owned businesses can be transitioned in really only a handful of ways. First, you can pass on a business to the younger generations in the family, thereby creating or continuing a multigeneration family business. Second, you can sell the business either through a private sale or listing it on a public exchange, so basically realizing liquidity while transferring ownership and control outside the family. Finally, there are some hybrid options, which sometimes might include something like transferring ownership to key employees or the like, but basically, those are most fundamentally the end results here. So, next, though, it's important to assemble a team because succession planning is multidisciplinary, and you're going to need multidisciplinary expertise, and then thinking about your team, you might draw upon key employees or existing family or business advisors, members of the family or external advisors who specially work with families on transition and governance, but consider though that eventually you'll need your plan to include a variety of important elements including business, estate planning and wealth or liquidity management issues. So, entering these questions alone and what direction you're heading in, and who do you want to serve on your team can often take quite a bit of time, and families need to think about their goals and flesh these questions out more fully long before they knock into their attorney's office to draft a new operating agreement or trust structure. Those goals are the driver or the foundation of everything else, and it's worth taking time to get that part right. From what size on and type of business is it worth it or needed to do a succession plan? If the goal of succession planning is to ensure a smooth transition from one generation to the next, then any business, regardless of the size of the type that has that goal in mind, should engage in succession planning. Really, the size of the business, the value of the business, and even the industry that the business operates in is largely irrelevant for this purpose. It has everything to do with the family. How transparency and communication comes into the process? Is everyone involved? Communication is absolutely fundamental to this process. In study after study, the key characteristics of families who have successfully maintained family wealth for three generations or more, it boils down to three things, and those are communication, organization, and a shared set of beliefs or values, and interestingly, demonstrating those three traits is even more predictive for maintaining family wealth successfully than it is employing strategies for tax minimization or maximizing investment returns. This is not to say that you must be fully transparent about your questions or concerns for future succession from day one - pitting children against one another is not an effective plan for identifying a CEO. Instead, by failing to communicate with interested parties, or choosing perhaps to involve only those who are employed by the family business in family meetings, is a recipe for discontentment and discord among those who are excluded, and eventually, that dynamic paves the way for potential litigation among family members in the future. What about family philanthropy? How does it play a role in the succession planning process? Family philanthropy is one of the best ways to engage younger generations. Those who work in philanthropy like to say that philanthropy are your values and actions. So, what better way to teach your children or grandchildren what you believe in than by actually acting on those values together through shared philanthropy? Even if they're too young to hold a decision-making power, why not allow them to listen into the meetings where grant-making decisions are made. As an example, a family may allow the youngest generation to actually recommend nominal sized grants at one of their meetings. Family may challenge the children, as young as 10 years old, to come up with a cause that each of them cared about. The ideas might go to wanting them to give to their local school, supporting animals, which is of course very popular among young kids, and actually then helping to improve a local park. The kids then gain a deep sense of satisfaction from this process and feel more closely connected to the family’s philanthropy, and the parents end up learning something about their children and about how they perceive the world, so it’s truly a win-win.
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Philanthropy vs Corporate Social Respondibility While both philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have the potential to be very effective and are indeed relied upon by those in the charity and not-for-profit sectors, they are very different. The differences between the two can be measured in the return that flows back to the giver. Businesses who engage with the charity sector like to believe that they are doing more than just donating a portion of their net profit to their chosen charity, and in effect have a corporate social responsibility program in place. Truth be known, many businesses who believe they are engaged in CSR, are really only engaged in corporate philanthropy. What is the difference between the two? Philanthropy is often defined as using wealth to bring about social change. A ‘philanthropist’ is a bit like a venture capitalist in the not-for-profit sector; they make a decision to invest a portion of their wealth to bring about social change in something they believe in. There may be an investment of their time and knowledge, but more often than not, the support is financial. The philanthropists desire to participate beyond that can vary, but often they are happy to support from an at arms length. While they will likely seek to find out the impact their funds have achieved for the charity, they will usually not get involved beyond that. For businesses of all sizes that engage in CSR (this domain is not limited to corporate enterprises as the name might suggest), it is in their interest to be involved beyond simply giving money. If a business can turn their CSR into a profit centre, then they are more likely to deepen their engagement, stay strong during hard economic times, and—as they see their CSR have a positive impact upon their own business—give more. A CSR program that is built on the back of a shared experience—wherein there has been the opportunity to engage with a charity beyond a monetary transaction—is likely to return business benefits such as improved morale, increased staff retention, status as an employer of choice, attracting new business, and differentiation from competitors. These benefits are seldom achieved through the donation of money and money alone. If corporate CSR program is limited to the CEO greenlighting donation request received, then in fact it’s not a CSR program, but rather corporate philanthropy. Neither are wrong and one is not better than the other, but if a business engages in a more engaged form of giving with clear objectives in terms of KPIs and ROI from the program, all of those involved will benefit, and therein lies the magic.
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