Win-Win is an Expensive Luxury

Published on: 11:00AM May 13, 2014

Colorado Cattle   USDA NRCSFrom Legacy Moment (05.09.2014).
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If your goal is consensus -- on any measure related to succession or family business -- it's not going to happen. Consensus, unanimous agreement, allows a dissenter to dictate the outcome and control the conversation. He or she will always find a reason not to agree, settle or compromise.

Succession is about defining common goals and focusing on what's best for the operation, the family and the owners. In the planning process, someone has to speak for the operation. It's the only presence at the table that doesn't have a voice. If it did, the ranch would implore the owners and the family to manage its resources in a manner that allows it to continue to endow the family for generations to come.

The fallacy of win-win is costing a lot of families their peace of mind and the very ranches that previous generations have spent lifetimes piecing together. To generate a good family meeting, succession plan, contract negotiation or anything else that involves two or more, requires compromise on all sides.

So it's much healthier to realize that, in the end, everyone's going to be a bit unhappy. They should walk away saying, "It may not be exactly what I wanted, but we've created something that will endow the family for generations to come."

As you engage in the family meeting, clearly define your goals and check for undue expectations. Success in the family meeting should be measured in outcomes that may be based on:

• Compromise
• Care
• Intent
• Patience
• Commitment

Let me know how we can help. Write to Ask Kevin today.

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 Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.