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"Managing Pings, Dings, Tags, DM’s, Texts and 'Got a Minute?' Interruptions in Family Business"



I strongly believe the results and impact in our family business starts with our own psychology as business owners. We need to be clear about how we can contribute most effectively, based on our strengths, experience, and inner wisdom. With that clarity comes the confidence to not say yes to every request for our time. This can also lead to our own self management of our devices, choosing to put them into a drawer, go to airplane mode, or whatever else is necessary.


Our physical environment can make a powerful impact on our ability to focus and move important work forward. A statement such as “I’m focussed on valuable work right now” may be posted at our desk and on our door, to remind ourselves and our team that we are in the focus zone. This can be flipped over when we have the capacity and bandwidth to collaborate, answer questions, and provide direction.


Communication is also essential. I always found it helpful to let my team know how I prefer to receive requests. Perhaps you prefer a quick text to an email, a phone call to a slack notification. It's important to share this, perhaps even multiple times if a team member reverts to their preferred style. I know I had to do this with my own team a few times before it sunk in. The key is to make sure people have some of your undivided attention when they do need it so that they can move forward feeling empowered, confident, and aligned with your organization’s core values.


When I was in the process of becoming the succession for my parents’ business, I knew that my father was still actively selling and servicing life insurance to our clients, while I was servicing and selling property and casualty insurance. My need to learn and grow the necessary skills had to be balanced with our respective responsibilities.

To be perfectly honest, we did not set up the most effective structure. I learned on the fly without a system that, in hindsight, could have been far more effective for me in taking over the reins.


If I was to do it over again, I would make sure we set up regular mentorship meetings, that we created a win win succession plan strategy, and that we had a shared vision of what the successful transition would look like.


With the right structure in place, and with clear communication with ourselves and our team members, we can manage interruptions and distractions in a post Covid workplace, and continue to do meaningful work.


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