Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

Most who reach out to me have attended one of my family business workshops. They understand the foundation and facts of my work. They know I only agree to work with family businesses that are ready to take action. No more excuses. But, that doesn't mean those in family business won't choose the "excuse" option first.

Following is a list of the most common excuses I've heard as to why those in family business don't (or won't) address the issues that could tear the family and the business apart. I reached out to Facebook friends to learn what they've heard. Some posted on my page, but far more flooded me with private messages. I could have listed more than a hundred. Instead, here is the "Top 25":

1. That's how my folks did it.

2. Just thinking about the people involved and the underlying issues makes my stomach hurt. Talking about them would make it worse.

3. Once I'm dead the family can deal with it.

4. I don't want them to think I'm greedy.

5. It doesn't matter what I think.  They'll do what they want anyway.

6. We tried it before and it didn't work.

7. I've always been a quiet person.

8. We can't do anything because the in-laws are the problem.

9. There is already so much resentment. If we ever start, the whole volcano will erupt.

10. If I don't agree with them, they'll hold a grudge and make working around them even harder.

11. If I really told them what was on my mind, they might cut me out of the will.

12. If I really told them what was on my mind, they might quit and leave.

13. If I make them mad, they might not let me see the grandchildren.

14. Work hard…then maybe the problem will just go away.

15. Bringing these things up will just cause more problems.

16. We have so much work to do, we don't have time to deal with this.

17. There's nothing to worry about. It's all going to work out in time.

18. I just want it to be fair.

19. If I transition the business, there won't be anything left for me to do.

20. You don't have to think about this. It's all taken care of.

21. It's Mom's farm. She can do what she wants.

22. No one else has the passion to farm like me.

23. I don't trust the ways of the next generation. They want to change everything.

24. I built this farm.  I will do with it what I want.

25. If we ever sat down to discuss the issues, you can count on this: some will cry, one will leave, and others will be silent and just look down. And for sure one will take over by belittling, talking or giving others the "you're so stupid" look until we submit. Nothing is resolved, but someone wins.

Many times family members have made numerous attempts to place the "issues" on the table, but the excuses halt progress.  When I am invited to lead the meeting for progress and resolution, I have very clear guidelines for the behaviors of those in attendance. In my opinion, here are two of the most important:

• Silence means consensus. You should know in advance the family business topics that are to be discussed. If you say nothing (including not asking questions or offering insight or solutions), your silence says you agree with whatever the others decide.

• If you choose to walk out, that means you want the others to work on the "issues" and you will support whatever is decided.

Please understand, many of the excuses have a nugget of truth in them, and almost all carry emotion. That's why active communication and being present are requirements. Easy? No. But the alternative of a broken family and business because we weren't willing to stop making excuses is not a better option.

Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. Jolene's books, "Holy Crap! I Married a Farmer!" Joy-filled Lessons Connecting Our Sisters in Agricultureand Sometimes You Need More Than a 2x4! How-to-tips to successfully grow a family business are available online at www.JoleneBrown.com. For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at Jolene@JoleneBrown.com.

Full Rights Consent.  Jolene Brown LLC, West Branch, Iowa, USA, maintains full rights to utilize the content and/or format of all materials submitted by her for the www.PinkTractor.com website in any future speaking, writing, audio, video or electronic format.

Copyright © 2017 Jolene Brown, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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