Leading A Family Business To Success

Today’s blog takes a unique turn from our usual Culture of Leadership posts. This time, it’s our very own Brendan Rogers, sharing his insights from The Financial Bloke podcast with Ben Law. Ben, focusing on aiding family business owners to success, dives into a conversation with Brendan about tackling the challenges of leading teams, whether in farming, agribusiness or any industry.


Senior couple and another man having a consultation in the office - Family business


Brendan’s Leadership and Coaching Journey

Coaching has been woven into Brendan’s journey from the very beginning, starting with sports. This foundation led him to navigate large teams, facilitate groups, and spearhead significant projects like global system implementations and various business improvements. Throughout this experience, he gained a rock-solid work ethic and a hunger to learn.

Brendan’s commitment to learning has paved the way for incredible opportunities. He has worked with diverse cultures, led various teams, and been involved in projects of all sizes. Where he stands today is a result of this journey, showcasing his strong work ethic and constant desire for learning that kept propelling him forward.


The Key Areas of Leadership

Brendan defines leadership as simply about taking deliberate action to develop your character, build your competence, and create connections so that you can elevate yourself and others. 

Develop Character

Building character is all about realizing your potential for self-improvement, and it involves being open and vulnerable. Focus on developing humility, awareness, and a commitment to continuous learning. Humility means being honest about your weaknesses and welcoming feedback from others to improve. You also have to be aware of how you can be triggered by certain events, situations, and environments, so you’re responding in a much more controlled way. Additionally, having team awareness involves noticing subtle cues in your team members, like a teammate who’s fidgeting, which could indicate anxiety. It’s these small adjustments that contribute to personal and team growth.

Get into helpful books, podcasts, YouTube, mentorship, or coaching. Be self-reliant. If you hit a roadblock, be resourceful enough to find the information you need or to find the person who can help you get that information.

Build Competence

Good leadership focuses on building your competence in various areas. You should know how to run effective one-on-one meetings and master the skills needed for successful team meetings. Getting everyone on the same page within the team is also a crucial skill that leaders need. You might not need to know all the details, but you should always aim for excellence. It’s about thinking you can always do better and keeping a mindset that’s open to improvement.

Create Connections

Leadership is all about people – the relationships we build. When you invest in your character and skills, trust naturally grows. This trust forms a stronger connection, allowing you to coach and support others in their personal development. It’s like having a solid system in place for working with people effectively.

Elevate Yourself

One of the pinnacles of leadership is the ability to elevate others and put other people’s interests first. One of Brendan’s mentors advised him to never be the limit in the team’s performance. If you’re not consistently working on your improvement, you risk hitting a ceiling. What this means is that you should continuously improve yourself. By being always a step ahead, you are ensuring the ongoing development for both you and your team. 


Three men working at the office - Family business


Running Team Meetings of 5 or 50 Team Members

Not all teams are made of 50-100 members. In agribusinesses, where many workers are also family members, teams often consist of only a few people working together. However, a family business typically lacks structured meetings mainly because the team members already have a strong relationship with each other. 

Brendan suggests a simple approach for these teams:

  1. Daily Check-in – Start the day with a quick administrative chat. Ask about each person’s top three focuses for the day. This provides alignment on the team’s daily goals and plans.
  2. Weekly Operational Meetings – Hold a weekly meeting to discuss operational or tactical matters. Focus on what needs attention in the next seven days.
  3. Strategic Meetings – Reserve time for strategic discussions, especially for businesses dealing with clients or long-term plans. These conversations delve into the financial impact over the next few years or decades.


The worst meeting to have is a meeting that happens outside of the room. – Brendan Rogers


When you go into these family meetings, designating someone to lead and facilitate is crucial. Also, keep in mind that time is valuable, so use it wisely. Brendan emphasizes starting strategic meetings by clearly defining the problem they aim to solve. Aligning everyone on the issue sets the scope of the conversation. As a leader, your role involves unpacking the views around the table, driving action, and making decisions. 


Have you read: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni


Identifying the Team’s Dysfunction

Every team faces some level of dysfunction, whether it’s trust issues, conflicts, commitment challenges, accountability gaps, or a lack of focus on results. Acknowledging this and talking about this is the first step to improving your team’s dynamics.

Around 60% of family successions fail due to trust and communication breakdowns. The leader’s main goal is to ask insightful questions, extract valuable information, and grasp the nuances of the situation. Even in a family setting where it is assumed that the members are close to each other, some things often remain unspoken. Engaging in conversations about each family member’s experiences helps build trust. 

It’s crucial to break those barriers and consistently communicate. This basic yet powerful skill is the driving force that propels teams and leadership positions forward. 


Work On Yourself First

In family-owned businesses, many young individuals face challenges with leadership, feeling overlooked or shut down in conversations. When they come with concerns like, “Mum or Dad won’t let me take over,” Brendan’s advice is simple: work on yourself first.

Your situation might be beyond your control, but you can control your personal growth. For example, if Dad struggles to communicate, become a master communicator to navigate around that. Embrace tough conversations. Address concerns directly by expressing your feelings and seeking understanding. If the first attempt doesn’t work, reflect on your approach. Assess your character and think about what you can do differently next time. Improvement takes time, but if you’re deliberate, persistent, and focused on mastering communication with good intent, you’ll make progress. 


Improving Leadership in A Family Business

Before starting, it’s important to know where to start. The first step should be figuring out the team’s pain points. In a family setting, there should always be a clear leader, and the culture of the organization reflects their leadership. What is happening in the business below is a reflection of what that senior leader is doing or isn’t doing.

Brendan emphasizes the importance of establishing strong foundations, fostering teamwork, and maintaining alignment as a team toward the shared end goal. The goal is to align everyone and ensure that they are committed to the future of the business. From there, it will be all about planning a strategy to take the business from point A to point B, setting scope and time limitations, establishing accountability structures, and making it happen.


One of the key traits I quite often see in successful leaders is the fact that they’re very humble and they believe the problem starts with themselves. The fish rots from their head down, it’s the same in business. – Ben Law


Educating Yourself and Taking Action

Continuous learning is a cornerstone of effective leadership, but it means nothing when you don’t take action. To kickstart your leadership journey, check out Brendan’s workbook on 10 Tips for Confident Leadership – Unlock Your Leadership Potential. It’s not your typical ebook; think of it as an engaging activity book with attached sheets for practical exercises. After going through the workbook, please feel free to share your thoughts about it with Brendan on our social media accounts or through our contact form.

For more stories and a detailed discussion on this topic, you can listen to the full Leading A Family Business To Success episode here. 

What are your main insights from this blog? Share them in the comments section below.

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