Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Papa Bear, Big Bear and Little Bear: A True Family Business Story

(While the story is true, names have been changed to protect those involved.)

In the cold northern part of this beautiful country, there is the Widget Manufacturing Company (WMC) run by the Bears family.

WMC was originally started by Papa Bear, who had two sons. His elder son, Big Bear grew up to become the big CEB (Chief Executive Bear) of a large banking chain, whereas Little Bear joined WMC as a sales man. As one day Little Bear also "wanted" to be the CEB, eventually Papa Bear took the back seat and promoted Little Bear to CEBship. Little Bear was so "happy". Everywhere he went, he made sure people knew he was THE CEB of WMC.

Well, some time went by and WMC wasn’t doing so well anymore. Finally, being unsure what to do, about a year ago, they hired a Coach Bear who understood business and family business dynamics. He went to visit WMC spending couple of days with the Bear Family at their company. One the visit, Coach Bear spent some one-to-one time with Little Bear both on inside of the company as well as on some client visits.

What the Coach Bear observed was that when Little Bear was on customer visits, he became the playful bear. Little Bear loved talking to his clients, helping them solve their problems and making deals, and then when he would return to the company, his demeanor changed and he became so serious and unhappy.

Puzzled, Coach Bear took him aside and got him talking. Well, after some time, Little Bear opened up his heart and shared that he really didn’t enjoy being the CEB and he only aspired to that position because in his heart he always felt that Papa Bear loved Big Bear more because he was the CEB and that too of a big banking chain. Little Bear, in his heart, had been feeling he wasn’t good enough and thought if he also became a CEB, his papa would love him too.

Well, hearing this, Coach Bear realized it’s time to take Papa Bear and Little Bear out to lunch and facilitate a heart-to-heart conversation. There he gently got the Little Bear to open up and share his feelings with Papa Bear, who was clearly surprised to hear what Little Bear was saying. Long and short of it is that Papa Bear assured Little Bear that he loves him just as much as he loves his big brother. And that to him they both were his sons and he loved them just the same, and that it didn’t matter if they were CEBs or not. As this was taking place, Coach Bear seeing the tears of joy streaming down Little Bear's face, felt his own emotions come up, feeling immense joy at seeing this father and son come together.

In the end, Papa Bear went back to being the CEB, which he enjoyed, and Little Bear went back to doing what he enjoyed the most and did the best, to selling and being out and about with the customers. This clearing and the shift lead to WMC starting to grow again and everyone was happy. What especially made Coach Bear happy was knowing Little Bear was feeling loved and doing more of what he loved and did the best.

The End.

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