Search
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Family Business Center

Ira-isms: "If you think outside my box, I'll think outside your box"

the antithetical ponderings of Ira Bryck (feel free to quote, with attribution)

  • If your family business could more successfully navigate difficult discussions and make difficult decisions, how specifically might you be better off or different than you are today?
  • How will you detect, immunize from, defend against, what is lurking in your blind spot?
  • What sport or game is your business most similar to? What other sport or game would it be more helpful to think of it as? (to be able to change the rules, the goals, the plays, etc.)
  • What is the big competitive advantage of the family members in your company? How can you leverage it better?
  • What are the big differences between how you see your company, and how your employees, suppliers and customers see it? What are the implications and consequences of those disparities?
  • What would you ask your future self (you, in 2017) so you could know now what you'll know then?
  • If your company could have either super strength or invulnerability, which would you choose?
  • How bad does it need to get for you to say "it's not good enough"?
  • Do you challenge your assumptions and find out they're all correct? Who can help correct that ironic flaw in your thinking?
  • If you could hire a magic genie, what would be his/her job description?
  • What are you doing in your family business that is hurting your family relationships, that is then hurting your business, and how can you stop doing that?
  • Fill in the blank: "A (work task) a day keeps the psychiatrist away." (also: What aspect of your job makes you want a shrink on retainer?)
  • In what ways is your role in the business quite different than your role in the family? How are those differences both beneficial and detrimental?
  • What are you accidentally or unconsciously rewarding in your family business? (i.e. incompetence? low self esteem? undeserved self esteem? eating the golden goose?)
  • How would you do your job differently if you won a huge lottery, but decided to stick with it?
  • What weakness or personality quirk are you parading around as a strength or bedrock of your character? What would happen if you "improved" by dealing with it?
  • What are you avoiding dealing with that is causing you more problems than if you just dealt with it ?
  • What are you most grateful for NOT having or NOT happening that have made your life what it is today?
  • What did you learn about yourself from many years of working that will make retirement a fruitful and passionate time for you?
  • Is there some way in which you are "fake it till you make it"? What are you doing to "make it"?
  • "What are your best and worst abilities of your favorite sport or hobby, and how does that compare to your best and worst abilities in your business?"
  • "Is there something you ought to be doing, a "best practice" that you cannot make happen, because it's just not a good fit? What is the 2nd best practice, that may achieve 80% of the goal with much less effort and aggravation?"
  • "Consider that old saying "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." In what way would your company benefit if you did get out of the way?"
  • Stay in our Loop!
    email: