Hazing in the Family Business
I’ll never forget my first day in our family business when I had completed my morning shift and took a break for lunch. The warehouse manager asked me if my father was going to take me out for the customary steak lunch for all new hires. I went upstairs, walked into my father’s office and told him I was ready to go for my steak lunch. He looked at me with a confused stare and told me he never takes a new employee out for lunch on the first day. His confused stare was only matched by the laughter of the warehouse manager when I returned to my post after lunch. I realized I had been hazed by the warehouse manager as part of the ritual for new employees.
What job positions do family members assume when they first enter the family business?
Some of us come in at the bottom of the organization chart in a line position and work their way up, while others land into management level positions and take control more quickly. Here are some of the differences: More…
Full Disclosure: I’m a Red Sox fan.
Despite this, I couldn’t help but notice the great “family business” story behind the “other” team in this year’s World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals:
- The Cardinals are a third generation family-controlled business. (the DewItts are majority owners, and there are also a significant number of minority non-family members)
- It is managed by a father-son team (father majority owner and son is President)
- No nepotism – Both worked their way through the organization
- Professionally managed – run like a business, outside non-family minority investors
- Long-term view – They have achieved a good balance between building a team over time and the impatience of fans wanting to win it now.
- Financial discipline – with a team payroll of $116 million, they are slightly above average. They passed on re-signing their franchise free agent Albert Pujols, deciding not to “break the bank” but rather keep to their long-term strategy
It must be working, they are consistently finishing in the top of their division, winning the World Series in 2011 and just missing in 2012.