More Change Management

Rutgers Forum: Helping Family Businesses

Building Businesses

Girl Scout Wisdom

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These stories were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on October 28, 1998. All rights reserved.

Taking Responsibility: First, Know Yourself

Although he makes his living telling people that just about anyone can change just about anything, Ted Fattaross is certain that there's one thing he can't change -- people's responses to the motivational speeches he gives some 250 times a year before audiences drawn from business, government, education, and the non-profit sector.

"You don't stay on the fence with me," says the self-described recovering workaholic. "You'll either harass me or you'll enlist." In every audience -- and there have been 1,200 over the past five years -- "five percent will shut their eyes and score the presentation a zero," he notes cheerfully.

Why? Because for some people, his message is "just too glaring."

Fattaross conducts programs on sales, teamwork, leadership, stress, entrepreneurship, customer service, self-esteem, conflict resolution, and change and diversity.

On Thursday, October 29, Fattaross will speak at a day-long meeting on "Managing Change" for the New Jersey Bankers Association, the 499 North Harrison Street-based trade group for commercial banks, at Forsgate Country Club. Diane Tracy, author of "Ten Steps to Empowerment" is the keynote luncheon speaker. Other presentations will be made by Robert Cox, president of Summit Bancorp, William Landers, an executive compensation expert, and Joyce St. George and Francis P. Canavan of Pact Training, who will discuss crisis management. Cost: $190. Call 609-924-5550.

Fattaross's presentation to the bankers will be entitled "How to Stay Balanced in an Unbalanced Environment." But no matter what the official title, his core message is something that not everyone is ready to hear. "You have the resources to make yourself happy," Fattaross says in rapid-fire style. "You are responsible to a larger degree than you ever thought for your own position in life. You have a choice, and not making a choice is also a choice. You're responsible for your own destiny."

He should know. Born in Hoboken in 1957, "Ted the Barbarian" was voted by his high-school classmates as "most likely to drive a teacher up the wall" and "least likely to succeed." Although he went to St. Michaels in Vermont with high hopes of a basketball scholarship, his career as student-athlete ended prematurely after the first year. "I was radical and mean," he says, "and had very low self-esteem."

Out of school and out of work, Fattaross became the third generation to join the paper business that his family owned. By age 28, he was general manager. His success earned him a seat on several corporate boards and an invitation to speak to a group of high-schoolers. The latter proved to be a life-changing experience, for in the course of urging the students to follow their dreams, Fattaross realized that his own did not lie in the paper industry.

It took most of another decade before he sold the company, and walked away from the only business he had ever known, determined, despite a phobia about public speaking, to become a public speaker.

That was 1992. The story of his relatively recent transformation from traditional manager to self-styled motivator is what keeps him charging ahead, mixing humor, high energy, and unabashed salesmanship as he guides and goads his audiences into taking their own personal journeys of self-discovery and fulfillment.

"I really don't believe in motivation," he says, in characteristic paradox. "I believe in inspiration, which reflects back to people what's inside them."

Balance is an achievement, he says, and its pursuit an act of deliberation. Among his recommendations:

Know what you're aiming for. Balance should characterize all aspects of life. Seek it in very dimension -- personal, social, financial, physical, psychological.

Take stock. Ask yourself some questions. Balance may be an easy concept to grasp intellectually, but facing facts on a personal level is another matter. "Many people who think they've got it together are just fooling themselves. People are really transparent." Are you punching a clock only for a paycheck? Are you deeply dissatisfied with the position you hold? If you are truly discontented, says Fattaross, you might as well be wearing a sign across your chest, so obvious are your frustrations to everyone around you.

Do the introspection. If you look inward, you will most likely come to recognize the truth in other people's perceptions of you.

Recognize progress. Acknowledging the reality of your own unhappiness or shortcomings is a crucial step on the path to a balanced life.

Assess your environment. What is the general stress level? Is there anything you can do to bring it down, or to mitigate its effects? This is particularly important if you work under "phenomenal" stress, for instance at a stock exchange, where business does not stop "even if a trader dies on the floor."

Remember that physical health is only one component. Do not equate a daily workout with restoring balance to life as a whole. And be careful with your body. Beware "exercise addiction" and "protein overload."

Read. Among the books Fattaross recommends are "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck, "I Could, Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was" by Barbara Sher, and all of Leo Buscaglia's titles.

Rid yourself of toxic relationships. Set up a personal advisory board consisting of persons you have known for three years or less. Toxic relationships tend to linger, and if you limit the board to people you have met recently, that is a way to force a break.

-- Emily Nelson

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More Change Management

In a related morning workshop, Shelly R. Lotti, vice president of training development services at NationsBank's Charlotte headquarters, will discuss whether Web-based electronic performance support systems (EPSS) help to improve employee performance. She will demonstrate an EPSS that is being field-tested in the bank's customer call center.

Delbert Ringquist, dean of the college of extended learning at Central Michigan University, and Craig Schmelzer, executive vice president of Michigan-based MegaTech Engineering, will talk about how they created an innovative partnership.

Later that morning, in one of the workshops on training on the Internet, Richard Billows and Sally Mitsch will tell how to compare in-class results with on-line learning. Their Denver-based project management consulting company, the Hampton Group, does both.

Elsbeth B. Kahn, director of development and technology for Lucent Technologies, will talk about "Learning for Results." Specifically she will focus on how Lucent is determining critical skills, creating a variety of learning options, and creating simple proficiency assessments that each worker can use.

Al D'Augusta, executive vice president of Summit Bank, and Richard G. Conner, a nuclear project engineer for the Omaha Public Power District, will tell how their organizations have linked corporate training with attaining college credits.

Diane Rhodes, manager of customer value and quality at AT&T, will summarize the findings in a concluding session on "Learning as a Competitive Strategy: Making it Work."

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Rutgers Forum: Helping Family Businesses

Over 95 percent of all businesses in the United States are family-owned -- businesses ranging in size from small operations to over one third of the Fortune 500 corporations and generating at least half of the gross national product and total wages in the U.S. Yet fewer than 20 percent survive more than one generation in the hands of the founding family, according to the Rutgers Family Business Forum.

The forum is offering a year long schedule of workshops that address issues critical to family business survival. Communicating about money matters in family business is the topic of the next Forum workshop. Led by Pat and Paul Frishkoff, the interactive seminar entitled "Straight Talk About Money" will be held on Friday, October 30, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cook Campus Center in New Brunswick. Cost: $225, including continental breakfast and lunch. Call 732-445-7504, extension 21, for information.

The Frishkoffs are one of the few couples in the U.S. who specialize in helping family businesses. Pat is founding director of the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University. Paul is professor of business administration at the University of Oregon, where he teaches entrepreneurship, careers, and creativity in business (541- 686-0885 and 541-346-3313).

Money is something that most family businesses find very difficult to discuss. "Some of what we're trying to do is simply give families permission and to give them some tools with which to discuss money," says Pat. To encourage interaction with workshop participants, she and her husband employ a variety of exercises designed to stimulate discussion. "We'll make it easier for them by asking difficult questions and doing it in settings that will be more playful or safer so that issues can come up," Paul says, "We're not going to solve their problems and we hope on the whole not to inflict our advice on them. We just want to get them talking, then we'll simply facilitate."

The team concept is "an unusual approach," Pat admits, but "it became very clear that we could really model family business communications at the podium and that we could also make it more interesting having two presenters instead of one."

Pat comes from what terms a "pretty poor farm family" in upstate New York. Her family lost the farm when her dad got hurt in an accident when she was 16. "So we're one of the family businesses that failed." She has an undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University and a doctorate in business administration from Kent State University.

Paul grew up in and around New York City, and his father's CPA firm is still on Wall Street. He went to Swarthmore and has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Stanford.

An important consideration in discussions of family money is to involve the younger family members and to deal with the transition from senior generation to the younger generation. "Most transitions happen at a funeral, and that's not a very good time for people to learn what the company is all about, how much money is involved, who owes what to whom, who is going to inherit things, because there is too much emotion already there caused by the death," Pat says. "Dialog needs to be established and money issues really need to be dealt with when things are going along pretty well instead of in a highly charged atmosphere."

The younger generation often has questions because information has been withheld. "The answers are often held by the senior generation who isn't sure they want to divulge. If estate plans are not divulged at all, the younger generation worries about the government ending up owning the business de facto," says Paul.

"I'd like to think that at least one member of a given family would come away [from the program] more willing to ask questions and to be more willing up to a point to disclose information about financial matters within a family business."

-- Jeff Lippincott

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Building Businesses

How do small businesses tackle competition? What marketing plans and tax strategies will be most profitable? How can the Internet be used by entrepreneurs to promote their business? These are some of the topics that will be discussed at seminars organized by First Union Bank and the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) of Rutgers Graduate School of Management. This statewide seminar series, which runs through December, is part of NJSBDC's 20th anniversary effort to help small business owners develop more effective "business building" skills and opportunities.

First Union's chief bank economist Joel Naroff and director of valuation services Stan Greene, in their presentation "Valuating Business: Succession Planning and How to Know When to Sell or Expand," will introduce entrepreneurs to the intricacies of valuating businesses, including valuation discounts with specific focus on succession planning and the local economic outlook. It is scheduled for Friday, October 30, at the Ramada Inn in East Brunswick, at 8 a.m.

"Creating a Do-able Marketing Plan for the New Millennium," an interactive, practical session by Adrienne Zoble, the nationally known marketing consultant and speaker will provide entrepreneurs a road map to take their businesses beyond the year 2000. Learn how to generate more business from existing clients and customers, do more business through referrals and testimonials, minimize the issue of price and promote Y2K readiness. It is Monday, November 2, at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn on Route 1 South.

Subsequent seminars feature Dan McComas speaking on "Marketing Boot Camp;" CPA and former IRS lawyer Sandy Botkin on "Tax Strategies for Small Business;" author Rick Ott on "Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Tough Competition;" 3C CEO Bert Hesse on "Technology for Establishing Your Company's Brand."

These two and a half hour seminars are free (materials included), but pre-registration is required. For a schedule and to register, call the NJSBDC's information center at 800-432-1565 or visit the website at

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Girl Scout Wisdom

In the mid-1970s, when volunteer organizations were reeling from the impact of women leaving their homes and entering the workplace, Frances Hesselbein was president of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. Though she emphatically tries to spread the kudos around to the thousands of volunteers, to her must go much of the credit for revamping the organization and keeping it going.

Now, as the head of an organization espousing the wisdom of Peter Drucker, she has an alarming and challenging message, that the children born in 2020 will not even be able to imagine the world that their parents were born into. The '70s, says Drucker, marked the beginning of the sort of revolution that comes along only once every 250 years.

Hesselbein, founding president and CEO of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, speaks at the Princeton Theological Seminary on Thursday, October 29 at 2 p.m. at Stuart Hall, Room 6, as part of the "Church and the World in a New Century" series co-sponsored by World Vision. She is also chair of the board of governors for the Josephson Institute of Ethics and has been awarded the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The day-long meeting on faith and responsibility in a global future opens with Roland Robertson, University of Pittsburgh, speaking on globalization and social theory at 8:30 a.m. Also David Landes, professor emeritus of Harvard, speaks on the wealth and poverty of nations at 4 p.m. At 8 p.m. Robert Seiple, special advisor to the president and the state department, gives the concluding address on issues of religious freedom and human rights. All lectures are free. For information call 609-497-7760.

Hesselbein will tell how Drucker compares the current revolution to, first, Christopher Columbus discovering the New World and, second, the American Revolution. "It is very much like the period beginning with the American Revolution and ending with the Battle of Waterloo," she says. "That period changed the world. Education, religion, work, morals, the society is changing, and instead of this being a western revolution, it is global. We are now right in the middle."

The power of the globalization of ideas will be her theme: "We talk about the globalization of industry and the marketplace, yet the globalization of ideas will be the great legacy. I travel a great deal, both here and abroad, and I will talk about what some of these ideas are. There are common questions we are hearing in the older established democracies, but they are different questions that we are hearing in the newly established democracies."

"People think that life will settle down and we will get back to normal, but we are right in the middle of the most massive change since the American Revolution in 1776. As individuals and as organizations we can help shape the future. We all play a role."

Asked what the most gratifying part of her own role in the Girl Scouts, she answers: "the 788,000 volunteers, creating diversity coupled with the greatest organizational cohesion that anyone can remember. It happens because the people in the neighborhoods believe in the mission of the movement and they serve where they are. Girl by girl, when you are helping each girl reach her own highest potential, it is a powerful motivating force."

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