The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 8 months ago

‘Dear Younger Me’ with David Bentall

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ivey Lecturer and Serial Entrepreneur David Simpson, MBA ’88, sat down virtually with David Bentall to discuss his latest book, “Dear Younger Me,” where Bentall discusses important lessons for next generation leaders through his personal journey, as well as those gleaned from mentoring and supporting advisors, and prominent Canadian business families.

 

For over two decades, David Bentall worked for the family business, which included a seven year stint as President and CEO of Dominion Construction. Bentall co-founded the Business Families Centre at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, where he served as founding chair for five years.

 

Bentall is also a mentor, advisor and founder of Next Step Advisors. Prior to his latest offering, Bentall authored the award-winning book, “The Company You Keep: The Transforming Power of Male Friendship.”

David Simpson is an entrepreneur and Director of the Ivey Business Families Initiative and Faculty director of the Family Shift program. 

...you're listening to the IvyEntrepreneur podcast by the Pierre L. Morrissette Institute forEntrepreneurship at the Ivey Business School. In this, Siri's Ivyentrepreneur and faculty member, Dave Simpson will anchor the session. Hey,we just finished a great video of Brad Paisley there in his classic song.Write a letter to me and that's one of our subjects today with my dear friend,Mr David Benton. Welcome from Vancouver, David. Thank you, sir. E last video hewas writing to himself when he was 17. My book is written to me when I was 30.You got you got a team, exactly what I'm spread. And so, uh, just welcome,everyone. I'm Dave Simpson from the Ivy Business School. This is our annualwinter classic where we talked to enterprising and entrepreneurialfamilies, and we try and share some positive vibes to get us through thistoday. As many of you know, it's Groundhog Day. And if you're a fan ofthe classic Bill Murray movie, you know that Groundhog Day he relives over andover and over and many of us in our co vid confinement feel a little bit thatway. So we thought we'd you know, break the routine and have a lunch hour withsome special dialogue. For those of you that are fans of Wired and Willie orProxy Tony film making predictions about the weather spring is actuallycoming early, according to Wired and Willie this morning. So with David'soptimism will make sure that we bring you some positive vibes going into thespring. David. Our audience here today is our ah, class of family shift.Members are alumni of family Shift, some of which you wrote about in yourbook. My students at Ivy and friends of the Ivy groups, people that areinterested in learning about business family. So we brought them all heretoday, Thio here a bit about what your view is on helping next generations. Iwant to start, though you tell your family story at the beginning, and Inoticed you put your family coat of arms and it says, aimed high, strivehard and you express that your upbringing was all about that workinghard and going for it. So much so that I noticed most people write books thathave seven traits of something. You found nine traits in your book that youare an overachiever. So start with what was the genesis of the book. Why didyou decide? You want to do it at this point in your life? Well, thanks, David.So great to be here and for everybody. It's actually funny. You talk about mebeing an overachiever. Actually, the nine traits are the the nine areas thatI know. Looking back, I really lacked in my life. I lacked empathy, curiosity,listening skills. So how did I come to that conclusion? Why did I want towrite this now, Dave, To be honest, I was on an airplane flying home from acouple of family meetings who had some very meaningful family discussions toseparate family meetings with two separate clients. And as I wasreflecting on the meetings, I thought I'd prepared Well, I thought I did apretty good job of facilitating. But frankly, the meetings hadn't gone verywell. And I was wondering what had gone on and I was thinking about I thought,you know, in one meeting, one member of the next generation one successorseemed angry and that kind of poison the discussion of it, and then Inoticed in one of the other meetings. There was one member of the family.Kind of seemed like they couldn't forget over hurt couldn't forgivesomebody. And that had kind of set a tone for the meeting. I thought, I'msure glad I wasn't like that was i e That was me when I was I was I wasunforgiving. I was angry. And so I grabbed a scrap of paper and starteddoodling, and I noticed very quickly there were these nine things. I was Iwas impatient. I was arrogant. I was critical of others. I didn't listen.And I thought, Gosh, I wonder whether I could help if I wrote a letter to theseyounger six above. So, you know, I'm laughing becauseyou're saying you thought perhaps you were, ah, perfect role model. Andthat's one of the things you start the book. With this you'll have our heroes,mentors, role models, including I know how much you thought of your father andgrandfather in in the business context of what they handed to you. But justsocietally you have some champions that you looked up to and you said, you know,sometimes our heroes are sending us the wrong message for the situation we'rein. So talk a little bit about how you learned a bit from mistakes of what theheroes that you looked up to you they so great. You're absolutely right. Mydad and my and my grandfather were heroes because they were hard workingmen. They were men of integrity. They were men of vision, so I wanted to belike them. But as I grew up in my career, aspiring to lead, I startedreading biographies and I read about...

Churchill. E mean he delivered theworld from the Nazi threat. Eso who what better leader to be like and oneof his mentors was never, never, never give up. And then I as a young boy,when I was 10 years of age, I watched the first Super Bowl. It's coming up onSunday. I watched the first Super Bowl 55 years ago all by myself. My mom anddad just got a color TV back, and the pixels were the size of quarters, andhis one of his mantras was Winning is not the most important thing. It's theonly thing. So I brought these two ideas to my leadership quiver and Istarted trying to lead by never never giving up and always trying to win. AndDave, if you're going to war, probably a good thing. If you're playingfootball, probably a good thing. But in a family enterprise, to be a nevernever give up person and winning is the only thing person that's not very good.And those air two things that really those messages really undermine myability to become a good leader. I think in our family, anyway. So overtime, one of the traits that you identified and shared with us early isthe concept of humility being humble. I've often talked with our highachieving family, businesses and family shift and, of course, our hyperoutgoing H B s and MBA at the Ivey Business School, where I tell them, youknow, the cars on the Humility Highway don't face a lot of traffic, right?There's not many of us that can be successful and humble at the same time.So talk about how humility and being humble is a lesson that took you awhile to learn. But But it's a positive thing in the context of familyenterprise. Yeah, well, David I think the first thing is I thought humilitywas the opposite of what I needed. I thought I needed to drive hard andhammer ahead and be driven. What I've come to discover is that humility,properly understood, is not thinking less of yourself. It's just thinking ofyourself less and you know, we often get that mixed up right. It's notthinking that you're bad, not thinking less of yourself. It's just notthinking about yourself so much thinking about others more on, I think,you know, I wanted to lead. So it was all about me rather than you know. Now,as I seek to as an adviser to families, I seek to serve them and help themrather than have them follow me if you follow because the different And so youknow, frankly, it took me get getting knocked on my my behind to realize thatthat trying to make it all about me is not a very good idea. I think that oneof the most fascinating things I read recently was Benjamin Franklin'sbiography, and he talked about how he was working on his 12. He had 12. Hehad more weaknesses than he had 12. I only have nine. He had 12 weaknesses.And then one of his friends said, You looked at his list and said, Benjamin,you gotta add You gotta add humility because you are so arrogant, so proudYou bug everybody all the time. And Benjamin Franklin, his friends, said,You always have to be right. And Dave he could have been describingme. I mean, just ask my wife. Early in our marriage, I had to be right abouteverything. And that was not good for my marriage either. And BenjaminFranklin blew my mind when he said the following words, he said, I decided todeny myself the privilege of ever disagreeing with anyone. Well, thatrequires a total talking about shift, total shift in thinking. And so I'vebeen working with this idea, Dave, because if we deny ourselves theprivilege of disagreeing with others, that makes us more curious and helpsfoster this humility thing. We'll do you see it differently than me. Why isthat? So that's one of the big lessons for me, and it made a huge differenceto me Trying toe. Cultivate that and your wife appreciates it. I knowbecause she's writing off a lot, too. Curiosity. David was another thing youthrew in there, and I'm wondering that in the family business context, whenyou grow up knowing and being steeped in your own family business, that mightactually lead to a lack of curiosity. Because in many ways you thought yourcareer and life path were planned out because you are the heir apparent to bethe third generation. But you speak about how curiosity really helps youunderstand that you don't always know better. So talk a little bit about whybeing curious is important. Yeah, so I was afraid that someone would find out.I didn't know everything. And so I didn't want to ask any questionsbecause if some I'm the son of the chair son of the chairman, son of thefounder or grandson of the founder, like I can't let anybody know. I don'tknow anything. So I didn't ask anything if I ever spoke. It was to tell peoplewhat I knew, which is the exactly it's the exact opposite of curiosity and howdo we learn? We learn by asking questions. And so, you know, I ranaround our company telling people what I knew rather than trying to learn. Andit's funny. You know, most professions, whether it be law or medicine or evenin the trades. You know, the carpentry...

...or electrician's. Everyone goes throughan apprenticeship period or residency or a period of time where you'relearning. I wanted to jump right past that to lead, and I think curiosity iswhat we need in order to be a good apprentice. And I think familyenterprise successors. If we can be curious, Dad, why do you do it this way?Mom, why has that always been done? That way, we might actually find thatthey're not as crazy as we thought. They actually might have a good reasonfor doing things differently. So that's been a really interesting journey forme. And you might even find your helpful to the senior generationbecause you ask questions that they you know, there's a lot similar between arut and a groove, right? They just keep doing it this way. But if my childasked me an interesting question, maybe I'll look at it a different way. Soit's it's helpful to the family in general. I gotta say I tell my studentsall the time that you're good lord or maker provided you with two ears andone mouth, which should give you a clue that perhaps you should listen twice asmuch as you speak. And yet we're trained to get out there and talk andpresent and pitch. And you have a great story in the book of a guy that Ireally admire. And you do to Jim Pattison, a very successfulentrepreneur that really emphasize for you that listening is an incrediblyimportant skills to talk to a little US a little bit about how listening is avaluable thing in Family Enterprises. Well, you talk about Jimmy Patterson.So I was invited to an event event. I shouldn't say. I was invited to ameeting and Jimmy was invited. It was There were There were 20 people in theroom was four o'clock meeting in the afternoon, and I was the youngest guy.Frankly, my dad was invited. He couldn't go, so I was. I went in hisplace. So all these people were senior executives from the city of Vancouver,and we were trying to recruit someone to head up a fundraising campaign forthe new Vancouver Library, and we were trying to figure out what kind ofperson do we need to lead this effort? And it was a bit of a high profileposition, was also the person who would look meeting before it left. So we hadto get this right the second time around. So the chairman of the meetingkept asking people what they thought, and somebody said, We need someone whois synonymous with downtown and someone who can appeal to the wealthy anddonors and someone who could appeal to the everyday man, etcetera, etcetera.And I'm the youngest guy in the room I kept looking over. You know JimmyPattison, a billionaire well known to everybody, and he's sitting theresilently. The meeting started at four, and at eight o'clock in the evening.Jimmy still hasn't said a word, and I'm going. This is This is not how I wouldexpect this dog, but I figured, But, you know, he'd tell us what to do. Andat 8 30 So 4.5 hours into the meeting, Jimmy said to the chairman, May I justmake a comment and everybody in the room leaned forward to listen. What?When e. F. Hutton speaks, everyone listens. When Jimmy Pattison speaks,everybody listens. And he said, If I've been hearing things correctly, I thinkwe're looking for somebody who's knowledgeable or whose name issynonymous with downtown. Who's got the time went through all the criteria we'dlisted, and then he said, If that's what we're looking for, then I thinkKip Woodward's the right guy and everybody went perfect. We got thecheck, paid for the bill and approached Woodward next day, and he and he did.The project did a fantastic job, and David marked me for every this happenedin 1986. So it's had a huge impact on me that a guy like Jimmy, who's sobrilliant, so well respected, would listen for 4.5 hours before he said itany. But then, of course, when he said something powerful, so I'm trying to bemore like that. If so, he had respect for hearing the views of everyone inthe room, and that makes his comment even more impactful. At the end of theday, yeah, yeah, Now, you you move to another thing called empathy and A.Soon as I saw some of your descriptions, I could see myself. Both you and I arehardwired to fix things right, whether that's being a dad or in business, thatif there's a problem, let's go fix it. And not everything in life needs to befixed. Sometimes empathy means something other than solving someone'sproblems. So talk to me about your frustrations with trying to fix thingsfor people who didn't really want it to be fixed. Is this the time I talked toyou about the stupidest thing I ever said? S. Oh, my wife and I were livingin Toronto 1985 and we just had our third child and my wife, Allison E.Need to preface this by saying we're still married 42 years, 42 years later,but you're not gonna believe what I said. So were we just had our thirdchild, and my wife was feeling not very fit and not feeling very good about herfigure. And so she said to me, David, I'm feeling fat and ugly now. She wasnot asking me for a fix. She was asked me to fix the problem, but I wentimmediately into fix it mode. And I said, You'll continue to feel fat andugly unless you get out and run.

That was not the right thing to say,and as you could, anybody's listening will know if you're married, Do not doas I do so But you know, what Alison wanted was my empathy. She was feelinglousy, and she wanted me to come alongside her. And instead I just toldher what to do. And they may I be permitted to talk about a couple ofyears. Last year what I've learned in 30 years because, you know, last yearlast year we had our our daughter and her husband and their four Children. Sosix, 642 and brand new. So four kids under six living with us for two yearsand one day my wife, Allison, was feeling kind of overwhelmed, and shesaid, I'm feeling overwhelmed that I didn't jump to fix it mode. I'm veryproud, I think is the only time in our marriage that may be done this right,Dave. But I went in and sat beside Alison on the bed and took her hand andsaid, I'm sorry you're feeling overwhelmed. Is there anything I can do?And, you know, it's a simple that, uh, maybe not simple, but it's it's justprofound. Is that perhaps, David, This has been a hard one. I'm in theremedial class for empathy because it's been something taking me a long time towork on. Well, is it? It's a big subject, of course, in the UnitedStates that it's a capacity that they felt previous president didn't have.And under our circumstances, Joe Biden has it in spades. So no matter whatpolitical spectrum you're from, empathy in your, you know, Toolkit is somethingthat we should all take away and think about so that don't jump to thesolution. Seek to understand is what that message was in one of your Siri'sthere. And Dave, can I just talk about that in the family enterprise context?Because research says that members of the elder generation I think many ofour listeners are successors Or perhaps the majority are. And what the researchsays is that the elder generation requires from the younger generationempathy more than any other thing. What so think about my dad, what my dadneeded, mawr from me as a successor coming along than anything else wasempathy. And the reason that my dad needed empathy was twofold. One is, ifyou build on enterprise and then you are later on devolving that authorityto the next generation. That's a difficult trick because it's the exactopposite of everything. You've done your whole career trying to bring powerand authority and responsibility to yourself to give that away. That's acompletely new cars, clearly new skills. So the elder generation needs empathybecause we're asking them to give up the there there, baby, what they'vespent their whole life building. So that's that's what And then my dad, youknow, he went through a difficult time in our family enterprise being shuntedaside by my uncle. So he needed him. He needed someone who's willing tounderstand and care for what that was like for him. So the older generationneeds our empathy. Gratitude is a family trade that you are, ah, bigproponent of, and I think you describe in the book that you know you you grewup relatively affluent, but it's not something you really thought aboutbecause your parents were hardworking, frugal people. This is just the way welived and you're not totally aware of of how much better you have it in myhouse. That's what we call the f word that the kids were never allowed to say.That's not fair, because it's not fair how good we have it, actually right.You talk about an experience where you took the kids down on ah, selflessproject to a country that perhaps didn't have it as good as Canada does.And that really brought you guys together. So please share your yourexperience with your kids down building in Mexico. Thanks, Dave. So our son, wehave three daughters and a son, and our son is our second l A. So I think hewas maybe 15 at the time, 14 or 15. And I think I was pretty grumpy when I was15 and my son John was no different. It was pretty grumpy and eso we went downThio build a house in Mexico. We spent five days there in the hot sun building.I was wonderful experience, frankly, to go down. You know, Day one, there's alittle concrete pad, and Day five there's a home for a family of five.And so we had the privilege of being part of this. And, you know, the girlswere all rolled up our sleeves and swung a hammer and painting, and it wasa great experience. And at the end of the week, we hopped in the van and wedrove across the border, and the first thing we do stop that in and out Burger.And as we stopped it in and out Burger, we went in and got got hamburgers, andour son, John, got in the back of the van. We had 33 rows and the girls werein the middle seat, my wife on the on the front. John was in the back of thatas far away from his dad as he could possibly be. And remember John saying,You know what's wrong with this family E right now right now? And hey said Isaid, What's wrong? I actually didn't want to know, but I said, What's wrongwith this family? John? He said Dad was not enough gratitude. Thanks for theburger, Dave. I think that's the first...

...time I sent it. Ever thank me foranything and I think you know all it takes is five days in Mexico building ahouse for an impoverished family for our son to understand that hamburgersdon't grow on trees. I think I need to do this more often. So I frankly, I'vebeen back 10 times now and I'd like to try and go every year now. And we'vestarted taking our grandkids. So one of our grandsons has been and so we hopewe have eight grandkids. So I'm hoping all of our grandkids will go withGrandpa at the build a house and to help them learn what we have. Ain'tfair. What? It's what we've got. It's not fair because we have so much. Wehave so much e, but I gotta share that in family shift. We had the pleasure ofmy friend Jeff Beatty, who worked with Thompson Family, Canada's wealthiestfamily, as their advisor. And some of the students were asking him aboutwhether or not there's a challenge with the next generation, feeling they'rekeeping up with the older generation or whether they got the job because that'stheir name and the self esteem issue. And he sort of had the opinion that youknow, there's so many advantages to being from a family enterprise that youkind of have toe get over it and use a phrase here. Successors can never earnwhat is a gift. So stop worrying about how do I earn this? So talk a littlebit about how you came around to that conclusion, that the successors have todeal with the fact that you can't earn a gift if your parents are giving yousomething. Yeah, great day. How did I come to that conclusion? It wasactually in a private conversation with a young woman who said, You know, Iwant to earn the opportunity to lead the business and I said, Well, that'sdifferent. You can earn the opportunity to lead the visits by working hard andbeing conscientious, where they're going to school, whether it be gettingexperience elsewhere. Be just working hard in your job so you can earn apromotion. And then she But, she said. But I alsowant to earn the shares, and I said that's not possible. If your parentsgive you the share, that's a gift. The proper answer is to say thank you,which comes back to this gratitude idea, right? And so I think sometimes we getmixed up that you know, I remember reading a couple years ago, Dr Keller,from New York said. New Yorkers tend to think they're the top of the heap ofthe evolutionary chain or whatever, and then you don't tend to think that somepeople's in New York. Some people in Canada think that we are self made menand women, and Tim Keller makes a very powerful observation, he said. If youwere born in the 13 hundreds in Tibet, in a out in the middle of nowhere, andyou grew up in a grass hut, you couldn't get in Ivy school degreebecause Ivy School didn't exist. So some of that we just need to accept thefact we were born out of place. And at a time that gives us Now. Gladwelltalks about this in outliers that how we need to be thankful. Many of usthink that we have earned what we've got then, frankly, we need to stop andrecognize actually much of what we have our brains. If you have a good brain,you didn't create that. So David, there's more I thought about it. We canturn. We can't earn our place in the world, let alone a gift that make anysense. Yeah. Thank thanks for that. Gratitude goes hand in hand with thenext one I want to talk about because that business schools we don't spend alot of time talking about forgiveness. And at some point in your life, youhave taken ownership of the fact that you were an instrumental part of thefriction that happened in the transfer of your family business, where yourUncle Howard teamed up with your Uncle Bob to push out the notion that youwould be the next leader of the business. And as frustrating as thatwas for the direct line within your family with your dad, it was his wishesthat you'd be there later in life. You said I spent the time and commitment togo back and talk to my uncle hard and say, recognizing I was a bit of part ofthat and ask for forgiveness. That's an awkward thing we don't talk a lot about.But how did that feel for you? And you have to have a certain comfort level tobe able to do that, you have to have earned your stripes and be happy whereyou are already or kind of young person actually learned that forgiveness issomething that we could start right now. Well, it's really great just startingwith the last part of that. You know how How do we get to the place to dothat? I write in the book about a woman who, at age 14, her mom left their home and she went through graduation fromhigh school, went through university, graduated from university. You know,for the next seven years she had no word from her mom from age 14, age 21so obviously, she was missing her mom in lots of important circumstances. Andshe said that her mom picked up the phone when she turned 21 said, Hey,happy birthday like to get together with you. It's coming a whole lot ofwhere have you been for the last seven years? And you know, it took her, ah,lot of walks on the beach to get to the place where she could do that. So itdoes require, I think to be able to...

...forgive requires us to look ourselvesin the mirror and we need to think deeply because it's not easy, Thio,regardless, who it is. You know, if your mom disappears for seven years andcomes back, how do you can't just say Oh, yeah. Okay, that's fine. Yeah, I'mI forgive you. So it took her a long walk and what helped her this youngwoman, Bethany, what helped her to get over herself and be able to forgive hermom was to realize that the pain she was inflicting on herself by beingbitter was far worse than the pain she was inflicting on her mom. One of myfriends says, bitterness of if we allowed to grow is like drinking poisonand expecting the other person to die like it does. It doesn't hurt that, youknow, I could have been mad at my uncle for the rest of my life, and all that'sgoing to do is hurt me. And so David was when I realized that I thought,Well, actually, this is actually may be good for our relationship, but it'sactually good for me as well. So one of my friends said, David, forgiveness isactually a selfish thing. at one level because it's actually care. You'relooking after yourself. So But frankly, you know, when I went to see my uncle,you know, it was after phony one of my friends, And I said to him, I think I'dlike to fix things with my uncle. Can you go with me? And he said, No, you'renot ready unless you're ready to go by yourself. So it took me a year to walkto get ready. So I think it does require a long walk on the beach and,you know, for me, I took time talking to my wife and my friends took timepraying to be able to get to the place where I could let go. Actually took meanother forgiveness circumstance, writing a letter, writing a letter, allthe things I was unhappy about. This person then putting a match on them,putting in the fireplace and getting rid of all that venom. I have so takeswork, takes work physically, getting rid of it. You're mentally prepared.Toe. Move on. We talk about it. Family business have all the same businessproblems that any other business structure does that you know,competition moving you talk about tradition versus innovation, but theyalso have the family layer on top, which is really complex, and you talkabout pursuing something called critical thinking. And I'll share withyou that we start our family shift program every year with my friend Tom.Bit off comes and talks about how the bit off brothers get together andremain entrepreneurial, even though they're doing different things. Butthey support each other by saying, This is the tradition of our family, theseair, the goodwill's and good skills that we got. Let's not throw that away,But you go do what you like to do and you go do what you like to know. We'llsupport each other. So what does critical thinking mean to you when youhelp us think about how to push our family enterprise forward? Well, thankyou so much. The critical thinking for me is right, lives right next door to acritical spirit. And it wasn't actually I didn't discover how importantcritical thinking waas until I realized how it had been damaged in my life. Bymoving towards critical spirit. Let me explain what I'm thinking so critical.Critical thinking is assessing what's going on and figure out what's wrongand what needs to be done. So my first mentor, actually as a leader, was DrJohn Stott, who was the chaplain to the Queen of England years ago, and he wasin Vancouver when I was 23 I said, What's the key to leadership? And hesaid, the key to leadership is a healthy dissatisfaction with the statusquo, not being happy with the way things are. We need to go somewhereelse. Follow me, Let's go there. And so I thought, OK, that's what I need to do.I need to figure out what's wrong and then we can figure out what we need tofix. Well, that makes that led me to becoming hypercritical. Here's what'swrong. Here's what we need to fix. Here's what's wrong. Here's what weneed to fix. That's that developed in me, Dave. A critical spirit. I lookedat everybody as wrong and I needed to correct them. Right beside that is iscritical thinking, which is what is wrong or not optimal that we could makebetter. That's critical thinking, so I could give an example from, well,Disney Disney when he was. Most of the listeners have been to Disneyland. Musthave been on the Pirates of the Caribbean. If you have, you'll noticeyou go into the Pirates of the Caribbean the beginning of the ride.You go through a New Orleans scene where there's some people sitting onthe porch and things like that and Disney Just before they opened thecritic, the parts of the Caribbean, he felt it wasn't quite right. So hebrought a whole bunch of staff and said, There's something missing So he said,Does it look right? Does it smell right? Does it feel right? Does it sound right?And, uh, everybody thought it was fine checked out and then he said, Butthere's something missing. And then one of the young staff said, Mr Disney, I'm from the South He said. In NewOrleans at night, there would be...

...lightning bugs, lightning bugsslithering around on the porch and this, he said. That's it. That's what missing.And so they actually they imported live lightning bugs at first and then lateron, they imitated. But they actually imported live lightning bug, and theyhave that illustrates critical thinking for me because Disney was not sayingwho's done what wrong. He was saying What is missing? He was. He was askingquestions. That's critical thinking. Whereas David David 2030 years agowould have said Who's left out? So you know what have you done wrong that wasmissing? So for me, that's the difference. And brand Ramsey. I quoteher from, uh, in my book and, uh, for Britt Land and engagement she talksabout in their company. They believe that we should be hard on ideas andsoft on people, and that's what critical thinking is about. It's beinghard on ideas, soft on people, whereas being having a critical spirit is beinghard on people so that that's for me. That's really important distinction.It's easier to celebrate anybody that comes up with some good criticalthinking instead of thinking about them as their age or rank. Say we're all inthis toe, think together. But as you know, young people do not have patients,David, And when I'm dealing with family businesses, where next Gen say, Hey,when do I get to take over? And we often are doing this in our ivy classeson. We're looking at cases or videos where the next Gen is frustrated thatthey don't know when they're going to be the CEO. And I turned. And I ask,you know, my existing students. Well, you know that internship you had thissummer at KPMG or Royal Bank? When did they tell you you'd be the CEO? And ofcourse, they don't ever tell you that. But somehow, in family business, weassume that your job to tell me when this is all gonna be mine, David, When?When On the Lion King being held up, Everything the light touches is yours.So how do we develop patience? And what's the downside if we don't developpatients? Well, how do we how do we develop patients? Interesting. So whenI was doing the research for my book, I actually go. Why don't I try tounderstand what the word patients means? And it was fascinating for me because Ithink most of us think of patients. It means waiting, but it actually doesn'tit actually, the Latin root for patients comes from Patty P. A. T. I.And the root word patty means to suffer. So patients is about learning to suffercomplete definition would be to suffer without complaint or without gettingirritated on. I think that for me that that's that's the deal, right? And so Ithink, How do we do that? I think it has to do with expectations. I met aMet a guy number of years ago who who's in his. In his PhD research focused onhuman resource relationships, he took a PhD in human resource management.Frankly, I remember saying to him, So you did three years studying humanrelationships And, uh, I said, What's the key to relationships? He said,David, I could give it to you in one word. Then he said, It's expectations.He said, You know, if you say to your wife will be home at six o'clock, youcome home 6. 30. You created the problem because of your expectation youcreated. And so I think the way we cultivate patients, Dave, is to changeour expectations. I expected to become president of our family company within10 years. Why was that? Because my dad told me he wanted me to be president.My uncle was 55. I figured he was gonna retired 65 so I had in my head. I'mgonna be president 10 years. That was my expectation. That's what underminemy patient. If my how do we cultivate patients by changing our expectations?If I could say, I will work hard and and I will wait until I'm invitedto take on more opportunity. I'll work hard at what I've got, so I will earnmy stripes and then wait till I'm asked so that that will change theexpectations, which more like the Royal Bank experience or KPMG, right? Youwait until you're given more authority, bloom where you're planted and thenwait until your ass doesn't make any sense. It's expectation. Yeah, and weoften talk about the monarch leaders, you know, using that model to say theseare the people that are going to die at their desk. Eso note to Prince Charles.If you're frustrated with your life, the queen isn't going anywhere rightuntil she dies. But then, at least it's his choice to decide what I'm going todo with my life. And so we want the next chance to say, Hey, carve outsomething that you're interested in, go for it and bring more value back to us.when you're ready so that the patient is a two way street. But you're sayingmanage expectations? Is the more critical element of that? Yeah. If Icould just offer a footnote to men who I think were great examples of leaderswho became CEO of their family enterprises, what they did. Well, theywere waiting. So Harry Rosen, you're...

...his dad. Larry Rosen, son of HarryRosen. Larry. What did he do? He didn't jump into the company. Said Dad, Getout of here. I want to lead. He went and took his undergrad degree, took hislaw degree, took his MBA, worked for a while. It's at a law school and thenjoined the family company and then patiently waited 15 years after that.So he was just into his mid forties before he became president, so he usedthat time productively on. Then the most bizarre example. His Fist Johnson.Most people know of Ziploc bags and Raid and Johnson wax. SC Johnson is thefamily company. Fisk Johnson had a father who was a strong leader. Hethought, I've got to go work for dad because he'll never let me haveauthority to do anything so Fisk Johnson. Dave took six earned degreeswhen he while he was waiting, he went, took his masters in physics and hismaster's in business, his PhD in physics. He took six degrees, and thenhe joined the family company just prior to his 30th birthday and then waitedanother 10 or 15 years. So I actually think if you can't wait, these two men,you know, probably would have had trouble waiting 20 years inside thebusiness. They took mawr education, both of them multiple degreesexperience elsewhere. So I think, change our expectations and dosomething productive while you're waiting. That's my thought. So, folks,I'm going to ask David one more discussion point on one of his pillarsthat he's pointed out here. And then we'll let you throw in some questionsif you want to hit your hands up participation feature so that I can seethat you want to share something, but I want to finish off with David's lastsort of subtitle Point was called Contempt Meant Now Contentment. Whenwe're in the business school context is odd because we think of, you know,creating sharks that have to keep moving right. Sharks have to keepmoving or they die. So if you're building a business, you have to growor die. That's the kind of thing we teach and how doe I then start sayingto people, Well, don't worry about you know what your class make up for theirsigning bonus or how much they're making in New York. Are you happy withwhat you're doing? What did contentment play? A role in your understandingabout how to be a happier person. Not only happier person Dave, but also moresuccessful life. Many of the listeners would have watched the the TorontoRaptors win the NBA championship a year or so ago, and Kwai Leonard was thesuperstar for the for the Raptors, who you know, who led them in many ways tothat championship and if you. But if you nobody could say that he didn'twork hard, nobody could say he was not fiercely competitive driven to win. Butif you watched him closely as I did, he actually was masterfully content. What do I mean by that? He was contentif he gave 100% that allowed him to stay on an evenkeel if he missed a shot or made a shot. If he made a shot, he didn't get overlyexcited. If he missed a shot, he didn't get overly discouraged. He stayedconstant because he was content. If I give 100% I'll stay where I am. And Ilook first learned this from my water ski coach. Who? American guy fromFlorida. Chet, Really? And he went to the U. S. National Water SkiChampionships. He was the second seed, so he was the second last to ski. Andwhen he skied, he skied a lifetime personal best. And he said a new U. Srecord for his age group and then the guy after and went out andskied better on DSO, he said, David, you know E would be a fool to not becontent with my result. It's when we compare with others that we fosterdiscontentment. If we focus on doing our best, we could be content and anyfamily enterprise successor, any family leader. What do we want from ouremployees? What we want for our kids, what we want for ourselves? If we giveour best like Kawhi Leonard, we give our best like my coach that really, ifwe give our best, we should be content with the results afterwards. So for me,it's about doing our best breeds contentment. And the last thing I'llsay about my performance. Coach, I'm a competitive water skiers. You know, myperformance coach says preoccupation with our own performance undermines ourperformance. The more we think about how we're doing the poor we perform. Ifwe're thinking I can't miss this pot, we will miss the putt. If we focus onthe whole were more likely to put it in. So the focus is on doing our best andnot being focusing on how we're doing. There's a couple thoughts oncontentment. Um, even a Vancouver guys, the Toronto Raptors fan that's e liketo hear that. Okay, folks, contribution is a big point at Ivy. So you know,everybody likes to get in on things, so I'll throw that out thio our familyshift and our classmates here to say, If you want to raise your hand, I'llrecognize you here and weaken. Pass along a question to David. So, terror,if you wanna let them do that, Katarina,...

...go ahead and throw a question to ourfriend David. I just first wanted to thank you to come coming and speakingto us today, So I feel like I've already learned so many lessons.Probably a question for most of us in our classes were going out andgraduating. Is there any maybe one specific lesson or like a take awaythat you would suggest us to keep in the back of her mind as we're going tojoin family firms may be joining. One are from our own family or somebodyelse's family firm. Katarina may be permitted to. So, to those of you whoknow me well, know that the biggest regret I have in my life was that Iworked for our family company right out of university, and I didn't spend verymuch time working outside of our family enterprise. I ended up after a coupleof years with the business, going to Toronto, working for the CadillacFairview Corporation, which is the time where the largest real estate companyin North America and Katarina, if I was to redo my life again professionally assomeone who aspired to lead our family company, I would have stayed at theCadillac favorite corporation until I was invited back. Some of you know, theDeMarais family and their own power corporation and our financial. Remembertalking to Paul DeMarais 11 day and I said to me, What do you aspire for yourChildren? He's second generation. That's what you aspire for G three. Andhe said, We want our kids, Katarina, to go a Sfar away as they possibly can,and be so successful elsewhere that we begged them to come back. And so,Katarina, my my invitation to all of you is go. It's far away from yourfamily cos you possibly can be. It's so successful elsewhere that they beg youto come back. So that's my first thought. And then the second thought is,uh, they've asked me about my mentors and I you know, I was followingChurchill and Vince Lombardi. That wasn't very helpful. I would encourageyou to choose your mentors wisely. So you know what? We talked about thetheme of forgiveness. So Mandela is a hero for me because he was willing toforgive the people who put him in prison for 27 years so I would choosementors who can help you to develop the qualities that will make you the kindof people that will be able to get along with those in your family. Sothose are the two thoughts. Choose your mentors wisely and work elsewhere aslong as you can. Thanks, David. Go ahead, Harrison. Hi, David. Thanks forcoming to talk to us. I had a question for someone who is not from, ah,entrepreneurial family or who's not going to a family business aftergraduation. But I was wondering if you had any takeaways from your experiencein a family business that you think could help individuals who will beworking in a non family business or more traditional corporation after.Thank you. Great. So thank you, Harrison. So, yeah, the first thingthat comes to my mind is a young man who I'm entered for many years. He wasa c p a. By training, and he was working in a very substantial company.All of you would recognize the name of this company public company, now, uh,national company in Canada. And he was getting very frustrated because hewasn't getting the opportunity to grow and advance the way he wanted. And hesaw. And he said you know the problems are those those those dumb people up insenior management? They're not doing things right. If I could just get upthere, I could fix things. Everything will be better. So he came to me foradvice and I said, What do you What do you think I should do? And I said, Well,I had that same probably in our family business. I wanted to get to the top soI could fix things up there because e felt things were wrong up there.Harrison wherever. Wherever up there is. And I said to him, If you focus ondoing a excellent job where you are, you will be invited to take on moreresponsibility. If you are mucking around trying to fix other people'sjobs, you're not gonna do a good job of your own. Just gonna make yourselfunpopular politically or otherwise. And so he doubled down on his current job,and it was only a matter of a few months before they said, Hey, you'redoing a great job with what you're looking after. Can we add a few thingsto your list? And so they he gradually was able to take on more responsibility.So you know, it's It's a bit like a garden Harrison Bloom, where you areplanted. And then I think you'll be given more responsibly. Do do withexcellence what you've currently got. We have two sons in law through threeof our daughters live in Vancouver are all three of our daughters in Vancouver.Two are married now, and there are two sons in law. I've told them same adviceI would give you. Harrison. Do you want to get a raise? Do more than you getpaid for. Eventually someone will notice and fix that. So those air tothe bloom where you're planted and do more than we get paid for Adele. Hey,David, I had a question that I guess 50% Business and leadership advice. 50%relationship advice. You're telling your story about your conversation withyour wife where you know, she didn't want you to necessarily solve herproblems. She just wanted you to kind of be there to listen to her. I thinkthat for most leaders, like in any sort...

...of position, that this is always justneed toe. I feel like it is your responsibility to fix things, but thenI guess that's not always the case. And how How do you sort of balance thatbetween, you know, taking ownership and solving things versus recognizing whenyou need to kind of take a step back and just be there for people? Great.Well, you know the first thing that comes to mind, and I know his His nameis perhaps been sullied quite a bit in recent years by association. But, youknow, the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, was a very wrote a bookon leadership, Powerful. And I, you know, I used to be a bit of fan of his.I'm not so not so sure anymore. But Rudy Giuliani talked about when he wasmayor of New York. What he did was he spent his time not telling people whatthey needed to do but finding out what he could do to help them, which Ithought was a brilliant leadership model and say, What can I do to helpyou with your problems today? And I think for me, that's a much betterleadership model than than most because most of us, you know, I grew upthinking we need to figure out what's wrong, fix it and go in a new direction.But the people who are on the on the that's on the front line, so to speak.You usually know what needs to be done. And so for me, I found really RudyGiuliani's advice toe. Ask others. How we can help them was a very practicalbit of advice for leadership. And, of course, that comes to relationshipadvice. You know, when I said to my wife, Allison, what can I do to makethings better? It's funny. I met a woman in California years ago who'dbeen married 25 years, and her marriage had ended on. I said, I don't want thatresult in our marriage and I took her out for lunch and I said, What's onething you could tell me? She was quite a bit older than me, and I said, What'sone thing you can tell me? Speak to me and my mom is gone. Now speak to melike a mother. What's one thing you'd tell me to do to help my relationshipwith my wife? And she said, every day, ask your wife. What do you need from metoday. What's been fascinating about that is if I asked my wife, Alice, um,there's three possible answers. One, she'll say, There's nothing I need forme today, and that's a great answer, because then I don't a deal. I don'thave to do anything, but at least get credit for having asked the question.Or so you might say, Here's this simple little thing. Can you just do this? Soit's a simple little thing I could do easily so I can get credit for doingthe simple little thing, or then there might be something really difficult.But if that's the important thing, they need to focus on doing the importantthing. So a deal for me Relation Lee That's made a huge difference for me.Asking, What leadership principle? Relationship principle. What can I doto make things better? Thank you, Sarah. Go ahead. Hi, David. Thanks for coming.My question is more so around running a family business and you know, thechallenges of mixing family with business. So I would assume that familypolitics escalate when there's a business in the middle. So I guess fromyour experience, how do you keep the two separate. Is it possible? And howso? How do you think so? Thanks. So I think it's important to recognize in afamily enterprise. By definition, it's typically not possible to keep familyand business separate. And so to actually try and make it to make aseparation. Where there isn't where is impossible is actually a fool's game,and some people actually try and keep them separate, which actually is, Ithink, an unhelpful way of approaching it. Sarah. So, for example, when I sayit's not possible, you know, my father was chairman of the board of our familycompany and I was an employee, but he was also my dad. I was also his son, sowe can't say Okay, now pretend you're not his son no more. We couldn't dothat right? E couldn't ask him to pretend you're not chairman of theboard. So to try and to say let's keep them separate is actually a fool'serrand. We can't keep them separate because because they overlap so that sowhat? I try and encourage families to do. Sarah is to think about how towisely manage the overlap. I think the wisest way to manage the overlap is torecognize what hat you are wearing. So, for example, it's a wonderful articlewritten many years ago called Unraveling Communication in a Familyfamily enterprise. And give Dyer in his article, talks about how we have. Weall have many different hats. So all of you on this call are presumably a sonor a daughter. That's a role you have your also a student. That's a role youhave when you get a job that will be another role. When you get married,that'll be another. Well, maybe become a parents. Well, have lots of roles.And Sarah, the key is to be clear what hat you are wearing. So when I'm havinga conversation with my dad probably really important for me, Dad, may Ispeak to you as a dad? What would you advise me to do as your son may I speakto is chairman of the board. What would you recommend? I do is an employee. SoI think the most important thing is to identify what had actually use thatlanguage like that helps a lot to clarify and keep the traffic fromgetting mixed up. Thank you. You...

Brandon. Go ahead. Hi, David. Thank you for coming tospeak of us today, as I also from in Cuba as well. Like your family is verywell respected here. I guess one of my questions is because you spoke a lotabout getting content with your own effort and like practicing gratitude.Do you have any advice on how we can practice gratitude on a daily basis?Yeah, great, Brandon, Thank you. So my sister Helen, who's 15 years older thanme, Brandon. It's public information because she's shared this publicly.She's 32 years into recovery, is an alcoholic, and so she's had to do a lotof work on herself, trying to wrestle with some of the demons that she had inher life, and she leads an organization. Some of the ladies on this call mightbe interested. My sister started something called the Avalon RecoverySociety. There's three different storefronts where they help women toget into recovery from alcoholism. And my sister Helen, taught me aboutgratitude. And she said every morning she pours herself a cup of coffee andshe has a little journal, and every morning she sits with a cup of coffeeand writes out three things she's grateful for. And that, and what'sinteresting is that was a That was a beautiful idea from my sister. But thenI read a book a number of years ago and again speaking to the ladies, You mightbe interested. There's a woman from Sasquatch in by the name of an boss.Camp v O S K M P. She wrote a book that was on the Oprah Winfrey Booklist fiveor 10 years ago. The book was called 1000 Gifts, and this woman and Bosscamp was unhappy, often with her life. And one of her friends said, I thinkyou're happy, unhappy a lot. Brandon. So her friends said, I dare you, I dareyou to list 1000 things you're thankful for. And so an boss can't bought alittle journal. And she started listing the things she's thankful for. And so Idecided that I would take these two ideas that daily making a list and 1000challenge a dare to list 1000 things, and I was telling one of my friendsthat it took me. I think I got took me to get 1000 and 94 before became a bitof a habit. But, you know, if we take time each day to list what we'regrateful for, it changes us. And, uh, I have not arrived. I'm at 4681 thismorning. But if we if we list what we're begins changing the way we lookat life, Brandon. And so I have a quick, other one. Final one. I have a friendwhose hobby is buying. Thank you. Cards. Probably. Most of you don't know whatthank you cards look like, but they're actually available in in in stores. Andthis friend of mine whenever he travels, he used to be president of one of GalenWesterns subsidiaries and this friend of mine Everywhere he travels, he buys10 thank you cards in a pack, and every 90 sits down beside is that. And hewrites a thank you note to at least two or three people every night. Who helpedme today that I want to be thankful for. So there's a couple of ways ofcultivating Fantastic. David. One last one here.Duncan, please. Awesome. Next David Appreciate you coming in and found theconversation quite insightful, Uh, two very quick questions. So the first isaround integrating family members into the family business who are notnecessarily involved in the operations. And we talked about this in class, butI'd be interested in your perspective on that because I know speaking fromexperience, family business tends to dominate diner table discussion, and Ithink that sometimes people can feel left out on that front. And then thesecond question is, if not going the long route and going into a differentbusiness before you add to your family, business is an option. For you are theways that you can achieve the same thing or at least get close throughother activities. So those are my questions? Sure. Christie, David, Ianother over cheating. I the person that I say we have time for one morequestion and he asked to. So go ahead, see what you can do with that. So So on.On the second question, what I tried to do working in our family company waswas actually not a bad idea. What I sought to do was to learn as much as Icould about the different divisions. So we had companies in real estate,construction, electrical mechanical contracting, interior design, propertymanagement, leasing. So, Duncan, if you're gonna work in your familyenterprise, I would look to try and get a much experience in as many differentareas as possible. That's not that's number one. Number two Get geographicexposure. So we had offices in Calgary and Edmonton. Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto,California So I worked in Toronto, Winnipeg, California, Vancouver. So getdiversity of experience, geography and and enrolls. The other thing that Ithink is very helpful is Don't be too proud I for me, you know, big humilityhas been a theme here already. Start with doing the simple job. So back ThioLarry Rosen as an example. You know, he started as a salesman on the floorselling, and then he worked in inventory control. And then he workedin the buying group. So, Duncan, I...

...would suggest get diverse experience.Started the bottom. Your first question. Waas Just if people are directlyinvolved in the family business, kind of how to integrate them or make themfeel not left out, Sure how to integrate people if it's not directlyinvolved. So there's two things one thing is that we all can learn as afamily together. So I've heard of one of my mentors, the gas people beyondfamily. Philip and Andy, the gas people banned from Montreal. They say thatfamilies that learned together stay together. So one thing families you can.So they started. They have three kids who are all Harvard MBA, all threeHarvard grads. They spent three years of family meetings, and all they workedon was learning to communicate. So we can. We can involve anybody, andeverybody could benefit from being together and learning aboutcommunication skills regardless, with you in the middle. So that's one I'veheard. Others say that families who play together stay together. And so,you know, I know a family from Vancouver every other year, eight kidsEvery other year, the patriarch of the family flew everybody to Hawaii. Allexpenses paid for a couple of weeks so they could play together for a week.The alternating years. They could be with their spouses, families. But everyother week they play together, and you know, others say that families thatpray together so, you know, focus on what unites you as a family So, Duncan,you don't have to be in a family business to play together or to praytogether or to learn together. So I would encourage, find things you coulddo together. Okay, Couple summary things. David, I met you some 15 yearsago, shortly after you were transitioning out of DominionConstruction. And I've got to say, every year that goes by your happierand I've got to think that has to do with your curiosity to meet people, toework with people. The more you meet other enterprising families, the moreyou gain from. This is well. And I can see this in your energy, your quest tobe the top water ski guy in the world. I see that one coming true very soonbecause you're peeking physically as we go along. But I'm so proud that youshared words like gratitude, curiosity, forgiveness, patients, things that wedon't throw around a lot at a business school. So on behalf of our familyshift alumni and our family shift program partners and the I V. Businessschool in the Ivy community, we want to thank you for the privilege of yousharing your thoughts with us and We wish you all the best. The book, ladiesand gentlemen, is called dear Younger me. Hold it up there. You can contactme. I can get you directly lined up with David and his advisory firm andwill make sure, David, that we spread the gospel of humility, empathy,curiosity, listening, gratitude, forgiveness, critical thinking,patients and, above all else, contentment. Thanks so much, my friendDavid Bento David, Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure. And if anybody isinterested in the book, if you order it through my website, I'll sign itpersonally for you. Just let me know because we got coffees here in my home.So I'll be delighted. It's really fun this morning. Thanks for the greatquestions. David, Thank you so much for inviting me. You've been listening tothe Ivy Entrepreneur podcast toe. Ensure that you never miss an episode.Subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit ivy dot c aforward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime. Thank you.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (41)