Working successfully together as mother and daughter team
You would think that considering Anisa is a proverbial chip off
an old block that we would work harmoniously all the time. Not so.
Both of us are creative and work in similar ways but we are both
head strong, fiercely independent and resist being told what to do
especially by each other!
Anisa asked to do her industrial placement with me as she is
already proving to be a skilled trainer of young people and won the
Aim Higher Mentor of the Year award for Birmingham. The family were
sceptical - "but you will just fight all the time " was the regular
In the first two months of our working together, bearing in mind
we work with associates who are freelance and work remotely as
indeed we do, it was a nightmare. We got to the point we couldn't
even communicate rationally. I was clearly the dinosaur of business
and she was the new girl on the business block. Twitter? What's
that? Facebook? Not using that, it's for kids, said I firmly as I
went back to the regular marketing techniques I'd always used.
Tasks would be allocated but Anisa would get better ideas and
want to run with those. I would be chasing her for work we'd agreed
but instead she'd come back with a new initiative which, being
stubborn, I wouldn't accept. Finally it reached a point when I
threatened disciplinary action. She threatened me with her sister
who's a lawyer!
In the end, we agreed to part company. She started to look for
other placements, I decided to rethink Fifteen Minute Trainer.
After two weeks, we missed each other. (Ahhh.) We did have some fun
and she is an amazing businesswoman with great potential. Clients
loved her. All the good things about working with Anisa were coming
to mind and I conveniently forgot about the rows.
It was pointed out to me as well that she is only 20.
I called a board meeting (in our PJs and over cups of tea) and
told her how impressed I was with her skills and acumen and would
like to carry on with the working relationship. She was so happy
and hugged me. Was that appropriate behaviour for a co-director I
asked? We fell about laughing.
We drew up a list of our skills and looked at the best way of
dividing the tasks within the business - i.e. putting in
boundaries. We agreed that between certain hours of the day we
would use a business style of communication - no calling me Mum and
I couldn't call her babes. Instead of trying to control her every
move and make her account for her time, I gave her more
independence and agreed task-based working rather than time based.
I gave her 25% shares in the company as an incentive but drew the
line at a company car. The old banger would have to suffice for a
Being a specialist trainer in motivation, I have gone about
things with my own daughter in exactly the way I advise clients
against doing - i.e. I tried to control her instead of
trusting. Once I had empowered her to carry out certain
responsibilities in the business, the relationship changed. She now
works remotely from her own place and we link in once or twice a
week. We check each other's diaries on line and send updates when
necessary. She is flying. We are working for a common goal:
to build up the business so that when she graduates she can take it
on and keep me in a manner to which I can quickly become
If you are going to work with family, especially mother and
daughter (think of all those hormones), clear boundaries of
behaviour, work, responsibilities, expectations etc must be agreed
at the beginning. It is a business relationship like any other.
Have an independent third party as a non exec director to mediate
when necessary. Don't drag any other members of the family into the
Don't live with the person you work with!!
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