What Kind of Leader Are You?

The NFL season is upon us, which for many of you is the best time of year.  I am not a huge NFL fan, but I will still watch some games, as I recover from my College Football Saturday hangover.   Each year, every team heads into the season hopeful that they will raise the Lombardi Trophy as the winner of the championship.  

 The Super Bowl trophy is named after one of the all-time great NFL coaches, Vince Lombardi.   He is famous for being a strong, tough, and fearless leader.   He said once, “We never lost a game; we just ran out of time.”  He hated losing more than he loved winning.  Excellence was all he accepted from his players.  He would not tolerate less than 100% at all times from his teams.

 In a sports leadership class that I was recently teaching, I asked my students to watch short videos on about 20 different past NFL coaches, and then write down characteristics that they admired, and that they did not, in each coach.   Coach Lombardi was one of the coaches in the videos, along with former coaches such as Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh, Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Mike Ditka, John Madden, George Halas, and Tom Landry, to name a few.

 Each coach had his own unique style for leading his team, and the videos showed interviews with former players, assistant coaches, and others who knew these men very well.

 They all had tremendous success; many won multiple championships, coached Hall of Fame players, and developed outstanding successors.   But each had a very unique style.

 Two that come to mind immediately for me are Bill Parcells and Tony Dungy.   Both have won it all, have coached legendary players, and developed a long line of successful assistant coaches.   Yet their styles could not be more dramatically opposite.

Parcells and Dungy have both won over 140 games as a coach, and they have 3 Super Bowl wins combined as coaches, as well.   (Parcells 2, and Dungy 1, although he also won once as a player)

 Parcells was known for being tough, demonstrative on the sidelines, in the face of his players constantly, always yelling at his guys, often belittling them in front of others, and sometimes grabbing them and shoving them to the bench.  In other words, Parcells was the stereotypical head football coach.  He was tough, he was vocal, and he always expressed his feelings, many times on camera!

 Dungy was much more soft spoken, led more by example than by words, could be seen putting his arms around players on the sideline just about every week, and smiled more than just about any coach on game days.  Dungy, a devoted family man and strong Christian, never swore on the sidelines, and rarely screamed at the officials. 

 An old boss of mine was an NFL referee, and worked several games coached by both Parcells and Dungy.  “The difference in their styles was as different as night and day”, he told me once.  “But the one common denominator in both coaches was that it was clear that each loved his team, and would step in front of a bus for any one of his players, from the star quarterback, to the 3rd string kicker!”

 As you can see, their styles were completely different, yet their results were very similar.   

 I have heard dozens of players who played for these two coaches say very similar things.  “He loved coaching, he loved his players, and I always knew he was in my corner. “  “He was fair, and he was tough, but I knew he was dedicated to teaching us the game, and to winning.”   “Coach was loyal to everyone who wore our uniform, and always treated us like we were his own sons.   All of us knew he had our backs, no matter what.”  “We won because he was passionate, he was smart, and he brought out the best in us, in games, but especially in practice, and he always expected great things from us on and off the field.”

 These are just a few quotes from former players who played for either Parcells or Dungy. It really doesn’t matter who said what about whom.  What matters is this:  There is not a leadership style that is one size fits all.   The important thing is to lead from your own experiences, be true to your style, and most importantly, be committed to your people, be fiercely loyal to them, and be a resource to them in all things, at all times, and in all places.  You are not there to be their friend.  You are there to be their ally, their mentor, their beacon, and their defender.   They can trust you to guide them where they cannot go without you.

 We can read thousands of leadership books about how to lead, but the books about great leaders are so much more powerful.  Find leaders you admire, and study their lives, their behaviors, and their styles.  Emulate the ones that you think are, or were, great.  Perhaps it was a famous world leader.   Maybe you most admire an old coach, or your parents.   Some of my greatest leadership examples have come from my parents, my high school baseball coach, a few teachers, and coaches, and many of you who demonstrate great leadership qualities as you lead your companies, your families, or other groups and teams.

 Each of us has our own unique personality, which ultimately determines the way we treat people, lead people, and interact with those around us.  Our leadership and communication style will be determined by our personalities.

 Do not try to be what you are not.   Lead from your life, from your experiences, and from what is true and authentic to you.   This is the only style that works across every situation.  

 So what kind of leader is the best?  Simple.  You.   Be you.   Emulate others, but lead from your heart. 

Posted in Family Business, Leadership, NFL, Wisdom Wednesday | Tagged

What Am I Going to Do?

By Ed Hart, Director, Center for Family Business, Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, and President, Hart Professional Services

A colleague here at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at Cal State Fullerton is retiring in the next couple of weeks. The other day, she popped into our office, and in our conversation, I asked the question that everyone gets asked when they are about to retire, and that is

“So what are you going to do once you retire?”

I loved her response, and it is the reason I felt inspired to write this. Sure, her response might have been sarcastic, but as we talked about it, it was more profound than she realized. It is the answer I hope to give when that time comes for me.

Her answer was simple, and it contained just three words.   She has planned this out for quite some time, and has been preparing for years for this time in her life.   She has the next chapter in her life all mapped out and, in fact, she already started writing that chapter, most likely, years ago.

Her answer taught me a lot. It helped me realize the reason why so many CEOs, family business owners, and other leaders hesitate to retire, and have trouble giving up control in their jobs, of their companies, or departments.

“What am I going to do with myself”

is a question that many ask themselves, or give as their answer when they get asked the question above. I hear this regularly as I work and consult with CEOs who are closing in on that “magic number”, whatever that number may be. They have worked so hard, put so much time, effort and energy into their business or job that they just have not prepared or planned for their eventual free time in retirement. Quite honestly, they are afraid of not being busy, of not adding value or contributing, or not having the type of purpose that they had while in their career.

Others have become strangers in their homes, and their spouses dread the day when retirement approaches because of the routine and free time that might be sacrificed when the other is home every day. It is a centuries-old joke that the wife wants the husband “out of the house” when he retires, so he ends up at the country club every day, or fishing, or sitting at the local coffee shop reading the paper and doing crossword puzzles.   Not that golf, fishing, or crossword puzzles are bad (I plan to do a lot of the former, and perhaps some of the other two, when my day comes), but many take up or return to these hobbies because they don’t know what else to do. Then their relationships with loved ones often deteriorate, and they feel less and less valued and important.

Okay, you’ve waited long enough for my colleague’s somewhat sarcastic, yet profound, three word response. Again, the question I asked was “So what are you going to do once you retire?”

Her response?

“Not come here.”

I laughed, at first, but then realized that this can be extremely powerful when we think about it.

In other words, she will continue to do the things she is already doing in her free time – visiting grandkids, traveling, gardening, spending time with her spouse, her friends, writing, working on little side businesses, etc. I don’t know if she does most of these things, but I do, and hope to do them a lot more when I retire.

The “a-ha” that came to me from this simple answer was that we all (regardless of our age, or target retirement date) need to be doing things now on the weekend, at night, in our spare time, that we hope to do more of when we retire.

Spend time with your spouse now.   Visit your kids and grandkids now. Golf now. Travel now. Read more now. See more movies now. Plant that garden now.   Learn to play the piano now.   Have lunch with your friends now.   Go to a ballgame now. Even if you work 60 hours a week (many say they do – most don’t), and sleep 8 hours a night (not many of us get that much sleep), that still leaves you with 52 hours a week when you are not working or sleeping.   If you commute one hour each way to and from work, then you still have 42 hours left.   You can easily fit some of these things into 42 hours a week!

Retire Now, So to Speak

The point is this.   Begin doing the things today that you would like to do more once you retire. You will find that retirement will be more fulfilling. Your spouse will be more excited to spend time with you if you are already spending some of those 42 hours each week together. Your grandkids won’t wonder who that stranger that smells funny is when you go visit after missing their first 10 (or more) birthdays.   Your golf game will thank you, and you will win some money from your friends if you have been playing before retirement and they haven’t. And we all know retirement income is at a premium, so why not take some of your friends’ hard-earned cash on the golf course because you have been playing over the years and they haven’t! J

The only thing that should change when you retire is that you will “not come here”.   This will give you more time to do the things you already are doing when you are not “here” at work.

Seems simple. It isn’t.

So here is your mission, should you choose to accept it.

Find one thing that you miss doing, or plan to put off until retirement, and start doing it today.   Your future self, and your loved ones, will thank you.   Also, your employees will thank you now because leaders with balance in their lives are happier, more effective, and have proven to be stronger, better, and more fair leaders and bosses.   Their companies are thriving, as well.

If you have any stories or examples of what you do now that you plan to do more when you retire, or questions about how to prepare your company, your family, or your employees for taking over when you retire, call me at 657-278-7431, or send me an email at edhart@fullerton.edu. Visit www.csuffamilybusiness.com for more information about the Center for Family Business, and how we have been assisting family leaders since 1995.

Posted in Uncategorized

Is Your Family Business a Winning Team?

Date: August 6th, 2014

Time: 7:00-9:00AM

Location: Scott O’Brien Room, Mihaylo Hall

Speaker: Dr. Lori Muse

Topic: Is Your Family Business a Winning Team?

Is your family a highly functional team? Are you one cohesive unit, or are there so many moving parts that your departments work in silos? Come to our next Family Business for Breakfast workshop and learn techniques and ideas to help your family business run more like a team, and less like a group of individuals!

This event will be led by The Rick Muth Endowed Chair for Family Business, Dr. Lori Muse. While you work with other family businesses in the area, Dr. Muse will provide a fun, highly interactive, and profound journey. You will come away with excellent tools you can bring back to work to immediately improve the way your team works together, in the workplace, as well as at home.

Dr. Lori Muse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management. She received her Ph.D. in Management from Auburn University (2002), where she also earned an M.S. in Human Resource Management and an MBA. Her dissertation is entitled, The Implications of Work-Life Benefits for Employee Work-Family Conflict and Job Attitudes and Behaviors. Her research focuses on the relationship of benefits and work-family conflicts. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Akron. She joins us after six years as a faculty member at Western Michigan University. She has several working papers and publications, including articles in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Managerial Inquiry and Family Business Review.

Posted in Uncategorized

New Member- ISYS Solutions

ISYS Solutions, Inc., and its CareerSmart Learning Division Join Center for Family Business
Center Adds Brea-Based Nursing Care Management Company to Membership
Fullerton, Calif., July 14, 2014 – The Center for Family Business (CFB), part of CSUF Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, today announced its newest member, Brea-based ISYS Solutions, Inc, and their CareerSmart Learning Division. The premier educational resource for family businesses in Southern California, the Center is pleased to welcome the Loumakis Family to its robust network of multi-generational family business leaders.
Founded in 1988, ISYS is focused on providing vanguard medical case management services to direct-insurers, self-insured private companies, public agencies and third-party administrators who are required to manage serious workplace injuries and disabilities
“Our family understands the uniqueness of family businesses and their importance to our national economy and local communities,” ISYS President Chris Loumakis said. “Once qualified members of generation two elected to join our business, we made a proactive decision to build ISYS into a dynamic multi-generational and multi-facetted enterprise that can benefit future generations of family and employees. Our objective is to learn from similar families and businesses, and to share our knowledge and insights with others.”
ISYS is among the largest service providers within California, Nevada and Arizona. Their CareerSmart learning division is devoted to providing innovative and leading-edge online and site-based continuing education opportunities to nurses, related medical professionals, counselors, social workers and operators of senior care facilities. These services are provided nationally, except the latter, which is provided throughout California only.
“Having ISYS/CareerSmart, and the Loumakis family join the Center gives us more industry diversity, and their organizational and family strength will be a tremendous asset to our extremely diverse membership,” stated Center Director Ed Hart. “We are approaching 50 business families in our Center, and the Loumakis family is exactly the type of family that benefits from our membership and educational offerings, and vice versa. In my visits with Chris and his daughters, I have seen firsthand how this will be a mutually beneficial relationship for all involved.”
ISYS’ Nurse Case Management and CareerSmart Learning divisions are places that bring together people with big minds, big hearts, lots of spirit and good character who work wisely and cooperatively to achieve positive outcomes for their customers and clients.
ISYS (www.isyscm.com) was established in 1998 and successful from its inception. Their CareerSmart Learning division (www.CareerSmart.com) was started in 2009 to broaden and diversify their business.

The Center for Family Business (CFB) is an educational forum under the direction of the nationally recognized and accredited business school, Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton. Center members are given the opportunity to learn from experts in an academic atmosphere, integrating classroom education with best business practices. During each academic year, the Center for Family Business offers eight workshops on topics of special interest to family business owners, confidential discussion groups, and informative and entertaining events—all of which help to educate and facilitate success for family businesses. For information on joining the Center, contact Robbin Bretzing at (657) 278-4182 or visit http://www.csuffamilybusiness.com
Mihaylo College of Business and Economics is a nationally recognized and accredited business school. It offers a full range of business courses delivered by faculty members who integrate classroom education with best business practices, technology, award-winning research, functional applications and real-world experience. The largest business college in California, Mihaylo College is among just 28 percent of business schools nationwide to be accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. Mihaylo College is included in the Princeton Review’s 2012 list of “Best 296 Business Schools,” a ranking based on each school’s students, physical environment, admissions requirements, teaching ratios and programs. It is also among the top 150 part-time MBA programs recognized by U.S. News & World Report.

Posted in Uncategorized

Upcoming Workshops

Mark Your Calendars Now!
Upcoming Workshops for the Center for Family Business

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 4:30 – 7:00 PM CSUF Mihaylo Hall (Dinner at 5:00 PM)
“Pass the Business, Please! – How to Transition the Family Company to the Next Generation”
Lois Lang, Evolve Partner Group

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 7:30 – 10:00 AM CSUF Mihaylo Hall (Breakfast at 7:45 AM)
“Successful Transitions Panel – Three Companies Who Have Done it Well”
Panel discussion with Cascade Pump, Hill Brothers Chemical, and Teacher Created Materials

Thursday, October 23, 2014 12:00 – 2:00 PM Irvine Marriott
Dean’s Annual Economic Forecast & Luncheon

Wednesday, November 18, 2014 4:30 – 7:00 PM Ayres Hotel, Costa Mesa (Dinner at 5:00 PM)
“It’s All About The People”
Garry Ridge, CEO WD-40

Wednesday, December 10 – Center for Family Business Holiday Party – Time and Location TBD
2015 Calendar to be published shortly…but hold the following dates and times:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 4:30 – 7:00 PM CSUF Mihaylo Hall
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 7:30 – 10:00 AM CSUF Mihaylo Hall
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM Ayres Hotel, Costa Mesa
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 4:30 – 7:00 PM CSUF Mihaylo Hall
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 7:30 – 10:00 AM CSUF Mihaylo Hall

We look forward to seeing you at all of our workshops, and hope you will invite other family businesses you may know, as well!

Posted in Uncategorized

…from the Hart

The Future is in Great Hands – Young Leaders Groups Preparing for The Future,
While Making a Lasting Impact Today!

In June, I attended the annual Family Business Directors Alliance conference in Pennsylvania, hosted by Wilkes University in Scranton, PA. 25 of my counterparts and I met for three days at the Woodloch Pines Resort to discuss our best workshops, speakers, and other special events and programs that we all run. The big take away from this meeting, for me, was the amount of time Family Business Centers, including ours, around the USA and Canada are spending on developing the next generation of family business leaders, and the success of Peer Affinity Groups in each of the Centers.
I came away feeling really good about the progress that we have made here at the Center for Family Business. The future success of any business is in the hands of leaders that are being developed today. With the addition of two new Young Leaders Peer Affinity Groups in 2013, over 20 of our family business member companies are represented and focusing on topics and strategies to strengthen their individual families and companies for years to come.
These groups meet on a rotating basis over lunch, once a month, and the feedback from the members has been extremely positive. Led by experienced executives and facilitators each of these two groups has reported back that they are attacking challenges that they face in their current day-to-day operations, as well as preparing for opportunities and issues they may face in the future.
Here are a few comments from members of our Young Leaders groups:
“Joining the Young Leaders Affinity Group was the best decision I made in terms of getting the most out of my membership with the Center for Family Business. I came to quickly realize that my issues are not unique to my family business. To have a group of peers (who I now consider my friends) who can relate to my situation and give me sound advice is priceless.” – Mayumi Martinez, HOSA Technology
“Being part of the Peer Affinity Group has brought great perspectives to me regarding my family business. We meet in a trusting & supportive atmosphere where we can all share our challenges, experiences and goals. The investment is well worth it to be part of the Peer Affinity Group and the Center for Family Business. – Linh Nguyen, Advance Beauty College
“I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone in my Peer Affinity Group. It is a safe environment where we can share business issues that are not only relevant to just Family Business issues, but business in general. I rely on my group as an informal advisory board who hold me accountable and give me invaluable insight. I would highly recommend joining a group for any Young Leaders out there.” – Jenny Dinnen, MacKenzie Corporation
If you would like to learn more about joining an existing Peer Affinity Group (Young Leaders, CEO, or Women’s Group), please contact the Center at 657-278-4182, or cfb@fullerton.edu. New groups are forming now, and we would love to have you involved in one of these dynamic peer groups!

Posted in Uncategorized

Family Business Dynamics Course: MGMT 335

Family Business Dynamics: MGMT 335

Graduate with the skills to successfully manage your own family business by taking MGMT 335

For More Information Please Contact Dr. Muse at: lmuse@fullerton.edu(657)278-8659

2014 Fall Semester

Mondays 4-6:45 pm

With Dr. Lori Muse, Endowed Chair for the Center for Family Business and 2012 MCBE Outstanding Faculty Member!

Lori with Student Grad


  • Active learning design.
  • Students will interact with and learn from successful family business owners throughout Orange County.
  • Topics of business planning, succession planning, ownership, estate planning, compensation, family meetings, mission statements, conflict resolution, use of outside consultants and Boards of Directors.

Student Testimonials:

“I really enjoyed hearing from all the guest speakers. It gave us an accurate perspective of a family business. I also really enjoyed our field trip to GBS Linens. More courses should offer being in a real world example environment.”

“Thank you for making this class come to life through multiple of guest speakers.”

“Always prepared, friendly, informative, knowledgeable, and approachable.”

“Professor Muse made us think critically about the challenges family business’ face. We had a lot of guest speakers that helped us with the course.”

“I really enjoyed the field trip since it gave the class a chance to really understand a family business.”

“Professor Muse made the class interesting and challenging.”

“Professor Muse is a great professor. I would recommend this course and the professor to other students.”

“Dr. Muse is amazing. This class is about real experience and makes even those who do not have a family business to want to understand them.”

Aside | Posted on by

Best Advice to a Family Business? Seek Outside Advice!

“In the multitude of counselors (Advisors) there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

There is safety in numbers. We have all heard this before. However, it is not entirely true. The safety comes from being with the right people, those who can lift us up, teach us, guide us, and lead us. When we trust the people around us, and they trust us, that is where the safety is found.

In your family business, you have had success because you know your business, your customers, your industry, and you have established values and procedures that work for you and your customers.

However, there comes a time for each of us when we realize that we do not know everything, and that we determine that reaching out to others will be the best way to gain the knowledge and expertise that we lack. We seek trusted advisors in all aspects of our lives, so why wouldn’t we do the same in the area that creates our livelihood?

Over 70% of businesses in the United States are family owned and operated. Of these family businesses, close to 75% do not successfully pass from the founding generation to the next. The percentages are even more alarming as we look at companies successfully making it to generation 3, and beyond.

One reason why family businesses do not successfully pass from one generation to the next is that there simply are not members of the next generation, for whatever reason, who are available or interested in running the business. Sometimes, the lack of expertise or industry knowledge prevents the existing leadership to have confidence in the next generation, as well.

In just about all cases, it is suggested that family businesses consider finding resources outside of the family to assist in the leadership of the company. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should bring in a non-family CEO, but you should always be willing and open to bringing in someone from the outside to work in key positions where the family may not have the right education and experience.

The most successful family businesses in the world have a lot in common, but one thing you will find consistent in every world class family business is that they know that they do not know everything, and that there is experience out there beyond their family that can make a tremendous impact on the business.

There are organizations, consultants, associations, and service providers who specialize in working with family-owned enterprises, who have years of experience in working with the best family companies in the world. These trusted advisors can be found at your bank, CPA firm, law firm, Vistage, Family Business Centers like ours at Cal State Fullerton, The Family Business Consulting Group, etc. They can even be found in other companies, who have walked miles in your shoes, and understand the decisions and conflicts that you face today.

Again the safety that can be found in working with people, and experts, you can trust could be the turning point for your family, and your business.

Another major point to consider is when to reach outside of your family for expertise on a day-to-day basis in your company. In all likelihood, your family does not have all of the experience necessary to take your company to the next level.

“The turning point in our business”, states Anna’s Linens founder and CEO Alan Gladstone, “was when we realized that we did not know everything there was to know about our industry, about retail, and about our marketplace. About 10 years ago, we began bringing in experts in retail, and in the geographic areas where we do business.” Anna’s Linens, a wildly successful family business headquartered in Costa Mesa, CA, has 312 stores scattered around the United States, including stores in Puerto Rico. “When we came to the conclusion that there was more expertise outside of our family, and began to tap into that knowledge, we grew faster and healthier than at any time in our company’s 36 year history.”

Anna’s Linens was the 2007 Orange County Family Business of the Year, just 3 years after turning to experts outside of their family.

Giving up any control in your company is very tough. However, one of the greatest strengths of any leader is humility. Being able to not only see where needs are not being met by the current family leadership, but then stepping outside of the family to find the talent needed to take your company to the next level, is a great demonstration of this humility.

In addition to bringing in outside experts to work in the company, as Gladstone has done with Anna’s Linens, the most successful family companies in the world also reach out to experts to sit on their advisory boards, as consultants, or as previously mentioned, they join with other family businesses in organizations such as Vistage, their local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary, or find a university or organization with a Center for Family Business, where owners of family companies come together to share ideas, issues, and consult with one another.

The bottom line is to recognize that you do not know everything there is to know about your industry, and that there are experts, even in other industries, who have a wealth of knowledge who can be a great resource to you. For years, I have worked with companies in a variety of industries, and time after time, I hear stories from leaders of family organizations tell me that the best ideas they have received to make the biggest impact on their company came from someone not only outside of their company, but from a completely different industry, as well.

Remember, there is safety in numbers, as long as the numbers consist of people we trust, and who trust us.

For assistance in finding trusted resources, whether it is to set up an advisory board, join a peer group, or meet with other family businesses, feel free to reach out to me at 657-278-4182, edhart@fullerton.edu, or visit us at http://www.csuffamilybusiness.com.

Posted in Uncategorized

Save The Dates!


Posted in Uncategorized


If you have been to one of our last two events, you may have met one of our newest members, Bowermaster and Associates!   Headquartered in Cypress, CA, this 60 year old insurance brokerage firm to run by 2nd generation CEO Mike Bowermaster, his son Adam, and his nephew Chris Trudeau, a CSUF alum!  They provide insurance consulting, risk management and cost-effective programs for businesses and families throughout California.

Mike, Adam, and Chris are full of energy, are extremely bright and knowledgeable about all things insurance, and bring a tremendous spirit of entrepreneurship, family values, passion, and humor to the Center. Take time to get to know them – you will be glad you did!   We will officially welcome them at our September workshop.   Meanwhile, you can visit their website at www.bowermaster.com.

Bowermaster - Plain

Posted in Uncategorized