Most family business consultants talk about the nitty-gritty finances of running an enterprise successfully. But to Tom Hubler, a St. Paul, Minn.-based pioneer in family business consulting, it’s all about “soul.”
A former therapist, Hubler is a founding member and fellow of the Family Firm Institute in Boston, which is now international, with over 10,000 members. For more than a decade, he has taught family business management at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Hubler, 77, recently published The Soul of Family Business: A Practical Guide to Family Business Success and A Loving Family and I met with him at a St. Paul coffee shop in St. Paul to discuss it. Highlights:
Chris Farrell: Why did you write the book?
Tom Hubler: I’ve got a lot of what I would call good ideas that are unconventional in regard to family businesses. My goal was to get this material out and into the mainstream of family business literature. That’s the professional answer….
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But when you realize that you’re closer to the back end [of life] than the front, you begin to wonder about whether your life has meant something… That’s another sort of subterranean reason to write the book.
For family business owners, legacy is important, isn’t it? The book starts out with the power of love, which isn’t a normal starting place when talking about entrepreneurship.
When I first started doing work with family businesses 35 years ago, one of the first things I learned was the bottom line is critical. The thought occurred to