Bumper Bowling


Photo by: Roger DeWitt


Bumper Bowling…

Full disclosure…I’m not a good bowler. BUT, I don’t think I need the bumpers on the lanes to avoid gutter balls. At least that’s what I think. HOWEVER…

There are some areas in my life where “bumpers” come in handy…

I’m trying to lose some weight. At my age, it’s tough. I exercise a lot, but as a good friend says,

You can’t outwork a bad diet …

My diet isn’t bad, but I LOVE cookies…And, if one or two are good, wouldn’t a dozen be better? Well, honestly, NO! So, recognizing that is the first step. Then, Mark, get on the scales. The scales don’t lie. I did just that. For the first time in months, about a month ago I got on the scales. And guess what? They didn’t lie...Let’s just say, I was not pleased with the truth the scales told me.

Saying I want to lose weight, wanting to lost weight…Those aren’t enough. I say that and want that all the time. So, what had to change? Two things, no actually three things. First, I decided to get on the scales every day. Secondly, I text what the scales tell me every day to a friend. Getting on the scales and texting my friend have become my “bumpers.” The third thing is a bit of a “duh,” but it’s eat less…In my case particularly, eat less cookies.

I may always have to practice bumper bowling with my weight. While bumper bowling may not be as satisfying as bowling without bumpers, when it comes to my weight

I’d rather “win” that game

even if it means bowling with bumpers.

What about you? Are there areas where you need to have bumpers? I meet with a lot of founders of family businesses.

Letting go is their greatest challenge.

They say they want to let go…They want to let go…(Just like me with my weight. J) But, they struggle with letting go.

So, what are some “bumpers” for founders?

Let me offer four ideas:

  1. Go away for a month. In almost every family business I’ve worked with, Mom and Dad have to physically get away for an extended period. I suggest at least a month. Physical separation can break the hold the family business has on the founder. Physical separation can be a bumper.
  2. Write down your new job description. At this stage of the game, what do you WANT to do? The founder/the “elder” needs to transition to the role of coach for the transition to the next generation to be successful. A written job description with accountability can serve as a bumper.
  3. Allow others to ask, “Is this in line with your transition plan?” Answer honestly. Those kinds of questions can be bumpers.
  4. Never go alone. Take a NextGen-er with you. They will learn by watching and participating in your discussion with your banker. Your banker will get to know a new “face” to your family business. Never going alone can be a bumper.

Now, will you ever get to “bowl without bumpers”? Maybe. Maybe not. But, just like me, if you want to lose weight, you’ll bowl with bumpers. Losing weight or letting go are higher priorities than bowling without bumpers.

What have you got to lose bowling with bumpers?

What might you lose if you don’t try?

 Give it a try. I bet you’ll be glad you did!



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