Jonathan Goldhill | Another Way to Play podcast

The Disruptive Successor with Jonathan Goldhill

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with the Founder of the GoldHill Group, Jonathan Goldhill. Jonathan is an adviser, coach, consultant, trainer, facilitator and business therapist with 30 years of experience. He has been guiding closely-held and family owned businesses since 1987. In addition, he has owned and managed several businesses that grew into multimillion-dollar companies. One of them is VEDC in Los Angeles, which grew from a fledgling org into the largest business economic development firm in the region.

Let’s dive right in to Jonathan’s story and learn what it takes for a family business to survive through generations and how he guides younger entrepreneurs to take over a family business.

[00:01 – 05:28] Opening Segment

Jonathan has been in the consulting business for entrepreneurs since 1987 and has been coaching his clients since 2004 when he started to niche down to family businesses. He made the decision after realizing that almost all of his clients are family businesses. Most of them are millennials who are second generation entrepreneurs and are ready to scale up and take leadership.

Taking over a business, especially a family business, has it’s own unique set of challenges. To further help entrepreneurs who are the next generation leaders in their businesses, Jonathan also wrote a guide book: The Disruptive Successor. The Disruptive Successor just went on sale last October 27. Jonathan will also be giving us a preview of what we can find in the book–what it means to be The Disruptive Successor– in this episode.

[05:29 – 11:10] The Disruptive Successor

In a family business, often times, there’s less attention on the business model and more attention on processes, products, and services. Jonathan calls a disruptor as such because he sees a disruptor as someone who’s going to completely change the business model. He thinks of the disruptor as someone who’s going to do things differently, someone who’s going to disrupt the status quo, the equity, and power. Someone who’s going to make use of technology to run operations, to upgrade their business’ purpose and messaging.

However, there are lots of challenges in trans-generational entrepreneurship. Statistics show that many family businesses fail. In addition, a lot of these businesses don’t last until the 3rd and 4th generation. However, Jonathan says he’s here to change that. Keep on listening closely for valuable tips as Jonathan discusses the dynamics of family businesses, what things should be done differently, and what things should stay the same.

[11:11 – 20:40] Becoming a coach and consultant in the Family-owned business sector

If you’re wondering where Jonathan’s passion for helping family businesses came from, it’s because his own family used to own a very successful business too. His grandfather, brothers, and their father used to own a very large clothing manufacturing business that sells three-piece suits in New York. They used to have their own factory in Philadelphia too. Unfortunately, after the third generation, the siblings of Jonathan’s mother, the remaining family members realized they no longer want to go into this business and eventually sold it.

This story contributed to Jonathan’s openness to new business ideas and opportunities. He even started an arts and clothing business with a partner. And although this particular business did not succeed, Jonathan gained a better understanding of what it really takes to run a successful business.

Several years later, Jonathan is now a coach, consultant, trainer, and financer for entrepreneurs. He shares with us more about what he does–he basically brokers the transition of the business from one generation to the next. With regards to his coaching style, Jonathan shares with us that there are actually four types of different coaches: the number cruncher, mentor-best friend, guru-all-knowing teacher, and drill instructor. Being a mix of the four types, Jonathan tells us what exactly are the difference between the four types, and as an entrepreneur, who should you hire to work with.

[20:41 – 27:52] Being a Disruptive Successor

To be a disruptor, an entrepreneur needs to make a lot of changes. Today, Jonathan shares with us several valuable pieces of advice for the next generation entrepreneurs who are ready to take the next step. In addition, he also shares the questions a current leader must ask themselves to find out if their successors are really ready to take that next step.

To be a disruptor, an entrepreneur needs to make a lot of changes. According to him, there are key things needed to successfully transition and take over for a senior person with a position above you. First and foremost, you need to have an agreement about the roles and responsibilities, the accountabilities, the core purpose of the business and why you’re actually doing this. Next, you also have to set-aside family dynamics to be able to look at things objectively as a business.

For the current leaders, Jonathan shares a list of things that one must look for in a successor.

  • Are they coachable? Humble? Open to input and feedback?
  • Do they act like a know it all? Are they arrogant?
  • Are they hungry? Will they make decisions based on an entitlement mentality?
  • Are they smart in terms of understanding the business? Also, are they people smart?
  • Are they going to choose people that you’re going to like and respect and will fit in the company culture?
  • Are they going to take care of the older people who stayed with the business for so long or push them out?

If you read through this list, you’ll probably notice one thing. For Jonathan, more than skill, what it takes to be the next leader is a person’s character, traits, management styles, human interaction components, and mindset.

[27:53 – 34:15] The FOCUS FIVE Segment

The FOCUS FIVE are five questions I ask every guest on my show. Keep on listening to find out what book Jonathan gifts most often; who would he talk to if he can get an hour of any person living or dead, from the past or the present, and why; that one thing he believes but most people will disagree with; his morning routine; and lastly, where are the best places we can connect with him online. (See the links below for Jonathan’s social media links!) 

Tweetable Quotes: 

“To be a real disruptive successor, he or she will have to make some pretty big changes. They need to understand what’s gonna be entailed in these types of changes. And having a playbook that lays-out how the road map’s going to be put together, is going to make it a lot easier.” – Jonathan Goldhill

“When choosing a successor, I want someone humble, I want someone who’s hungry, and I want someone who’s smart. I want them to be a constant learner, because they’re going to be leaders, and leaders are learners.” Jonathan Goldhill

“A person in the wrong seat, is gonna be miserable, uncomfortable and will not deliver the kind of returns for the shareholders, and you’re not going to make anyone happy.” – Jonathan Goldhill 

Resources mentioned in the episode:

You can connect with Jonathan by following him on LinkedIn or visit their website https://www.thegoldhillgroup.com/ . Grab a free chapter of his book at https://www.disruptivesuccessor.com/ 

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