Jim & Paul Warner - Successfully Navigating Multi-Generational Family Dynamics [The Business of Family]


7 December 2020

1 hr 3 mins 10 secs

Season 1

Your Host
Special Guests

About this Episode

Jim and Paul Warner work together in multi-generational family dynamics helping all parties establish and sustain authentic, synergistic, relationships.

Paul leads young adult retreats, focusing on authentic relationships, navigating change, and leadership development. He also coaches young adults seeking clarity on their life purpose, mission, and vision, and guides them to take full responsibility for their lives.

Jim’s work has led him to write three books and an audio series based on high achievers’ yearnings for identity, meaning, and connection. He has been married 44 years and enjoys enriching relationships with his wife, their three adult children, and a granddaughter.

Jim and Paul work extensively with Young Presidents’ Organization and Family Business Network Families Worldwide. The last dozen years they have also guided several S.E. Asian families in their quest to establish enduring principles across multiple generations.

Standout Quotes:

  • "One of the major issues of families of wealth is they make the mistake of insulating the kids from the realities of living outside of the wealth bubble" - [Jim Warner]
  • "Without being able to experience pain, you cheat people out of the ability to experience joy; I'd like to think of pain and joy as opposite sides of the same coin and if you mute one, you're gonna mute the other" - [Jim Warner]
  • "If we want our young adult children to step into their sense of destiny, are we modeling that ourselves?" - [Jim Warner]
  • "If you've worked with one family, you've worked with one family" - [Jim and Paul Warner]
  • "Introduce a common language within the family so that we can play in these intentional spaces, to stretch towards each other." [Paul Warner]
  • "Harmony is impossible without the willingness to go into painful discussions" - [Jim Warner]
  • "If you choose not to discuss the Elephant in the room, you forfeit the right to complain" - [Jim Warner]
  • "When all parties are willing to play ball, when all parties are willing to take responsibility, we'll often say "right now this family has 600% responsibility" each of you takes 100% responsibility for what is within your control." [Paul Warner]
  • "Love is unconditional, relationships are not" - [Jim Warner]

Key Takeaways:

  • Jim explains the need to distinguish supporting and protecting, from enabling, because oftentimes families blur those lines.
  • Mike and Jim agree that being insulated from the rest of the world does not necessarily protect wealthy children but may do more harm than good.
  • Governance structures are secondary to parental modeling of core values.
  • Rather than jumping right into getting the kid fit for succession, the key thing a parent should ask is "How do I help my young adult find their own passion in life?"
  • Jim highlights 3 key steps to balancing being a nurturing parent while not enabling children: Active listening, Allowing children to face disappointment, and Guiding them to take responsibility for their lives.
  • Many professionals who go into a family environment have a relatively small toolbox; if all you've got is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.
  • Harmony is about truth-telling, it's not about being nice to one another
  • Jim stresses that the goal of discussing the painful topics (the elephant in the room) is the potential of having an authentic family relationship as opposed to a transactional family relationship
  • If a sense of self-awareness is instilled into children, then when they're adults you can have mature transformational discussions as a family, but without it, the children may never grow up.
  • The components of the "Trust" that sets elders apart: Credibility, Reliability, Honesty, Vulnerability and Adaptability.
  • There are two ways life happens; life can happen to me where I'm the victim, or life can happen by me where I'm a creator and I create my own options
  • Life is a journey and the important things take time; part of that journey will be your individual discovery and deeper understanding and connection with yourself.
  • Don't change, I love you just the way you are

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:50] Mike briefly introduces both Jim and Paul Warner, and they share some of their background stories
  • [04:45] Paul describes the impact of his father in his eventual choice of profession
  • [07:22] What are some of the challenges that you've seen for parents raising motivated and happy children amidst wealth?
  • [13:47] What role do you think formal governance structures play in shaping strong family values and bonds?
  • [17:05] Paul's definition of the rising generation, describing the common dynamic between them and the older generation.
  • [20:25] How do you help people identify their own path and whether or not they're fit for succession?
  • [22:46] How Paul got into the family business
  • [28:02] Jim describes how a parent can be welcoming and nurturing without enabling the children
  • [29:55] The approach to working with different families
  • [33:45] 13 guidelines for authentic interactions in any environment
  • [39:10] Discussing the "Elephant in the room"
  • [51:37] What sets an elder apart with respect to the ability to influence the success of a family?
  • [01:00:06] From Paul to his kids
  • [01:01:07]From Jim to his kids

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Episode Links

  • Jim Warner — Jim Warner is an entrepreneur, author, and transitions expert. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he founded, grew, ran, and eventually sold an international software company.
  • Paul Warner — Paul is a seasoned facilitator and coach in professional, personal, and social sectors. He specializes in creating environments for small groups to openly share, build trust, establish deeper authentic connections, and navigate difficult topics through experiential retreats and tailored workshop trainings.
  • Click here for specific tools for Enhancing Family Dynamics — (as referenced in the podcast)
  • Book: Facing Pain - Embracing Love - by Warner, Jim — Our highly competitive society drives us to be the best and accumulate the most. Yet, as we earn more recognition and wealth, the less we seem to enjoy our lives. In our quiet moments, many of us sense a vague unease and admit that something important is missing. Facing Pain - Embracing Love uses a unique geographic metaphor to guide you out of that discontent and into the joy and richness of authentic living.
  • Book: The Drama-Free Office (a.k.a. The Drama-Free Family) by Klemp, Kaley & Warner, Jim — In The Drama-Free Office, authors Jim Warner and Kaley Klemp interweave humorous and relatable case studies with the key skills you'll need for managing office and family saboteurs--be they subordinates, coworkers, boss, parent, child, in-law or other relatives. You will see your coworkers, family members (and yourself) in this entertaining and practical blueprint for addressing the dramatic behaviors that cripple so many teams and families.
  • Book: 13 Guidelines for Effective Teams by Klemp, Kaley — Good communication is at the heart of every successful team and family. 13 Guidelines for Effective Teams gives each individual within an organization or family the power to create the most reliable environment for effective communication. Used by an entire team or family, the stage is set for breakthrough creativity and authentic relationships. Team and family facilitator, Kaley Warner Klemp, has compiled these powerful principles into a concise pocket manual, making effective team or family communication accessible in virtually any work environment.
  • Book: Aspirations of Greatness by Warner, Jim — AoG introduces several models for navigating the treacherous rapids of midlife, with principles that apply to anyone who feels lost, lonely, or unloved. The book is a blueprint for positive change and offers uplifting, practical guidelines for living out your innate genius with gratitude, wisdom and serenity.
  • Audio Series: When Having It All Isn’t Enough by Warner, Jim — This 12-part audio series identifies the issues, dilemmas, and emotions faced by an emerging generation of successful, but unfulfilled, professionals. These “winners with heart” appear to have it all, yet yearn for purpose, connection, and inner peace, along with a renewed energy and aliveness. They have attained affluence and power, but confess to feeling little sense of mission, meaning, or connection in their lives.