~ January 2011 Edition
~ Contributing Editor: Bob Black ~
Member at Large
Did you know that January speaker Dennis Dwyer is the author of several books, the latest being "This Business of Family: Preventing and Resolving Disputes in Family-Owned Businesses"? At the break, Dennis signed 10 books, which he offered at half price to Probus members, with all proceeds going to the Perth & District Food Bank. Now that is a great segue into our annual helping hand to the Food Bank, which always needs assistance during the winter months. Donations will be accepted during the February and March Probus meetings. Please consider adding to the amount that Dennis has already raised. Make cheques payable directly to “Perth & District Food Bank”, and expect to receive your charitable contribution receipt in February 2012.
This Business of Family by Bob Black
At our January meeting, speaker Dennis Dwyer unveiled a two part presentation “Mediation and Dispute Resolution” and “Small Home Based Businesses for Seniors”.
Dennis clearly demonstrated that he can take a not too exciting January topic (Part 1) , chop it into various parts, get us yelling at each other and end up with all being friends again and very much wiser about the world of resolving disputes. In Part 2, because we are now friends again, he had us chasing our dreams of small businesses we could pursue as retirees here in Perth.
In Part 1, Dennis covered his experiences from 1994 to 2004 by earning his living as a mediator for large groups in areas such as; businesses, academia, churches and in particular family owned businesses (FOB) that were needing professional help in resolving disputes. He pointed out that FOBs make up over 50% of Canada’s GDP and create 75% of all jobs. As they are an essential part of Canada’s economy, he noted it is important that when disputes arise they should quickly seek professional assistance.
Using some well documented examples he pointed out the importance of not accepting that a problem exists and thus waiting too long to seek help. To succeed, mediators need to be direct, be well prepared and ensure the disputants are willing to communicate.
The fun began when he got us to role play a dispute between a 3rd generation Perth farmer with award winning roses and his newly arrived lawyer neighbour from Toronto with an angora male cat which took a liquid liking to the roses. Roles using “passive”, “aggressive” and “assertive” modes were attempted to resolve the dispute. In one group the lawyer would not accept “catstration” as an option.
Dennis stressed the importance of a Win –Win outcome and flagged some basic assumptions for success. Disputants need to take into consideration their “Long Term Intelligent Self Interest” (LISI) and think long and hard about expected and wanted outcomes. As shown by some examples, failure to do so can lead to very unexpected and bad outcomes. He concluded that the mediator’s role is to seek the “Area of Common Interest” where resolution is achievable.
In Part 2, Dennis switched gears and offered us a chance to earn some extra cash by owning a seniors business in Perth. To ensure there would be some cash, we were again challenged in small groups to determine either “NEEDS” (opportunities) or “ASSETS” (skills). Twenty minutes later the feedback from each group demonstrated that Probians are just full of great ideas particularly in needed services (e.g. managing grave sites, traveller advisers, house management, financial / tax services, house downsizing, roving Perth bus, driving seniors to Florida, computer support, e-bay shopping etc). Although not really surprising, based on self intros, the list of skills and experience was far too long to try to list. It would be easier to list the skills we don’t have.
Thanks again Dennis for a challenging interactive presentation. A great start to 2011.
Self-introduction ~ Peter Richardson.
by Bob Black
Peter’s self intro was a classic! He said he’d be brief (we’ve heard this before) and he certainly was – less than 3 minutes. It took two of us to keep up with his rapidly delivered brief life story. Here is what we got down. Peter was born in Ottawa, he attended Hopewell Public School, Glebe Collegiate and played basketball at Carleton University. He is married with 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Peter worked 35 years with STELCO working out of Hamilton, Burlington, Halifax and Windsor and travelled extensively throughout the USA. He retired to Perth 20 years ago and took on a real estate career for 6 years. Since then he has been the Overseer of his wife’s inherited managed forest near McDonalds Corner’s. Since coming to Perth, Peter has been actively involved in various endeavours such as Board Chair at the Perth Golf Club, Board member of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and the Rideau Valley Field Naturalists. Peter’s succinct intro was acknowledged by an almost standing ovation. For further details have a chat with Peter during coffee time.
Management Team Notes