Got Family Quick Bits: Nepotism

This is Got Family and I am Carey Berger. You know, George Carlin so many years ago talked about the 7 dirty words. For some folks there’s another one, there is an eighth and it is called nepotism. Isn’t nepotism a dirty word? And it kind of is in one setting to the extent that nepotism means that we’re going to advance somebody for no reason of their own that they’ve earned but simply because they’re a member of, sorry it sounds gross, but the lucky sperm club. If that’s the only reason why they got advanced then yes, that’s a dirty word. It helps nobody, it disenfranchises the employees who are working hard, it dumbs down the capability of the organization because you’ve got someone that is really not able to do the job and it gives a sense of the really dirty word that I am most offended by which is entitlement. That’s all a dirty word absolutely no question. However, it is not always a dirty word because there is another way of looking at nepotism and that’s this: assuming that the person we’re talking about has all the skills necessary, has made the commitment, has earned their way to that position then you have one more aspect to this human being which is a level of commitment, a level of ownership, a level of involvement even if they’re not yet an owner. They feel they are going to be, that this is my family, this is who I am and that commitment is what really shows. when you’re really looking for someone that you can count on when the chips are down you take the best and the brightest and you add on top of that one more layer of depth of commitment and that is family and that’s okay. Now, does that mean that you should always advance just because they’re  in the bloodline? Nope. That’s point one. Remember that’s the dirty word. You can’t have the sense of entitlement. You can’t have that advancement over others who deserve it more. But when those stars align and you can develop somebody, absolutely. The other thing is two, communication. The other people who are involved in the organization should be well aware if XYZ person Junior, your son, your daughter, your cousin, whoever is in the family has been working hard and earning it. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that he also has one leg up and it is just reality. And to some extent if an employee at some point is upset you say hun, you have to understand you knew all along this is the family business. I still will advance you as everybody else as the opportunities arise but yes there is one dimension that you can’t control and to that extent you will have to make a decision whether you do want to be part of this organization. Hopefully there are other reasons why they like it even better, but we can talk with that another time. For the meantime, I don’t think nepotism is a dirty word. This is got family and I am Carey Berger.