Change and Friendship

Change and Friendship

I recently sat in the front row, center seat listening to Larry Flick IV, President and CEO of Prudential Fox Roach and the Trident Company announce to over 2000 sales people, managers, leaders and employees, that his company had been recently purchased by Berkshire Hathaway, the company owned and guided by Warren Buffet.

We all know that companies come and go. That is the nature of life, time and change. In fact, most go, as in 70 percent of family business, and, according to a recent study, almost 80 percent of the rest. Forget continuity and security! Engage and deal with change, loss and survival!

Change is uncomfortable. We humans do not so, it very well, including me, although I had thought otherwise.

As I sat and listened to Larry and Earl Lee, the new CEO of Home Services, Larry’s new boss, I thought back to my early years with Larry and his fledgling company, Roach Brothers, a company of 7 offices on the Main Line and a workforce of about 750 people. I was a young, somewhat brash psychologist who thought he could offer some value to Roach Brothers. For some reason or another, Larry and other leaders such as Chip Roach and his father, Charlie, tolerated my outsider ideas and suggestions.

Almost 30 years later, Larry, leader of a three state company employing 7500 people, speaking to a community who he has committed his adult life to for over 50 years, is speaking with tears about his love and appreciation for being allowed to lead and serve his professional community and family. I looked around the room during his talk and took in the sentiments marinating the room. I sensed much connection and warmth, some suspicion and doubt and considerable concern about each person’s view of the future.

I also held all the above sentiments since I have been PFR’s psychological consultant for those past 30 years. Although other real estate companies, their owners and leaders had sought out my services, I stayed loyal to Larry and his team. I just enjoyed the vision and the opportunity to assist a powerful leadership team to be the best in class, the top in the country in providing a great home buying experience for sellers and buyers.

But, I must admit, I, probably like many in at the Main Ballroom of the Philadelphia Convention Center, felt some sadness at the end or an incredible long run to the race and the passing of the baton to someone else. Will I still have the opportunity to work with Larry and his team or will the new ownership bring in their own consultants? Will any of my work and teaching remain to help guide others to live successful lives? On a more practical level, will I have enough income coming in from my consulting and coaching fees to support my family?

Who knows the future?

Maybe all we can do is our best, fall in love with an enterprise and its people, give our best and not be attached to a result. I am quite content to know I ran a great race with fellow runners over many a rocky terrain and we navigated it quite well. We learned together along the way. We confronted reality. Usually we told the truth, laughed at our mistakes, kept reinventing the future and took action.

Just as Larry is no longer the same person, nor is his company, I am not the same. I have grown up at PFR and I know I have a vast array and reservoir of knowledge, wisdom and skills to continue bringing to my clients, either in my private practice or in the business coaching are.

But what I most greatly appreciate and treasure is my relationships with the leaders and managers at PFR. So, I say thank you to Gerry, Joan, Jim, Chip and his father, Charlie, the managers who put up with my adventure based personal growth programs, the many managers and sales people who came to see me for coaching and paid out of their own pockets. Thank you for the wonderful initiatives that worked and also for those that flopped! It was all a grand learning opportunity. And most of all thank you to Larry, my friend, student, teacher and partner in a 30 year effort to make something important happen.

I hope we have a few years left in us to continue the journey.

May we navigate our futures with passion, grace, humor, compassion and open minds and hearts.