The Rhythm of Success: Aligning People, Priorities, and Passion in Family Business

In this episode, Gavin Brauer, a Professional EOS Implementer, shares his insights on the vital role of confidence in an entrepreneur’s journey and the challenges of staying true to oneself and one’s vision in the face of obstacles. With diverse experience in industries such as health tech, manufacturing, consumer brands, professional services, and non-profits, Gavin has successfully guided his clients to achieve their full potential. He is also the co-founder of Pearl Interactives, which develops innovative video games that enable kids with disabilities to access wellness through play and owns and operates KindHuman Bicycles, crafting high-performance bikes, running a bike shop, and distributing custom cycling apparel.

Gavin discusses the importance of defining success on one’s own terms and the significance of having the right people in the right roles within an organization. He highlights the concept of GWC (Gets it, wants it, Capacity to do it), emphasizing the importance of ensuring that team members are not only capable of performing their roles but also have a genuine passion for their work. Gavin also delves into the importance of patience and perseverance in pursuing one’s dreams while setting clear goals and priorities to guide progress.

About Gavin Brauer

Gavin is a versatile entrepreneur and Professional EOS Implementer who helps organizations across various industries, including health tech, manufacturing, consumer brands, professional services, and non-profits, to dream big and execute using a proven system for running a successful business. He has owned and operated three unique ventures: KindHuman Bicycles, which crafts high-performance bikes, runs a bike shop, and distributes custom cycling apparel; Pearl Interactives, a health-tech start-up co-founded with a children’s hospital to develop video games that enable kids with disabilities to access wellness through play; and a turnaround business that ultimately did not succeed. Alongside his entrepreneurial pursuits and EOS implementation, Gavin collaborates with his father in managing their family office.

Contact Cory Gagnon | Beacon Family Office at Assante Financial Management Ltd. 

Contact Gavin Brauer | EOS® Implementer | KindHuman Bicycles: 

Welcome to Legacy Builders, strategies for building successful family enterprises. Brought to you by Beacon Family Office at Assante Financial Management Limited. I’m your host, Cory Gagnon, Senior Wealth Advisor. And on this show, we explore global ideas, concepts, and models that help family enterprises better navigate the complexities of family wealth.

Today, we welcome Gavin Brauer, a Professional EOS Implementer who helps organizations dream big and execute using a proven system for running a truly great business. With experience in diverse industries such as health-tech, manufacturing, consumer brands, professional services, and non-profits, Gavin has successfully guided his clients to achieve their full potential. As a co-founder of Pearl Interactives, he partnered with a children’s hospital to develop innovative video games that enable kids with disabilities to access wellness through play. Gavin also owns and operates KindHuman Bicycles, crafting high-performance bikes, running a bike shop, and distributing custom cycling apparel.

My goal is to be the most curious person in today’s conversation with Gavin Brauer, as we explore the vital role of confidence in an entrepreneur’s journey. We’ll delve into the challenges of staying true to oneself and one’s vision in the face of obstacles, the importance of defining success on one’s own terms, and the significance of having the right people in the right roles within an organization. Join us for a thought-provoking discussion, where we’ll share eye-opening experiences and practical wisdom to help you protect and nurture your confidence as a family business leader, ultimately creating a smoother path to building a thriving and harmonious family enterprise.

Now let’s dive in!

Cory: Welcome Gavin! We’re excited to have you here today to share your wealth and knowledge with us. let’s dive in shall we? 

Gavin: Absolutely! 

Cory: Gavin, imagine you’re delivering the commencement speech to the graduating class of 2024, and you have the chance to inspire them with your story. How would you begin your speech to convey the incredible lessons and expertise that you’ve gained along your career?

Gavin: I think I’d have to start with something along the lines of your number one job is to protect your confidence. The world will try to knock you off center and no matter how capable you are or how many resources you have.

You will fight self-doubt throughout your life and your job is to protect your confidence tied to that is finding the courage to be yourself and to be your true self and live your live your life in line with that.

Cory: I love that! Let’s start on confidence. I think that there’s so many opportunities as you say for aspects of the world and the systems that we have to knock us off center as you say. What does that mean to you?

Gavin: Getting knocked off center anytime you kind of get knocked away from who you truly are. There are a lot of times where we make decisions that are not in line with our true-self or we behave in a way that’s not really our personality. We feel fear, all those types of things, negative emotions that is being knocked off center.

If you use a sports analogy, a speed error or a hockey player staying within your center of gravity, saying strong, that’s being in center. You get body checked, you get off balance and we can feel when we’re off-balance.

Cory: Absolutely. And bringing that to your world, how do you see people being knocked off-center? Where in business are you seeing that?

Gavin: I think the best way for me to describe that is my own experience, I’ve always been the type of person. I’ve had big dreams and I’ve had the courage to go after my dreams. At the same time, I have hesitated because I never had the confidence to do what I truly wanted.

The biggest example of that was I had a dream of starting my own company manufacturing either bikes or skis. This was a dream I had since I was twelve years old. I remember kind of doing like, I was getting to the end of my MBA and I was thinking well, when’s the right time to do something like this?

Am I ready? And I remember calling this guy who seemed to have a lot of entrepreneurial experience and asking him, like, what do you need to be an entrepreneur and start your own business. In hindsight, I realized that I didn’t have the confidence to do what I truly wanted, which was to start a company like that and that’s what was holding me back.

Cory: Right and so many entrepreneurs have big dreams and there’s so many dreams that go unlived for whatever reason. How do you see the ability to build up that confidence to actually allow some of those dreams to be executed?

Gavin: I think everybody comes to that on their own way and there’s different motivators for different people. For me, it was I wanted to start my own company in the outdoor sports world and it was taking me a long time to get there. I was getting traction and I gave up on that dream and I bought a company I never should have bought, which was I guess, I have some friends who they like to say “you’re either winning or you’re learning”.

I learned a lot and I came out of that. I sold the business and came out of that and said, I just had such a miserable experience if I’m going to do something on scenario, I’m doing what I really want. That’s when I found the confidence to go after my dream. For me, it was going through that really challenging time coming out and recognizing that I wanted to do with what I should have done in the first place which was follow my passion. 

Other people sometimes, they just need the right opportunity. Maybe they’re stuck with people who have the golden handcuffs. They’ve got a great job that pays well, they’re not able to kind of break free of those golden handcuffs. Lots and lots of different reasons for different people, it’s part of our personality 

Cory: Absolutely! Gavin, let’s go back to your comment about taking too much time because I think impatience is something where we see it in so many aspects of life where the world has become faster and more convenient in a lot of aspects.

But that impatience in business is rampant, we’re all finding that. How have you experienced that other than as you mentioned, your example of deciding to go by instead of start because it was taking too long.

Gavin: And this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with in my life. It’s because what we don’t know is, are we giving up just a bit too soon? You never know that. 

I remember when I started calling to him in my bike company, I didn’t know the industry. I didn’t know the business, I was making a lot of mistakes and it felt like I wasn’t making traction. I get together with my dad every once in a while and he’d be like, “Gavin, you got to be further ahead next year than you are this year.

Talked to my wife about it and “are you making progress? Like, what’s going on?” I generally felt like I was stuck and part of that was comments I was getting from the outdoor out people up around me who I love and trust.

I think part of that was mistaking their concern for advice and then part of that was my own impatience and it comes back to confidence. I was just being impatient that I had these grandiose plans and I wasn’t.  There’s a saying “man plans, god laughs”. I had all these great plans and all these great strategies and the world was not going the way I wanted it to.

As I’ve gotten older and I’ve spent a lot of time working on this, for myself. Well, actually, one of my goals this year is to be patient with kind human by company. We are growing and we’re growing steadily. It just feels like it’s not going as fast as I want it to and that frustrates me.

I need to learn to step back and allow for the world to unfold at its speed. While there’s a bunch of things I can do, there is a natural rhythm to this world and I think a lot of times we’re just not in the flow of it and that’s part of where this impatience comes from.

Cory: Now, I want go back to the comments, you mentioned your dad and saying as long as you’re further ahead next year. Because one thing is that sometimes, when we  receive advice, what is meant isn’t what is received. Tell me, what did that mean to you coming from your dad? 

Gavin: I think part of it was I have throughout my life, even going back, I remember being a kid and being this way. I have been driven by what I would call internal factors of success. Living a fulfilling life, being happy, having strong relationships around me and the external forms of success, what we would know is conventional forms of success, money, fancy cars, status, your title, what you’ve achieved. I haven’t been strongly motivated by that.

At the same time, the allure of that, if you’re a lord of the rings fan and the ring, “my precious”, I never wanted the ring but yet, when I get close to the ring, it’s hard to resist its pull. So, I interpreted what my dad was saying to me as the external success.

Money and status as opposed to my internal growth because at the time, I felt like I was growing as a human being but it wasn’t getting the financial success. At least not at the level that I had set my expectation which was very high. There was a gap between what I expected and what I was getting. |

Cory: Now, going back to the ring, what aspects or where have you felt that you’ve been close and it’s been hard to resist?

Gavin: My bike company. I have felt on the crust on the one little thing we need to unlock that we were so close to kind of scaling the company and going much bigger than what we are. Well. as an MBA student kind of struggling with a lot of, like, I was not an exceptional student in terms of grades feeling it with my peer group.

My friends are very successful people. People have done amazing things and comparing myself to them. I see them becoming like senior partners and major firms, very profitable businesses of a cousin who works for the World Health Organization in a very successful way, like seeing other people get that status, that is hard to resist.

Cory: Absolutely! Life as an entrepreneur is very difficult as the title doesn’t change as you meet those achievements.

Gavin: Yes. I remember when I was skiing and I’m sitting on a chairlift with 2 of my best friends. There’s somebody else on the chair and somebody we just met and they ask us, well, what do you do? And I hate that question, my friends go, we’re just lawyers but Gavin’s an entrepreneur and I’m just thinking, I was embarrassed.

I was thinking the reverse for them so they are thinking they’re just lawyers’ quotes and I’m like, well, what is it to be an entrepreneur? And so that’s another example.

It’s all that self-doubt and comes back to what I said at the beginning of this conversation. Protecting your confidence, we all have moments in time where we experience self-doubt and we’ve got to learn to push through that and gain the confidence in ourselves and who we are.

Cory: Absolutely. Gavin, you mentioned, vision, I want to make sure that we cover vision because you also talked about the courage to be yourself and I think that is really built into vision. So what does vision mean to you?

Gavin: As an EOS implementer, what I’ve said a thousand times just this week is vision is quite simply where are we going and how are we going to get there. For a lot of people, it’s simply understanding what do you want which is remarkably hard for a lot of people to decide, that’s how I would describe vision.

Cory: What makes it so difficult to define what somebody wants? 

Gavin: I don’t know, maybe it’s fear and we’re afraid of what it’s going to take to get what we want or we don’t think we’re going to get it. Maybe sometimes, I see with some of my EOS clients, it’s not knowing how to get there or you don’t know how to get there.

You block yourself from coming up with the end state. It’s internal confusion. My dad, had been saying to me that he wants to retire when he’s 75 at the same time, he had a lot of what, I don’t know what the right word was but there was reservation around that, he didn’t really want that. Like, my dad loves working.

His entire identity is tied up in him being a business person and a leader and it fills him with joy. He genuinely loves it, so why would he want to retire? We run our family office on EOS and in a session one day, I just brought up something, a comment around this and he stopped. He’s like, “you know what? I don’t want to retire”.

I said, “well, what do you want?” Ultimately, what he discovered was he doesn’t want operational accountability anymore, he wants to be the visionary, he wants to have some level of control, he wants to keep working and being involved. He just doesn’t want to deal with a plethora of emails he gets now.

Cory: Right, I like what you said Gavin, vision is what you want but I think as your dad discovered, it’s more of what don’t you want in a lot of ways.

Gavin: 100%.

Cory: Filtering some of those things out and there’s kind of the social requirements where people believe that they need to retire and there’s certain things where I need to retire by often times 65, and as a business leader and entrepreneur, you get to choose but for some reason, he had it in his head that 75 was the time. How often are our visions driven by outside factors?

Gavin: I think a lot and I think my dad don’t know why he picked the age of 75. I think it was a point where he realized that he needed to have some kind of transition and I think for him, it was a I assume this; dad, if you’re listening, I hope I’m not saying anything wrong but I think he just needed a date in order to stick to him and setting a goal.

In his case, I’m not sure how much that’s driven by external factors but I’m sure there’s a lot of it. If you look at my dad, I’m guessing he wants to spend more time with his grandkids. He wants to spend more time with his wife, he wants to spend more time with his kids, so he has other passions beyond business, and part of that is, I think, related to that.

For other people, I know with myself sometimes, what I want gets pulled by the alert of something else that looks shiny and fun or important when it’s not truly aligned with who I am and what I truly want inside.

Cory: Yes, and I like your comment of just needing a date because when we set goals, smart goals, timely is one of those factors and so maybe the goal was correct in some ways but maybe not properly defined. 

Do you find that business leaders and management teams have maybe the right time frame but maybe they haven’t quite figured out what they want or don’t want and flush that out properly?

Gavin: 100%. It also goes both ways. You can define what you want, set the timeline but you don’t have enough time to get there going back to patients. The other thing you could do is you can say, “okay, here’s the timeline, what can I actually get done in that time?

From EOS, I can give you 2 different examples. When we’re setting a core target, which is our number one business school, we want to achieve over a long period of time. You control both what you do and when it’s due. You can play with both those levers to figure out the sweet spot. When we’re setting (rocks), which are our most important priorities that we’re going to get done in the next 90 days.

We know that 90 days is fixed because when we’re setting, we always set (rocks) on a 90 day period. There’s a reason for that and it’s a very good reason. But in that case, we have a fixed date but we get to play with, well, what do we have as a capacity to achieve in the time we have?

Cory: Right, and how often do you find that those rocks, aren’t they the way that they’re defined the first time, maybe it wasn’t achievable or a bit off too much or maybe it was an easy thing that could be done tomorrow? How often do you find that people need some time to learn from those 3 month periods?

Gavin: All the time. I’ve never had a client who’ve been rock stars at setting rocks from the beginning. It’s a skill we need to learn, there’s a lot that goes into this. You need to know what to do, you need to know how much you can do, you need to predict what’s going to come up that you’re not even expecting, it is really hard. Setting rocks and setting your priorities and deciding what we’re going to get done over the next 90 days and it all comes back to one of the 5 leadership abilities, which is the ability to predict.

Cory: Yes, I like that.

Gavin: And what I find with my clients is we all suck at setting ice. I was horrible at setting rocks the first time I did it, I mean, with somebody, it was a background and kinesiology and psychology where I’ve been setting smart goals since I was in my early twenties.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, decades and I sucked at setting rocks. Once you do it and you do it every quarter, after about a year, it starts to feel natural. After about 2 years, you actually start to get good at it. It’s just a skill that we all need to learn.

Cory: Absolutely. And now, I want to rewind a little bit and go back to what retirement meant to your dad because I think that whether you’re 75 and getting to that freedom or 45 and getting to whatever level of freedom, there’s something there that happens as a visionary to allow that to happen. Thinking about it, if you will, it might be from your family office perspective or just other businesses that you’ve worked with as an implementer, what needs to happen for that visionary to truly be the visionary?

Gavin: You got to get out of all the other seats you’re in. Like, it’s that simple. 

Cory: And what does that mean to listeners who maybe are struggling with that concept and thinking about that?

Gavin: Okay. One of my favourite tools in EOS is called the accountability chart. We have a fundamental belief that there are 3 major functions to every organization. You have a sales and marketing function, you got to bring the business in, you’ve got an operations function, you’ve got to do the business and then you’ve got a finance or administrative function. I should say finance and administrative function where you’ve got to organize the business and administer the business.

Get the business, do the business, get paid for the business, that’s the first level of your leadership team. Each of those is a seat and you can break each of those functions into multiple functions when you need to.

For example, sometimes split marketing as one seat sales as a separate seat, sometimes it’s combined as one seat. That’s the first level, above that, we have a seat we call the integrator. Their job is to integrate the major functions of the organization, creating harmony, helping breakthrough barriers, they are driving accountability and discipline throughout the business, they are running the day to day. 

You then have this other seat who sits above the integrator, which we call the visionary.  Visionaries are typically people who have lots of ideas, they let ideas come to them like in a  snap.

They’re typically great with big relationships and solving big problems. They’re typically not good at hard conversations driving accountability and discipline, that’s worse work that is best done by an integrator. When I use something, like, just as an aside for this, when I use, like, sitting above, what I actually prefer, I’m just describing that because I’m doing this, verbally.

I prefer to think about our accountability chart as a map and flat. Nobody is above or below anybody else, nobody is superior or inferior, it’s just a map. We know where everybody fits and where everybody lays on this flat surface.

Cory: I like that. Going back to the original question, in order to get into that visionary seat, you’ve got to stop doing the stuff in all of the other seats that you’re doing and purely do the stuff that is visionary work.

From your side, having being that implementer, bringing that into the family office, how was it one of those things sitting there that day where it was obvious that was it your dad’s epiphany? Was it you’re bringing in, was there other people in the room who said, you know, this is what needs to happen for that goal to come to fruition?

Gavin: Well, I think what happens is a lot of this stuff we intuitively know but it’s fuzzy or it’s a theory, what we need to do is make it concrete. So, we go through the exercise of building the accountability chart which every time I do this, I’m surprised at how difficult to process it. To actually say these are the seats we need, these are the major roles each seat does. Then, finally putting the right people in the rights in those seats, it’s hard work. 

Once you start doing it, it starts to crystallize and it then starts to become obvious, I didn’t realize that I was actually doing this.

For example, you get the CEO who’s booking our session room. Why? Because they have a relationship with the golf club where it’s getting booked. They’re not letting go of that. When you have an organization with somebody If unless it’s one person, there’s likely somebody better than the CEO whose job it is to both meetings.

That’s an example of doing something where you’re not near, not in the seat. I was just going to say, delegation is another piece of this and it is hard to delegate.

Cory: It is. You made a comment about natural rhythm and I think there’s an aspect here where natural rhythm comes to play of those people in the right seats. What does that look like to you if people are in the right seats and that rhythm is..

Gavin: In EOS, we have a term called GWC. In order to be in flow and to be in rhythm, you have to GWC your seat, so what does that stand for? G – gets it, W – wants it, C -capacity to do it well. Gets it – is you were just instinctively born to do this, like a natural salesperson. My brother, natural sales guy, he gets sales. Me, not so natural, I don’t get sales. Wants it – is, do you actually want the job?

So often when we have somebody in a seat where they might be good at it, but they don’t want it anymore. You got to want it in order to perform and then finally, we’ve got capacity. Do you have the capacity to do the job well this is time? Time that’s internal to the organization as well as external.]

What I mean by that is if you’ve got a boss or you are the boss, then you’re throwing a thousand things at somebody and they don’t have enough time to get everything done on it. They have too much, they don’t have enough time, it’s also external.

I remember when I had young kids and we had to pick our kids up from daycare at a specific time. If you’re in a job where you got to be at the desk, when you have to be picking up your kids, you do not have the external capacity. 

The big one now for a lot of us, especially people my age is aging parents and caring for our parents. If you’ve got an aging parent, do you have the capacity to give your all to your job? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, time is a big piece of capacity.

You’ve got experience, you’ve got training certification, easy one here. You run a factory, you need lights installed? Do you hire electrician? Are they a certified electrician or not? If they’re not, they don’t have the capacity to do their job.

Cory: Right. Absolutely. 

Gavin: So GWC gets it wants that capacity to do it, that is all about being in the right seat.

Cory: Absolutely. And with the right people in the seat and the organization starts to feel that flow. Is there something that clicks where you can say this has happened? Like it has been achieved.

Gavin: Tell me more about that, I think there’s a deeper question in there.

Cory: I’m thinking about the organization as a system and there’s resistance. There’s the push and pull where people are doing what they’re doing and they feel like that’s more difficult than it needs be. I’m envisioning that if you’ve got the right people in the seat and they know what they’re supposed to be doing because that that vision has been properly documented that they truly are functioning at that capacity, their inflow.

I’m just wondering what it might feel like from the inside. I’m just thinking maybe we’ve got a family and maybe your brother was leading up sales and this is working well because he’s got the business doing well and we’re getting paid for it. As he said, three areas but we feel like everyone’s supported and it’s working well. So how does that feel when it clicks? We really got the seats in place, the people in the right seats.

Gavin: Because you couldn’t feel it. The frustrations we typically deal with are less significantly, less working together in a healthy way. We’ve got a functional team working together to achieve the goal. It’s that feeling like when you’re playing on a team and everything. You could just know how to pass the buck and where your partners are going to be because you can predict where they’re going.

Like, it’s that feeling of ease and smoothness and flow. It’s if you think about a river, this is an analogy I got from Michael Singer, who’s an author that I love and wrote a book called the Untethered Soul, I highly recommend it. What he talks about is, if you have a river and you’ve got a bunch of rocks in that river, it’s going to create turbulence and you’re going to see on top of the water.

It’s going to have rapids and waves and it’s turbulent. If you remove the rocks, the water just flows and we’ve all seen flowing water and we know how that feels to be in flowing water. it’s just peace, that is pure essence, it’s peaceful, it feels amazing when you’re working in this.

Cory: And is the goal to remove all the rocks from the river?

Gavin: I don’t know, but I’m the type of person who love doing hard things with people I love. it’s not about if you’re talking about are the rocks, the frustrations, and the annoyances.

Are the rocks the challenge? Hell no. I don’t want remove all the challenge for my life, that would be boring. So, what I want it to be hard, but I want it to feel smooth, maybe in that sort. I don’t think I’m finding the right words, but I get the sense that you understand what I’m saying. 

Cory: And what about the issues in in the business? What sort of, from a caliber perspective. I’m thinking about issues of the budding entrepreneur who’s just getting the business off the ground and making payroll. It’s a big issue versus we’ve been doing this for 20 years and we’ve built a great successful business and that’s not what we’re dealing with these things.

Gavin: I’m so glad you’ve brought that up, I think this is actually what you were getting at a moment ago. What happens is when things are healthy and functional, the quality of your issues get better. When things are turbulent and unhealthy, you’re dealing with lower quality issues.

An example of that is when things are not smooth, if fighting fires day in and day out, it’s like delivery was late.  Customer called to complain those are not fun issues to deal with. The better you get at this and the smoother things are, you now get the opportunity to play with more fun issues, such as, we just got an opportunity to go after a really big piece of business but we don’t know how to deliver it. Let’s go figure that one out since it’s exciting and fun.

The better you get in organizing your business and managing and leading the better-quality issues you get to play with. Issues are always there. The better quality of the issues, the better quality of the company.

Cory: And that takes confidence. Going back to your original statement, where we started here in protecting your confidence is to be able to solve those big issues, you need to have that confidence.

Gavin: A 100%. I remembered my own life not having the confidence to call somebody a contact I knew to create an opportunity for myself because I was worried about looking like a fool. 

Going after that piece of business because we don’t know if we can deliver on it. You got to play within, Like, you got to know who you are and what you can deliver, but at the same time, you do have to push your comfort.

I believe at least I have more fun when I’m pushing my comfort zone. When my life gets too stale for too long, I will do things to blow things up so I’m pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, sometimes I go too far. 

Cory: And discomfort doesn’t mean panic, I think as well, to remember is, if you get into panic, you’ve probably gone too far.

Gavin: Yes. And at the same time, like, as human beings, learning to deal with discomfort is another skill we can get better at.

Cory: Yes, absolutely. Now, going back to the courage to be yourself and I’m thinking about you sitting on the chair lift with 2 friends. I think of what that means where you can be comfortable and true to yourself, yes, I’m an entrepreneur and that is absolutely a noble thing.

How would I know that? This wasn’t yesterday, you’ve made some progress since that time. Tell me a little bit of that progress.

Gavin: I made a lot of progress there. One of the things that I had to do was, one, get comfortable with the success that I have had in life. I also had to get comfortable of what I believe my true identity is. I went through a huge identity shift when I went from being purely an entrepreneur and the bike guy to being a business coach.

I had all of the fear around that, you’ve never built a big business, why is anybody going to listen to you? What experience do you have being a coach? I had all this fear around me, but I knew in my heart, that I was put on my ear, put on this earth to be a coach and to help people realize their dreams.

The biggest shift I had was I came to recognize that up until I was about 45, I was purely focused on achieving my own dreams. Today, what I’m driven by is helping others achieve their dreams. It fills me with so much satisfaction because the better I get at that, the more it comes back to me.  

The bigger my dreams get and it’s so all of this together has helped me get to a confidence where if I’m sitting on a chairlift and going skiing. I am an entrepreneur, and I’m a business coach, and I’m here to help you dream big and execute. What do you want to do? 

Cory: Love it. That is a great transformation. I think something to be absolutely proud of. Now I want to go back to comfort with identity because identity is going back as you talked about external versus internal, there’s so much that people use to define identity at. What has been some of those struggles that you’ve had around that? 

Gavin: I think there’s the identity we want, the identity we have for ourselves, the way other people see us. One of my biggest struggles was getting to a point where other people saw me in the way I want it to be seen.

The truth of that is it was all about my ego. I wanted them to see me successful. I remember when I started selling bikes, I had a lot of friends who were like, “how the hell are you starting a bike company?” “What do you know about this?” 

I had to work so hard to get people to trust me as the bike guy. I finally achieved that and then I blow my life up and become an EOS implementer. Now I’m like, man, people keep us every time I call somebody, all they want to do is talk about wakes and I want them to think of me as a superstar business coach.

It’s just hitting my ego that they’re not thinking of me the way they that I want them to and it was my own discomfort at my own head trash. I had to learn that I am who I am. I’m going to be myself, I am the bike guy, I am the business coach, I am a father, I am a son.

I’m all of these things and by being myself, I get the confidence to not care so much how other people are seeing me.

Cory: I love that. I think, now we could have another full discussion on that. That the hats we wear and who we are, we are one person but being a father, there’s so many aspects, the being a husband, a son, there’s many things here and what that means in those aspects.

Gavin: Yeah. And that also complicates things in the family business.

Cory: Tell me what..

Gavin: Well, you’re an employee, you’re an owner. You might be a board member, you’re a son, you’re a brother, you’re a sister, a daughter, a mother, a friend. 

Like, all of these different pieces of who we are in different roles we play and we have to live harmoniously. I remember being uncomfortable, if I’m in a business meeting, how do I address my father? I call him by his first name, do I call him dad?

Cory: Yes.

Gavin: I had stupid anxiety over this when I was in my twenties because I wanted to deal with those issues of how do we be professional with all that nonsense? 

Cory: Those are real struggles and there’s no manual for that.

Gavin: No. Ultimately, what I decided one day was he’s my father. Everybody knows he’s my father, I’m calling him dad because that’s what I call him. I fell and I just stopped caring In terms of “Am I looking professional?”, I just behaved professionally.

Cory: Gavin, as we near the end of our conversation, there’s a few questions that I ask guests before we wrap up. Are you ready for the tough ones?  

Gavin: Let’s go for it.  

Cory: What is one key strategy you believe is most essential for building successful family enterprises? 

Gavin: I don’t know if what I’m about to say is actually a strategy, but I’ll say this anyways. What a strategy is, it’s the plan to get from a to b. How do we get that? We believe that there’s 5 key things that every organization needs or every family needs to do that. 

We got to know a point b looks like? Where are we going? We didn’t know who’s going to do which parts of the work to get to point b. We’ve got to execute today’s business as we know it. We’ve got to build tomorrow’s business as we dream it. We got to hold ourselves accountable for actually doing the hard work.

What I love about EOS is our 5 foundational tools. Align perfectly with this. It’s comes back to those fire key things to get from A to B. 

Cory: I love the point where the lights need to stay on. Today’s business needs to run while you’re building tomorrow’s business. That’s great, now, what is the most common challenge that you see family enterprises encountering when it comes to wealth transition and general continuity generational continuity?

Gavin: I think part of this is the ability to openly talk about money and plan in advance for the future. I know like, even I see this with my own kids, I remember my kids ask it, like, how much how much did he pay for our house? Not that they were just curious. 

I remember, my wife and I were very uncomfortable with question, we don’t talk about that. I realized that we got to tell our kids. This is what we spent on our house. I don’t want you talking about this with anybody.

Don’t go asking other people, but in confidence, this is what a house costs. I tell my kids how much I charge for any of my sessions and I tell them again, this is confidential. But this is how much money I make. Now all of this stuff, you got to do the right level of transparency at the right age and you’ve got to earn that trust.

It is okay in families where different kids have access to different information because of their role in the organization that I believe is okay and we got to earn the trust. But, we do have to talk to our kids about money. I’ll then the amounts but do the right level of transparency at the right time.

Cory: Love it! That’s great! And in your experience, what are the top 3 qualities that is successful family enterprise leader possesses?

Gavin: Easy. Open, honest and vulnerable. We got to be open to the outside world to other people, open to other ideas, other ways of doing things. We got to be honest with ourselves.

So, our thoughts and our feelings, expressing those and getting them out and sharing them and we have to be vulnerable, we have to take the chance to do what’s right for the greater good, even though it might be uncomfortable.

Cory: That’s awesome! Before we conclude our discussion, I’d like to highlight where listeners can engage more in your conversations. Please provide our guests with where they could find you, Gavin.

Gavin: You could find me probably the easiest way is through continuing bicycles. If you go there, if you’re looking for a bike, Gavin, at, In terms of my EOS practice and business coaching and helping you get what you want from your business, then, Google EOS Gavin Brauer, or [email protected].

Cory: I find it fascinating that the lead with kind human because that is where you’ve had the most experience and it’ll be interesting to see over time how that shifts happens for you.

Gavin: I’m lucky that I get to everything that I’m working with my clients on, I am living that in my own business.

Cory: Absolutely.

Gavin: And so when I’m dealing with an issue with a client and we’re trying to solve something, I know in my guts, how hard that is. Because I got to do it too. 

Cory: And that right there is what leads to that confidence in your identity is big or small, you’ve all experience it.

Gavin: The smaller companies are so much harder, the big ones are easy, easier. No business is easy but on bigger companies have more resources. Smaller companies have to figure out how to get more done with way less and that’s really hard.

Cory: Gavin, I wanted to make sure that we covered everything. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our audience that we didn’t get to touch on?

Gavin: Given that a lot of your people listening are families and family businesses, just love each other. Never fight over money. I had gotten to a point in my relationship with my father where I couldn’t work with him. We had some major fights, and I’m very, very grateful.

We were able to reconcile that and strengthen it, and it’s not actually the biggest value I have gotten at it being an EOS implementer is the relationship how it’s helped me fix and strengthen relationship with my dad, and I am so very, very grateful for that, so leave with love.

Cory: I love that. We have the choice, sometimes we don’t, we get to be family and there’s not a lot of choice there but we do get the choice whether or not we want to have that level of relationship with those in our family. I think that as you say, leading with love allows that to actually happen.

Gavin:  And sometimes you may not have the choice for what happened, but you do have a choice to how you respond and it could be today or it could be 10 years from now. 

It was years before I started working on that with my dad and we had a big fight one day and it was hard but we got there.

And I know, like, as hard as that was for me, you’re going to be in a similar situation where it’s going to be hard, find the love, do the hard things to get what’s important, which is the relationship with the people we’d love.

Cory: Awesome. That’s a great way to end this off there Gavin and thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and expertise with us today your insights have been incredibly valuable and I’m grateful for your contribution and I know our listeners will be as well.

Gavin: Well Cory, thank you so much for having me on your show this has really been a pleasure and I hope the people listening have learned at least one thing out of out of the time we’ve had together. Thank you.

Cory: I’m sure they will.

As we wrap up this episode, we invite you to reflect on the insights Gavin has shared about the importance of protecting your confidence, finding your true identity, and fostering healthy relationships in family businesses.

Whether you are part of a family business or provide consulting to them, Gavin’s experiences highlight the significance of being patient with your dreams, setting clear goals and priorities, and ensuring the right people are in the right seats to create a sense of flow and harmony within the organization.

Throughout our discussion, Gavin highlighted the crucial role of protecting one’s confidence and staying true to one’s authentic identity in the face of challenges and setbacks. He emphasized the importance of patience and perseverance in pursuing one’s dreams, while also setting clear goals and priorities to guide progress. Gavin also delved into the concept of GWC (Gets it, wants it, Capacity to do it), underlining the importance of ensuring that team members are not only capable of performing their roles but also have a genuine passion for their work. Ultimately, Gavin’s insights underscore the importance of embracing discomfort, leading with love, and maintaining healthy relationships in navigating the complexities of family business dynamics and achieving one’s aspirations.

For those seeking additional guidance on navigating the complexities of family business dynamics and implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Gavin is always eager to connect directly. You can reach out to him via his website, and we’ve included his contact information together with additional resources in the show notes to support you on your journey.


This program was prepared by Cory Gagnon who is a Senior Wealth Advisor with Beacon Family Howfice at Assante Financial Management Ltd. This not an official program of Assante Financial Management and the statements and opinions expressed during this podcast are not necessarily those how Assante Financial Management. This show is intended for general information only and may not apply to all listeners or investors; please obtain professional financial advice or contact us at [email protected] or visit to discuss your particular circumstances before acting on the information presented.

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