March 5, 2023

Be The change

Josh Gentine

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

This is an incredibly well-crafted 10-word quote attributed to Gandhi. I don’t know if he opened his mouth and that fine sentence just slithered out or if it was thoughtfully designed and dropped delicately into a conversation that is now memorialized. Either way, these words, hanging out together, are brilliant and carry a meaning that few other words strung together could ever hope to achieve. Unfortunately, the intention of this quote has been bastardized time and time again. Its original meaning, a call to arms, so to speak, for the good, joyful, and profound in the world, has been twisted in a slew of ways, from gun ads to Instagram photos of filtered models posing on the beach, leaving the true message hopelessly lost. However, I would challenge you to take up this quote with a renewed spirit, one lacking in cynicism, and direct its aim specifically toward your relationships.

I’m a family business consultant, but I think the more appropriate title should simply be Family Consultant. In my work with family businesses big and small, the size of a balance sheet means a lot less than the dynamics that crowd the dinner table. Relationships can be challenging – better said, relationships ARE challenging – especially with family. The biggest issues I tackle are not Porter’s forces lining up on the western front, they are the small battles that happen in a family’s trench long before the first shot has even been fired. The challenges of succession planning in a family company are less about nepotism and estate plans and more about resentment, poor communication, and the loss of true loving connection.

While I serve family businesses, this post is not about business, it’s about working your ass off as you try to build better relationships with those you love (or used to love).

While some of you will be reading this with snow swirling outside, the fact is, spring is coming, and with spring comes an opportunity to transform that which was dead into new life. I would challenge you to use this season to truly be the change you wish to see in your relationships. Relationships won’t heal themselves, if you want something to change, you must choose to be the catalyst. Take up the arms of love, understanding, and forgiveness. You don’t have to agree to get along, history has shown us that time and time again. But you do have to make an effort. You must show up and decide you are going to be the change, even in the face of conflict and pain. While it will take courage and a deep humility, you can be the change you wish to see, and that’s worth fighting for.

If you own a family business and you’re ready to rise to the challenge, send me an email.


Share This


Bench believes in the innate potential of all people and the power of organizations to make a profound impact in the world. We coach, consult and advise individuals, leaders, entrepreneurs, and teams.