Podcast Episode 38.1

Family Business Series: Working In the Business vs. On the Business

With Guest:
  • Mark Deterding of Triune Leadership Services, CEO

Jamie asks guest and leadership expert, Mark Deterding, what does it mean to work IN your business versus ON your business? Mark believes you must work on your business foundation, which starts by defining your purpose, vision, and values. When those things are crystal clear you will be able to better support the needs of your business, your family, and your customers.

Episode 38.1 | 5 min

Guest Bio

Mark Deterding is the founder and principal of Triune Leadership Services. His goal with Triune is to build up servant leaders and transform organizational cultures.

After working in executive positions in nationally known corporations for 35 years, he understands that servant leadership is the only way to lead people and teams to fulfill their God-given potential. As a trusted expert in servant leadership, he has successfully navigated industry-leading companies through culture change — not only as an organizational leader but also as a coach and consultant. Through his “boots on the ground” experiences and training, he brings an effective blend of actionable processes, proven tools, and expertise to guide executives and emerging leaders onto a path of servant leadership; a path that leads to success and significance.


This is The Water Table.

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A chance to hear the agricultural side of these issues.

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A place for people to go find information and education.

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Water management is just going to become even more critical into the future.

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How misunderstood what we do is.

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I would encourage people to open their minds and listen to this dialogue.

Jamie Duininck:

Hi. Welcome back to The Water Table podcast. Today, we are visiting with Mark Deterding from Triune Leadership Services.

 So often in small family businesses, or they don’t have to be small, but family businesses that are still in the phase where they’re growing fast and they’re, don’t have a lot of extra people to help do things, the leader, the owner of the company is the guy on the ground doing the work. He is working in the business. And it’s so important to build culture, purpose, vision, which is working on the business more. And so if you can just talk a little bit about why, I mean, I probably just said it, but why is it so important to find time to work on the business and not just in the business? And how do you suggest leaders do that when they are working full-time already in the business?

Mark Deterding:

Yeah. What a great question, Jamie. The reason I work with very senior leaders is because they have the biggest impact on the greater amount of people. And also, I always say as servant leaders, we need to start with our foundation. And when I talk about foundation, it is purpose, vision and values, those three key aspects. And if an individual, let’s take that business owner that you’re talking about in a small business, if they are just working to get the work out and to, like you say, in the business, that very well may be necessary and so forth, but if you aren’t taking the time to really build that framework of the foundation, of what is our purpose for why we do exist, why does this organization exist, what is our vision as far as what do we want to create, and what are our values as far as how we’re going to behave while we’re on this journey, if you as the senior person, as the owner of this organization aren’t framing that up and making sure that that is crystal clear, who is? Nobody is, right?

 And so what ends up happening then it becomes, it can become chaotic, if you will, in that people are going to behave however they want, however they feel that they should. They’re going to feel that the vision is one thing that may be in their mind, but it’s not from an ownership standpoint. So it’s just so important for all of us if we even think about it, we take it down to the micro level first and say, personally, what is our own personal purpose? You know, why do I put my feet on the floor every morning, right? That shouldn’t be left to question. We should really have that clear in our mind. What is my vision for my own life? What do I want to create for myself one year out, two years out, even three weeks out, if you will? And what are my values? What’s really, really important to me and how I’m going to behave on a day-to-day basis?

 We need to start there individually, and then whatever teams that we’re responsible for. The next would be our family, right? So what is our family’s purpose, our family’s vision, our family’s values? Make sure that’s crystal clear, have that well articulated. Talk about that with your spouse, with your family, your children, and so forth so that everybody knows and understands that. And you get comfortable doing that in every aspect of your life, well then it certainly translates to the business as well. What is our business’s purpose? Why do we exist in this business? What difference are we really wanting to make? You know, what’s our vision for where we’re going, and what are those value?

 We have to do that as leaders. It rests on our shoulders. It’s not something that we can delegate off to others. And when we do that, then people, it’s going to be clear for them this is a team I want to join. I love their purpose. I love the vision of where they’re going. And I certainly am aligned with their values. I want to be on that team. And that’s what you want to have very, very clear because there’s a place for everybody in this world, but there’s not a place for everybody in your particular organization. And when you have that foundation really fully clarified and articulated, it makes all that very, very easy.

Jamie Duininck:

Well, thanks for joining us today, Mark, on The Water Table podcast. If our listeners would like to hear the full conversation with Mark, you can find that at watertable.ag/business.