The Secret to Working with Family

The Secret to Working with Family

Working with family is hard. The people you care about most also have the most power to get on your nerves, which means working together can be a LOT!

It doesn’t have to be. 

With the right knowledge and understanding of each other’s instinctive strengths, you can work together with the most important people in your life without destroying your relationship — this episode’s guests (and the host) are proof!

In this episode of the Powered by Instinct podcast, our host David Kolbe welcomes Jerry Lujan and Kelley Lujan, a father-daughter duo now working together. Jerry is the CEO of Elevation 180, and Kelley is the Strategic Optimizer there, providing much-needed strengths to work in conjunction with her father. Jerry and Kelley talk with Kolbe CEO David Kolbe, himself no stranger to family businesses, about the benefits of knowing everyone’s MO, why open communication is critical, and how to help a strengths-based family business shine. 

It’s possible to strengthen your family business and your family bond at the same time. Take a listen to learn how.


💡 Name: Jerry Lujan and Kelley Lujan

💡 What they do: Jerry is the CEO of Elevation 180, and Kelley is the Strategic Optimizer at Elevation180.

💡 Company: Elevation180

💡 Noteworthy: Jerry and Kelley are a dynamic father-daughter duo running a family business together.

💡 Where to find them: Jerry's LinkedIn | Kelley's LinkedIn

Key Insights 

Kolbe is beneficial for business relationships. Knowing your Kolbe Index helps you understand other people and lean into your instincts. Jerry says, "It fits my lifelong dream of bringing Kelley into the business with me and working together. And I'd have to say that it saved our business relationship. Obviously, it didn't have any impact on our personal relationship, but knowing each other so well was key to being able to talk about getting in the right lane or getting in the right position to be able to have the energy to play at the highest level."

Establish clear boundaries. Setting boundaries is vital for making a family business work. Kelley says, "We initiated some guidelines off the bat that in front of clients and at work, he's Jerry, and at home, he's still Dad. And we try and separate those two. But I would say, within the first month of working with each other, we were in Florida with a client. When we left, I was asking him for some advice, and we're talking back and forth, and he answered me very directly and how a boss would answer a new employee. I broke down because I was speaking from past experience and wanting him to mentor me as a dad. And we completely crossed paths when that happened. And I don't think he realized at first why I was breaking down, and I didn't have the words to explain. [...] And since we had that conversation, it hasn't happened again, and we've moved forward so strong, knowing each other really well, and having these tools like Kolbe to balance off."

Self-awareness is key. Developing self-awareness allows you to play to your strengths and build a healthy work relationship. Kelley says, "I think having that self-awareness is driving him so much further because I'm also involved in other companies that have high entrepreneurs — with high quick starts as well — and it's not the same. I think that self-awareness goes so incredibly far when you really take it and not just preach it but also live it."

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