Annemarie and I found, over the years, that working together presented many unique rewards and challenges.   In our household, major family decisions were always determined by the mutual consent of both Annemarie and me and, sometimes, our children, as a result of family discussions.  Even when we had differences of opinion, we tried to make compromises that left both of us feeling that we are still both in control.

Of course, the fact that I operate USFSB as the primary decision maker runs counter to the way Annemarie and I run our family with its give and take process of decision making.   Certainly, I found it very helpful to obtain Annemarie’s opinions and to discuss the operation of the business in great detail and at great length with her; however, in the final analysis, I took the responsibility for making most of the decisions.   Even though Annemarie understood and tacitly agreed with my approach, it inevitably, on occasion, became the source of friction and turmoil between us which, at times, also spilled over into our family life.

Annemarie’s natural inclination is to want to share in the decision making process.   At times, I found it difficult to give Annemarie this level of control while, at the same time, trying to maintain my status as the primary decision maker at USFSB.   This proved to be a fine line that Annemarie and I tried not to cross, almost, on a daily basis.

Another source of conflict between Annemarie and me is our temperament and the nature of our world view.    I tend to be a result orientated, type “A” personality with little patience for hand holding and small talk.  Whereas, Annemarie is more calm and laid back and more concerned about relationships and nurturing the process than just the results.

I tend to look at everything in the office as merely the means to an end, that being the success of the business.  Annemarie, on the other hand, tends to believe that how we arrive at that end is just as important as the end itself.   She wants the process to be fair and to accommodate the personal needs of the employees.   She is more apt to give time off and more likely to forgive mistakes.  Over time, I believe we have made a good effort to meet each other in the middle on these issues.  Annemarie has become more of a businesswoman and, as she would say, I have become more of a human being.