Do the Tough Things Right

How to prevent communication disasters in family business

Are you having a hard time starting the conversations about who gets the family business and when? This book is designed to help you nail down the key challenges you need to talk about. It’s a workbook style to prompt you to address your tough issues like fairness, financial transparency, and family fights.  

You can use this book to write your responses to the tough questions certified coach Elaine Froese asks. Her expertise in solving the people communication problems for family business, particularly farm families, will help you avoid the mistakes that others typically make.

Elaine’s niche is agriculture, but other family businesses will also find her tools applicable to their sector.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

Preface (introduction)

  • Face the Bull
  • Key Challenges Audit Sheet
  • 60 Questions for a Farm Transfer
  • Ten Vital Family Plans for Your Business

Chapter 1 – FAIRNESS

  • What is Fair DNA Pay?
  • How Do You Put a Value on Sweat?
  • Salaried Success Keeps Farm Heirs Happier
  • Boomerangers Bring Useful Skills Back Home
  • Kids as Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Letting Go of Your Farm House
  • Who Gets Grandpa’s Tools?

Chapter 2 – FINANCES

  • Worksheet 1: Business Qualities Checklist
  • Worksheet 2: Family Needs & Preferences
  • What Does Money Mean to You?
  • How Much Does Your Lifestyle Cost?
  • Lifestyle Dollar Pressures on Farm Women
  • Make Sure the Farm Takes Care of Mom
  • Hidden in Plain Sight
  • Gleanings on Farm Succession


  • Communication Self-Assessment Exercise
  • There’s Help to Resolve Conflicts on Your Farm
  • Picking Fights you Can Win
  • Meet to Make Things Happen
  • Family Business Codes of Conduct
  • Talkers Make More Money
  • Why Should I Be a Better Listener?
  • Pay Attention to the Silence
  • Why is Grandma a Bully?
  • Why Fathers Need to Be Good Leaders?
  • Surviving or Thriving
  • Lessons from the Combine
  • Happy Harvest Starts With Forgiveness


  • Treat People With Integrity
  • What Your Daughter-in-Law Needs
  • Respect for Homemaking
  • Being Thankful for Respect
  • The Gift of Consideration


  • Enlighten Your Team of Advisors
  • Where There is a Will There is a Way
  • Leave a How-To Manual
  • Is Your Funeral Planned?
  • Final Gifts for Mom
  • Widow to Widow


  • Family Vision Questions
  • Reluctant Farmer
  • Your New Role – Hired Man
  • Are You Making Emotional Decisions?
  • How to Step Down But Not Out
  • Ten Things Young Farmers Want
  • Keep Away From Dream Stealers
  • No More Stinking Thinking
  • A Year of Courage
  • Be a Life Long Learner
  • How’s Your Peer Network?
  • Living a Full Life With Your Farmer
  • Will You Still Need Me?

Chapter 7 – FAILURE

  • Breaking Up is Hard To Do
  • No Talk, No Plan, No Succession
  • Why Won’t Dad Talk?
  • Managing Stubborn Farmers
  • Be the CEO of your Farm…Focus and Execute
  • Gifts With Strings Attached
  • Don’t Split the Farm Yard
  • Freeloading on the Farm
  • Sadness on the Sod

Chapter 8 – FEELING GOOD

  • Planting the Seed of Hope Again
  • Four Keys to Balanced Living
  • Men Get Help With Stress
  • Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
  • Eight Ways Dads and Sons Can Care For One Another
  • Counselling is About Recovery
  • Make a Nurture Call
  • You Can’t Commend What You Do Not Cherish

As Seen In



Rave reviews

“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario

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+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)

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