I see too many families that put off having a family meeting for any number of reasons.
- It’s difficult to coordinate everyone’s calendar.
- They’re not sure exactly how to conduct the meeting.
- They’re afraid they’ll get questions they don’t want to discuss.
What I’ve seen when families take the time to hold a family meeting is lots of good dialogue. The family comes together more instead of splintering apart.
After working with many families all over the country, I’ve seen five potential challenges come up most often:
- How to create a common VISION for the family business that everyone can buy into
- How to articulate and perpetuate (in next gen) the VALUES that got the family here and will carry the family forward
- How to discuss and create policy around EMPLOYMENT in the family business
- What to do when family members get OFF TRACK – “get out of jail free” or consequences?
- What’s the best way to MENTOR and GROW the NEXT GEN
Vision – When everyone has a chance to participate to create a shared vision, it really becomes a road map for the family. You will be amazed at what happens when you provide the right space and tools for the family to engage in this dialogue.
Values – So many founders or parents of next gen worry that the up and coming generation won’t have the same work ethic and values of the founding generations. This is a legitimate concern. By discussing those values at an early age parents can get the next oriented toward the right path for future success. The family can discuss what those values “look like in action.” This is a great way to take the concept of values and make it actionable.
Employment – You don’t want to try to decide if someone should come to work in the family business after they have dropped out of college and are driving over to the company. You want to talk about this when they are young and everyone is in a good place. A well written family employment policy can head many of these problems off at the pass.
Off track – In every family there are times when someone makes a mistake or gets off track. How should the family respond to that? What are the implications to the family and other members if someone is given too easy of a path? This is another subject that should be discussed when everything is fine – not when the crisis is at hand – trust me on this.
Mentor – One of my favorite activities is when we can help a family pair up aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews in informal mentoring relationships. It is a great way to build stronger bonds in the family and build a stronger next gen. This is a great tool for building communication and creating shared goals and activities toward a successful future together as a family.
I’ve seen many families fall into some very difficult situations because they didn’t get out in front of these issues. That’s part of the reason I created the Family Business Performance Center and made all of the exercises FREE so more families could avoid these issues and create a strong and cohesive future for their business. You can get free access HERE. Successful families have leaders who pull the family together before it’s too late. Good luck and let me know if I can answer any questions!