Coach Pete has a few pointers on how to hold a great family meeting.
One of the most rewarding things I get to see as a family business coach is when a whole family comes together, multiple generations around the table, and really talking about and developing a shared vision for the family business. It just warms my heart. The old style of leadership was like, “Hey, we know what the vision is. We’ll tell you. We don’t need your input.” Quite honestly, that’s what we had at Walsh Brothers. We all loved the business. We had great pride in it, but we never really were asked to contribute to what the vision of the business was. Today’s younger generation, they want authorship, they want to weigh in. And it’s such an important thing when you can give them that opportunity.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that everybody at the table should be working in the family business. Actually, it’s even better when they’re not. You’d be surprised the kinds of insights and great ideas you’d get from people that are, actually, a little bit removed from the business. But the bottom line is the sooner you bring them together to collaborate, the sooner your family’s going to feel even stronger about the family business.
In this deliberate practice, the business results you’ll achieve are; create a working session with the family to give input on the family business vision, have a new and more inclusive family business vision, and learn more about the wants, interests and talents of your family.
So here’s the steps. First, send an announcement about a family meeting, find a date and location for the meeting. Secondly, bring whatever current documents you have about the family business vision to the table. Next, bring all participants in the room, and share the documents, and ask for their input and ideas about how to expand or build on the existing vision. And lastly, really important, thank everyone for their participation, discuss next step, and feed them, and give them a little refreshments.
It really is that simple. All you have to do is create the setting, be a good listener, shut up, get people to participate and give input, and pull out ideas from everybody in the room. Really, your job is just to listen. I’m not saying that you’re going to use all of the ideas. You might just use a few of them. But you’re really going to be surprised how much it means to people that you ask, and you listen. And oh, by the way, this is an important time to not defend, “Here’s why we do that. Here’s why we did that.” All of that. Just listen, and let people give their ideas. It’ll make such a big difference.
So as always, email me if you have any questions, take me up on some of my free coaching for you. I really want you to have a successful family meeting. And please, invite other family members to join us in these practices. Remember to practice, practice, practice, and coach me by sending me ideas on how I can even better be of support to you.
Now, get out there, and play to your potential.