A family’s innate drive: Family first or Business first?

By SOCH Business Mentors LLP Posted December 20, 2022 in Family business

A family’s innate drive: Family first or Business first?

This orientation helps family shapes fortunes, legacy and meaning

Successful business families live no dual life. One that is spoken and the other that is truly felt in the heart or, simply put, the one that is meant at the individual’s core.

They learn early in their history that should they wish to create a multigeneration success, everyone must practice the meant part in their hearts and aim to reduce the spoken (but not meant) part.

They learn early that human nature reflects its ultimate perspectives at its roots, governed by its beliefs and assumptions.

They develop a mechanism to help each member say what is meant and mean what is said at the deepest core of the individual.

They develop acceptance that humans can’t ensure such steep ask without a commonly shared set of expectations, shared future, values, and a system to help them play per which to make unity, faith, harmony, and love prevail in every cell of family members.

They also realise that compassion and kindness are excellent tools.

They trust that although getting a family to deliver success is necessary, to make success & prosperity give meaning to every breath of every individual is vital for legacy to carry on for centuries forward. If created and manifested in every fabric of governing laws of the family, then the overpowering evils of human nature won’t dwell for long and get addressed in a mature and strength-developing way.

They spend every dime and effort to create a growth & meaning-centric institutionalised approach that makes multigeneration prosper and dwell in the eternal wisdom, love, and authentic expression of who they individually are harnessing their full potential.

They accept with grace the conditions that create human nature reflecting its evils or its divinity and make every effort to create an atmosphere that is created & evolved via a system responsible for generating conditions conducive enough to reflect the best self of individuals in the family.

… several other traits, perspectives, and orientations, when combined, give an invincible almost edge to thriving a successful family more than every yesterday of theirs.

The starting point of whether all above could ever happen and be worked upon by a family is based on a foundation orientation & disposition of the family. The family with the orientation of family first will behave entirely differently than the family with an orientation of business first.

Before we get into detail, let’s ask ourselves, in family businesses, what creates, at the most fundamental level, a play of creating a boundless fortune for tens of generations or creating ruins of a family and its business?

It is the silent, ubiquitous, and powerful play between three key elements – The Family, The Business and The Ownership.

Family is found in love, but whether the business is founded on eternal principles of success or upon the need for prosperity, the family is bound to business with ownership.

The numerous imbalances in ownership and its related perspectives create difficulties and a definitive need for a fair, just, faithful, and ever-evolving approach towards it.

These imbalances in ownership are founded upon family assumptions–for example, some families hold basic assumptions about how families behave. Some feel conflict or separation is inevitable. Some feel owning a business brings the family together. Some believe family closeness suffocates individuality. Others believe family closeness facilitates individual creativity, unleashing potential and personal risk-taking.

Families also have basic assumptions about human nature. Some assume that wealth destroys human drive, motivation, and happiness. Some believe wealth gives reason to strengthen the bond and foster human strengths further. Some assume that giving up all their wealth and prosperity to build a nation, society, and humanity is superior to all above.

These basic assumptions on human nature and behaviour shape a family’s choice to produce either a perfect balance or a perfect imbalance. The perfect balance is usually not the case unless an institutional approach for families isn’t taken.

Successful families who thrive with even twelve generations have taken pain to understand the above. They went one step forward by accepting the above and invested in developing balance-generating systems for timeless success and harmony — the family constitution and its governance.