Have you entered into a delicate and high stake family conversation? Especially with kids!
For e.g., Based on certain events recently, you learned your teenage daughter (or son, whoever you may imagine) is going through a blistering youth and, with it, has invited to them some untoward conversations. You said to yourselves let me hold a conversation, and here is the line of conversation:
You said, “Darling/Son, I would like to talk to you about how to be a responsible adult and hence enjoy adulthood to its full.”
Daughter/Son exclaimed, “Dad! I know what it is to be an adult and how I carry it.”
You heard them and could not believe that she knew all you had to say about being an adult and how to have a responsible adulthood so that he/she may enjoy it to the full. Hearing this, you muster some courage in yourself and consider how blissful ignorance makes your son/daughter confident, and you decide to step in to help…
You said, “Well, Let me help you with it because I don’t think you know it, son/daughter… You noticed that they rolled eyes or similar gestures, suggesting that something like this is crossed through, given the blessing of ignorance. “Oh! There you go. Dad is going to lecture me on this now….”
Now how does it makes you feel about the above?… I am not a novelist, and nor do I intend to become one, but I hope you can get the zest of the situation above.
When you know that the other individual you care about most doesn’t know what you know. It’s impossible to break their belief of knowing unless you risk your relationship with them. Then, it becomes a pretty amazing puzzle.
This is typical, though, in our business. Clients usually open their statements on any of the topics we are discussing that they already know about it, or have it in place, or do it in their place and other such versions, which makes us feel infinitely helpless in helping them unless they recognise that knowing does not mean living it to the consistent intensity and quality that the outcomes they deserve would come in abundance…
One such far superior and debatable topic for the majority of large family businesses is the topic of a family constitution.
Two years ago, a wise and acclaimed owners of family business who graciously add to Indian commerce so much, asked: Chetan bhai, why can’t we have the constitution of our family built by our family legal advisor and CA?
And, why do we need to go through the process-centric methodology you are suggesting, which is serious investment against a few grands in USD vs upper single digit to higher double digit millions of dollars, I kind of smile, unlike the father above example and try to explain differently as below:
I cannot help but smile at their humble test of my background or sincerely they are asking because ignorance has been holding their hands in kindness perhaps, and they only feel kindness part but not the irreconcilable and irrecoverable jeopardy it will lead to.
But as on my pledge to help them help themselves, I can’t help but make go through the following set of questions:
If you have something, does that mean you gain results from it? Say, if you have Bhagwat Geeta in every bedroom of your grand mansion, does that mean people sleeping there daily for years have gained the advantage of Bhagwat Geeta? Or same applies if you even have a library full of Harvard’s Scholarly Business & Management books and doctrine textbooks but having it will not move an inch of your business to growth unless you live it!
So, having a written constitution or anything doesn’t mean its effects are played in life and results are produced. Having a written constitution only would mean that you have it now!
So, how could it be transformed into the living it part by every member of the family (directors/non-directors/the next-gen kid)?
The answer is in the process of making the constitution.
The process must be designed not from the outside to the inside view of the family but instead from the grain and the DNA of the family itself. This process begins towards making each constitutional chapter of the family for building legacies and creating abundance and love. Each member begins participating, contributing, agreeing, disagreeing, listening, and problem-solving in strategic & generational senses.
When a single chapter of the constitution out of maybe 100 plus is ironed out by having the deep head, heart, and soul involvement of active participation of each member, the chances are way higher that what is going to be made as a result is left at last in some written fancy golden letters in a book only to gather dust! The chances are members strive to live out of every chapter. Of course, to live out daily at will, they would need a support infrastructure called family governance.
Unless families realise that having a constitution made using externals who wouldn’t be able to create a high-intensity engagement during the making of each clause and by-laws, rules and guidelines, the chances of constitution-come-alive-with-full-potential are all but negligible.
Thus, when we are asked why we stress so much about having lived the constitution as important, we ask them a question – wouldn’t you want to live out of the intentions you are describing to be lived by your current and next generations? And the answer usually is astounding Yes!
So, whether you call it constitution or ‘ABC’ – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is built-to-live through a super immersive process of amalgamating families’ heads, hearts, and souls into a singularly acceptable and agreeable outcome.
Keeping the necessary differences among members as an individual, living and breathing yet a collective sense of belonging and identity is powerful.
In fact, constitution helps individuals to grow boundlessly shining their individual identity & independence and through this strengthening the oneness of family as a whole.
With the help of your family governance – once the living begins, is maintained and grown in depth of living everyday by every member, what it is called (constitution or ‘abc’) wouldn’t matter.
The outcomes matter. The outcomes guarantee legacy with unstoppable growth, harmony, and ever-growing faith in love & unity of the family – which may seem distant today and even unimaginable.
I hope this helped!