Clear communication is vital to the long-term success of a family business.
Established family businesses have so much going on at the same time – businesses across the globe, new ventures, philanthropy, investments, new members joining and so forth. The family meeting is an opportunity to ask, “Where are we today? Where are we going? And how are we going to get there across the entire family enterprise landscape?”
Family Meeting: A platform for improving the decision strength of every family member
The outcomes that the family want to create for themselves and for the future generations rests upon the ability to create timely and long-term healthy decisions. This comes only with practice. What helps in practice to gain speed and quality of decision making is a carefully designed, well-structured and constitutionally led family meeting communication model.
The key to understand is: In the family meeting, the context given is collective, but the impact is individual. To balance this whole, whilst making sound judgements throughout the range of decisions from personal dilemmas, board room dilemmas, strategic business decisions, long-term family wealth decisions, education decisions, lifestyle decisions and many more.
Family Meetings: Formal within the informal
Since family part of the family business are by nature, informal. Family meetings provide the essential formal within the informal to help the family members maintain the balance for harmony and collective growth.
A well-informed family usually choose to go in a structured way. That means, people are poised and wise enough to take personal responsibility of knowing what they want and also, willing to equally appreciate what other member wants.
The thought that structure will take away the informal is a myth. In fact, structure not only keeps the informal growing, but also keeps adding trust, unity, and bonding in the family relationships.
SOCH Facilitated Family Meetings: Why facilitated?
A conversation where people are in intimate relationships such as a family, the chances of having communication go astray is very high. Busy families usually do not have to much time to discuss numerous decisions and arrive effectively to a conclusion.
Facilitation allows for family members to voice themselves and encourages their varying point-of-views to be put forth effectively. It also provides a railroad to support the conversations and helps family to not get side tracked. In addition to this, facilitation also gives the following:
- An objective and yet sensitive perspective and attitude required to have successful family meetings
- An external point of view to help family members, as and when required
- Essential inputs to make the family meeting more effective
- An impartial ear and a viewing lens to understand beneath the surface emotions, objectives, fears and help the members to navigate the conversation effectively
- A facilitator who is well versed with the constitution of the family could be invaluable to shape the conversations as per the long-term interests of the members
SOCH Facilitators understand the unique spirit it takes to keep the family together whilst battling through the challenges on the table. More so, they act as catalyst to help the family members find and renew their bonds and keep building the family harmony.
Family meetings are open to all family members over a certain age. Under the guidance of constitution, family meetings are best conducted with an agenda. Using an agenda helps to ensure that all family members can come prepared, spend time productively and ensure meaningful discussions lead to actions.
Some families choose to keep family meetings confined to their family while others choose to involve in-laws and extended family intermittently. Others also choose to include non-family management and directors who can provide an objective window to share views and concerns regarding the business and those managing it.
Family meetings are the unprecedented playgrounds where a myriad of situations from the world of family, the business or the family office are all shared and discussed. This expanse of family meeting playground offers especially the young generations the skills (beyond what any premium institute in the world can offer) to belong to their family and its business and also learn how to make decisions and deal with conflicts and dilemmas.