The Family Constitution Serves The Interests Of A Family For Ages To Come: Truths & Myths

By SOCH Business Mentors LLP Posted April 19, 2022 in Family business

The Family Constitution Serves The Interests Of A Family For Ages To Come: Truths & Myths

In March 2021, we were helping a proven, high stature and UHNI business family to move several of their mountains while defining their family constitution. 

We were on Chapter 67 of the constitution design out of the 104 chapters that we co-developed with them about a year ago whilst defining the project scope. Further, the project for delivering the specific scope they wanted took another three months to debate and nearly ten facilitated family meetings to arrive at a deliberated healthy consensus to sponsor a multi-million-dollar project for 36 months. 

More important than the above, all family members (stewards, owners and next-generation leaders) were collectively committed to the process of designing and living the constitution together.

The consensus was built with complete acceptance by the family members and even agreements. They concluded that living the constitution by head, heart, and soul is what makes the difference and not just having the constitution book alone and the formalities for an agreement after that. 

This project is committed to helping them design, develop and live 104 chapters of their family constitution. The constitution aims to fulfil their aspirations of being successful (as per their definition of success) for 150 years with monumental progress and principles-led ownership that ever grows the wealth and harmony unstoppably.

Why am I sharing this? 

I am sharing this because the crucial part of the above is how a family that owns a business thinks and acts before a project decision to deliver what they have wanted for decades is created. 

It takes compassion of an unknown kind to help families who are thinking to change their habitual living. It’s scary to most of them..  

Living constitutionally puts people under duress, stress, power loss, control worry, and almost all kinds of brakes on their status quo loving minds.

Like the family I mentioned above, more than three dozen global families (including Indian families) with a net worth above one billion dollars have similar frozen feet prior. 

Despite the above, all family businesses have become increasingly convinced that it is the best decision to take this step – To secure the permanency of growth, freedom, and harmony for generations, including their current living and fully active multigeneration context. 

Before taking this step of building their constitution and governance, the fear that family businesses have is addressed by none but their very own participation in making the constitution. 

Many have said that the unity and individual confidence skyrocketed with commitment levels of unheard kinds. 

In some family businesses, on reaching even <20% of their journey, they start coming to us even during the making of the design that they are thankful and blessed to have convinced themselves for getting this long pending task. 

Some have said that their investment in vulnerabilities and open-heart debates facilitated by experts have created the highest satisfaction and confidence. 

The formal constitution approach helps them feel 150 years ahead of them as clear and definite to bring joy, unity, faith, love and amass of wealth with unstoppable growth & harmony. 

We understand that such feelings are feelings at the end of the day. But is it not true that a dream is only a feeling of a future state? And those, who achieve their dreams, could not have done it with the feeling of that dream being dropped, left unpicked and washed. Could they have? 

Hence, what we notice in literal daylight is a transformation in action, sometimes transcendental levels of changes in the family for long term success, happiness, and abundance. 

What does it take for the family when they choose to invest millions of dollars in making the family constitution and the family governance (a master system to make a living of constitution easy, effective, & help deliver powerful results daily)? 

In spite of so much internal conflict within sponsors’ hearts, they chose to open up to the compassion and empathy we have shown them and never judged their cold feet? 

What it brought in them with compassion and candidness of ours is nothing but the essential emotional courage. 

Courage to help themselves by them only! 

Does this sound easy or hard? Maybe it depends on you to see, but from what we see in our share, they said in a chorus that ‘They wished they had done this long back’ irrespective of the families’ nationality. 

Could there be a faster and easier way to avoid such regrets, avoid such lost time when their constitutionally run family could have significantly improved the quality of mental, emotional, and financial life? 

If you want to begin such a conversation with the loved ones in your family owning a business or large enterprise, then think following and apply it as per the culture and rules of your family to gain maximum advantage and clarity that would count: 

  1. Bring your attention to the present state, realities, and emotions you are feeling or simply bring your attention to the pure and honest now. Think and make a conscious and impartial note of your family’s current state and your loved ones non-judgmentally. Think about the alignment in your view the family business holds with today’s pace of change inside the family and outside the reality of socio-economic and business itself 
  2. Suppose the answer you get from yourself bothers you, or the answers put you in a good mood. In that case, you should impartially and calculatingly figure out how much more the existing ownership and everything related to it got to change for seizing the boundless opportunity ahead 
  3. Invite family members to a family meeting and pitch the idea of making the family treasury constancy of growth and harmony grows too. Pitch your thought because you believe a formal system protects, preserves, and prevails the core ideals and permanent growth in wealth, happiness, and family 
  4. Observe where loved ones are coming from and help them. Be the coach you have in you. Be the empathetic one with all others who are trying to understand and connect 
  5. Have as many debates in the family meeting as it takes to get all members to leave their fears and develop emotional courage to develop the family constitution. Maybe you should have an experienced family business expert to facilitate everyone respectfully to arrive on their own to the idea of having a constitution and governance for the execution of the same in a disciplined and organised process-centric way 
  6. Figure out jointly why it is critical and how to achieve united family ownership and forge a broad and robust family commitment to the future of the family’s business? 
  7. Figure out why it is necessary to give the family business a strong foundation that inspires confidence in top non-family leaders and directors or next-generation family leaders? 
  8. What will play a critical role in shaping the next generation’s expectations for their roles in business and as future owners
  9. How vital is family harmony while constantly changing hyper-growth times yet? How can it be guaranteed to have been saved and nurtured by preventing conflicts? 
  10. (..many such more on ownership structure today and going forward, succession plan today and going forward, growth levers today and for tomorrow, wealth creators today and for tomorrow, harmony enabling or disabling internal unrest and external uncertainties, businesses governance today suiting opportunity for tomorrow and much more you can create per your situation as it appears) 

You may be one of the family members initiating the thought for uniting the unique edge, power, love, and possibility for your family business permanently to venturing and winning without losing family harmony for generations after generations. The key you would require aiding your advocacy will be clarity of myths and truths about the constitution and its related master systems of governance. 

The below-listed myths and truths might add large dollops of clarity critical for your mission: 

Myth #1: Family Constitution is powerful 

Truth #1: It is not powerful as it cannot act on its own, but rather it is a helpless and inactive guideline only. It requires to be acted upon with every member’s heart, head, and soul.

Not just for one day but every day.

Not for one month but for years.

And it needs to be adopted or accepted or understood with equal, if possible, love and respect by new members, including in-laws (wherever applicable). 

Myth #2: Family Constitution resolves conflict 

Truth #2: The constitution can never resolve conflicts; instead, it simply aids as a non-negotiable guide that helps in resolving conflicts through a system of family governance 

Myth #3: Family Constitution guarantees success 

Truth #3: It never guarantees success. It provides a sound base for making correct judgments and decisions, mainly during dire and trial times of dilemmas. This, in turn, has the potential to align with the true definition of success the family crafts when setting expectations from the constitution. 

Myth #4: Family Constitution gives strength to the family 

Truth #4: If there is any more significant myth, then it is a myth of people assuming that it gives strength. 

It doesn’t give strength, but it becomes a strength if the family chooses to stand by it under any circumstances protecting their pledge for identity and outcomes they commit for. 

There is no magic to the constitution, but there is magic in the family’s courage to make the constitution lead their way every day towards destiny. 

Myth #5: Family Constitution defines destiny 

Truth #5: Constitution does not define or bring destiny any closer. 

Should the constitution be applied the way it must, then whatever destiny is to be secured by the family will be guaranteed as per the quality and definition of destiny that the family holds. 

…and many similar ones 

There are formal and more systematic ways to identify your roadmap for incepting, formulating, and implementing the constitution. 

However, the key is don’t lose precious time no matter how much money is flowing into your bank accounts. 

The more is the flow or quantity, the more I would urge you to show ultra-vigilance to the topic of formalising family’s institution only to assure your success for a real long time, delivering the quality of life to family and whole community you operate via family business giving more opportunity to succeed in whatever you choose to venture in future anywhere in the world. 

I hope this helps.