Recently, we have come across many family businesses who have a constitution and yet, they find it completely worthless as it is nothing more that a book on the table. This isn’t a new problem. In fact, many family businesses have burnt their hands by making their constitution without the understanding of what approach will actually fulfil their aspirations, wants and needs of present and future generations.
Broadly, there are 4 approaches for constitution-making
Approach #1: Constitution as a guide book
Expected result of approach #1: A written constitution
In this approach, we can successfully help the family members draft their own constitution by engaging family members (chosen few) in the process of creating it. What this approach does not promise is whether every member accepts this constitution or whether they agree to live this.
Approach #2: Constitution as a guide book that you live
Expected result of approach #2: A written constitution that is lived by all members of the family
In this approach, the family members (chosen few) will engage in a deep process – a process that is designed for the heads, hearts and souls to weave in oneness and harmony. This process is designed in a way that all members don’t just sign the constitution but commit to living it daily with ease, willingness and confidence. Hence, we considers the following while designing the process to deliver the above desired outcomes:
(a) The neuroscience & psychology of decision-making
(b) The maturity and science of emotions in family-context
(c) The spirituality of being human and the diversity of each member of the family
(d) The skills and abilities of navigate through complex topics of legacy, wealth, taxation, inheritance, succession, transition, education and similar
(e) The art of designing customised process as per the family and its members ensuring that members can move both in individual sense and collective sense.
Approach #3: Constitution as a guide book that you live-on for generations..
Expected result of approach #3: A written constitution that is lived by all members of the family, and putting in place a constitutional system (family governance and other specialised 11 non-core systems) to ensure that the constitution continues to be implemented and lived.
In this approach, we aim to make a living constitution with a fully-functioning constitutional system. Such that, it remains alive in every decision you make, every communication and even every silence beheld by your family.
In addition to everything mentioned in Approach #2, this approach will also focus on:
(a) How would family members who are not involved in the process would adopt, live and outlive constitution? In nutshell, how entire family gets institutionalised is the focus.
(b) How would family members practice the profound power of using constitution daily in decisions and communications?
(c) How would family be able to live, practice and evolve their abilities and capacities to leverage the constitution to its maximum?
It is a very common mistake when families choose one approach and expect results of the other. Having said that, no approach is right or wrong – this depends completely on the results that you as a family are after.
For families who have already built a worthy legacy and wish to preserve, protect and grow it for the next 100 years or even 300 years, our recommendation would be to opt for Approach #3 – as if you constitution is not lived for its first 6-9 months, forget living it for generations!
We tell our clients/family businesses: You focus on being authentic and true to yourself and your family, while you leave all the worry of the process and its outcomes on us!