These are my initial recommendations for those who want to improve or enhance the family side of their family business:
- Start as soon as possible. You can never start too early.
- In order to truly make a difference, it will require time, focus and commitment from the family, money for dedicated family leadership; as well as, money for external consulting resources.
- Involve an outside facilitator or facilitators who have experience that is specific to the needs of your family. Find someone with the right background who all family members respect and trust (Note: Family members tend to be on their best behavior when an outside facilitator is in the room).
- You (meaning a senior family member) may need to provide initial leadership for the family; however, if you can identify someone from the next generation who is capable and interested, transition the leadership to him/her as soon as possible.
- Work on the “soft” items first (voicing issues from the past and moving beyond them) to create an open environment where eventually the work can get done, but never drop or lose sight of the soft items either.
- If there are deep-seated historical hurts or issues in the family, it is best to work with a trained counselor who can help the individuals and the group deal with them the best they can first and then move on.
- The newly formed Family Council should develop a Charter. Why are we meeting? What do we hope or plan to accomplish? Why is this work important to the business, the Board, and the management team?
Compliments of GH Family Business Consulting LLC