Clear communication is vital in most of the interactions we have with our fellow humans. It is even more so in a Family Business where 'emotion' is a huge factor, added to which there can also be other such factors in play, such as jealousy, greed and favouritism.
Meetings build unity
We all yearn to be part of something that involves or interests ourselves in some ways. If you are from a family with a family business, it is part of our heritage and part of our DNA. We were probably born with it. So having a personal sense of belonging will bring unity across the family. Most family businesses spend much time strengthening the bonds and relationships with all the family members, which is a good thing. Cohesion builds success, and that comes from regular meetings with the family.
Meetings encourage innovation
Time never stops and change is a constant. So a Family Business must continue to adapt and innovate and change if it is to at least survive and at best grow. Do not be a curator of an out-of-date business. Family members, especially the young and those not working in the business can bring a fresh perspective. I have worked with one family business that has changed and grown over the past 100 years, changing industries and the sector it works in three times.
Meetings build trust
Clear open communication through regular meetings helps foster a sense of confidence and security. Family members must be able to openly and freely ask questions and challenge what the business is doing. Most family businesses after a number of generations, cannot absorb/employ all the family members into the business. So it is important that those family members working in the business can communicate regularly and openly what they are doing with those family members not working in the business.
Meetings resolve conflict
They say that conflict is ever present in a family. It is just a matter of what level that conflict has risen to. Conflict can often be driven by greed or jealousy or poor communication. Having regular meetings where family members can speak openly and without threat or pressure will result in a family and its business moving forward. It is important to be flexible and adaptable both as an individual and business.
Do you know how to communicate and reach high-quality solutions in a meeting with your family?
Family meetings very often have different atmospherics to corporate meetings. When families meet, quite often there are no boundaries, no rules, and often plenty of emotion, anger and rudeness. These can all prove a challenge when seeking a high-quality solution to a matter.
I was recently working with a family, and I assessed how they cooperated as a unit to achieve a high-quality solution. As I suspected the outcome was not good. None of them really knew how to operate or communicate together as a business unit. How long had this been like this? How considerable were the risks going forward for a poor decision to be made.
With some training, we at AH Loder Advisers can help improve the quality of a solution by as much as 70%, despite the participants not being an expert in the area being discussed. That is a massive increase and a huge improvement in the solution. If all family members could learn how to make good decisions as a unit, then the chances of multi-generational success are hugely increased.
Do not get tangled up in family governance and family constitutions and other rules. Just learn how to make high-quality decisions. That is all the founder of the business did orignally.
Please contact me if you are interested in me working with you to help improve the quality of your decision-making.
more than eight out of ten owners of the largest family businesses say that they care deeply for fellow family members, devoting a huge amount of time and effort towards cultivating a deep sense of unity among them. One of the best ways to do this is by holding regular business meetings, which strengthen the relationships between members of the family and help to build cohesion, a key ingredient for success.