Business Family Alignment – the Family Plan

Throughout the Western world, less than 5% of all family businesses survive the third generation curse:  “from shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations”.  The 5% that do make it through often proceed for many generations – in clear evidence that they’ve worked out and applied something really important to their family about sustainability that others haven’t cottoned onto.

Research and experience indicate that the core ingredient of their magic pudding mix is Family Alignment, supported by a Family Plan that spans the next 50 to 100 years.

The best Family Plans don’t just cover the family, nor are they solely focused on the family’s wealth.  Instead, they pick up on the concept of multi-faceted, multi-generational family capital, comprising: human, intellectual, social, and financial assets (per J Hughes Jnr).

In doing this, the family that had a business becomes a Business Family – one that is forevermore in the business of being in business, no matter what form their actual business takes.

Family Alignment is developed through a workshop process, over one or two days, with some pre-work.  There are seven major elements and deliverables:

  1. Confirm the family’s Congruence of Values, showing that everybody is fundamentally driven by the same critical values in their personal, family and professional lives.
  2. Create a shared Vision for the family’s future together, based on agreed Goals.
  3. Discuss and agree the family’s purpose and the reasons for continuing to operate together as a family, based on your agreed Values, Visions and Goals.
  4. Explore and understand each individual’s personality, communication and leadership styles, and the effect they all have on the family’s current state, competencies and systems.
  5. Identify the personal and collective blockers that could prevent the family from achieving its Goals, including all causes of significant tension and conflict, and agree how best to resolve them.
  6. Develop a high-level, long-term Family Plan, that captures everybody’s aspirations for themselves, for the family, and for their career/business interests.
  7. Allocate and commit to individual roles and responsibilities for making things happen according to the timeline in the Family Plan.

Every participant should leave the workshop with greater clarity and certainty about, and a much firmer commitment to, “The Family Plan“, and to their place in it.  The family emerges aligned to a clear and shared purpose.

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