I have written all of the prior articles in the third person to allow you, as readers, to place yourselves in the position I am outlining and describing in each article.
Since my last article, I have been diagnosed with brain cancer and have had 2 successful surgeries. The impact, however, is that I now have had the opportunity to review and assess my own family’s preparedness should I become permanently disabled or die. The view is really scary and the fears expressed by everyone in my family have been difficult to deal with. From being in a precarious position, I have identified a few things that families need to consider to move them forward (particularly if they have intentions on maintaining and transitioning their family businesses).
Dreams: The word “dreams” is a really small word – 6 puny letters. Strangely, most “dreams” are never given a second thought unless they are bizarre and can be recalled when you wake up. Those are insignificant dreams, however. From the perspective of a family business, the “dreams” you have need to be fully flushed out with lots of details so they become “goals” that you can remind yourself of on a daily basis.
Teams: This 5-letter word can be HUGE. Once you know who is on your “team”, and “why” they are on the “team”, you can work together to create your dreams. The value of a team is that your teammates can provide you with the input that you may not see on your own (but you also will need to understand that you might not want to hear what they have to say or how their related personal dreams need to be incorporated into your own dreams). While it may be that everyone with the same last name should be on the family enterprise ‘team’, it may be that some of those family members need to wait their turn and join at a later date once their qualifications (established by you and others on the team) have been achieved.
Process: Compiling the “dreams” with a team can be both powerful and unsettling, but the formalization of the dream(s) will be invaluable to your family and the transition of your business as everyone on the team will understand their roles and where they fit in the dream(s). Should something occur before the dream has been achieved, their responsibilities remain in place as a valued member of the team.
The thing about “process” is that it is a BIG word and there is nothing that can be done to advance it quickly. The discussion is vital and you may want to retain the services of a Family Enterprises Advisor to assist you in the formation of the Dreams and the formation of the related Teams. Doing it yourself could be disastrous, especially if members of the family are experiencing ‘fear’, in which case your dreams could turn into nightmares that could haunt you and the rest of your family for a longtime.
For more information about FEA’s, or to find a FEA to work with your family, go to https://family-enterprise-xchange.com.
If you have a question or issue that you would like to read about in future columns, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to revisit past columns, they are all online at www.yourfamilybusiness.ca.
Until next time.