Family Dynamics: California Property Management Firm Part II
As our California Property Management firm gets settled into their new meeting routine, communication and alignment to common goals have notably improved. Family members feel valued, and though nothing on the outside has changed, daily processes are flowing smoothly, and their outcomes are over-the-top great.
The family understands and respects each other’s contributions. They are no longer having one-way conversations or feeling like they are going it alone. They have distinct objectives to rally around, they have a forum to communicate their needs and concerns, but perhaps most importantly, they support each other fully.
For all intents and purposes, the adjustments they made were easy to implement and highly worthwhile in terms of:
Daily Business Operations
Short-Term Goal Assessment
Long-Range Goal Strategy
What their meeting strategy does not yet address is family governance, a topic that encompasses family politics as well as issues like executive compensation and succession.
The Role of Family Governance
Family governance should be addressed in its own set of meetings. Though the approach and the attendees will vary from meeting to meeting (not all family members need to be present at all meetings) the objective is generally the same:
Establish the overarching vision for the business
Define the relationships between individual family members and the business
Apprise family members on the responsibilities of business ownership
Establish an ownership and leadership plan with an eye to succession
Acknowledge and resolve conflict
Governance meetings will vary in structure and size, depending on the family. In general, the larger and more complex the family is, the more meetings will be required.
Some family members may not work in the business. For example, the spouse of a working family member or a third-generation not yet working at the company might be invited to attend less frequent and more generalized meetings, but their participation is still important.
For example, with the third generation of the family approaching working age and the founder on the verge of retirement, there are potentialities on the table. Though the kids’ mothers are not actively involved in the business, they are invited to family meetings so they can participate in the conversation. Ultimately, this is about mitigating conflict and aligning goals.
Were the managing family members to move forward without the full blessing of all stakeholders, it could delay progress.
Running Effective Family Governance Meetings
In a successful meeting, family members are engaged and feel like attending is well worth their time.
Here are some tips and suggestions for running an effective family meeting:
Plan Ahead. This is not just about dictating what will be discussed; it is also about discovering what other family members want to talk about. Solicit ideas, set intentions, ensure everybody’s concerns are addressed.
Establish Meeting Leadership. Leading a family meeting is more than just dictating who says what and when. Family members in the meeting must agree to the structure and the rules and give the leader permission to lead. If emotions run high in your family dynamic, it might be a good idea to appoint an outside meeting facilitator to keep things on track.
Create an Agenda. A meeting agenda is critical, so you can ensure you hit all your marks. However, leave a little breathing room so that family members can lend their voices.
Address Your Challenges. Use your meeting time to bring challenging topics to light.
Change Up the Setting. Sometimes, a change of scenery breaks patterns of behavior, disengagement, boredom, and so on. Meet over lunch or dinner, or rent a meeting room in a beautiful setting to shake things up.
All’s Well That Ends Well. Closing your meeting is almost as important as how you structure it. The end should lead into the next family meeting – what will be discussed, resolved, and what was left undone.
Above all, your family meetings should be both productive, energizing, and enjoyable. If they are, you’ll never have a problem with attendance, and family members will always feel like the meetings are well worth their time.
If you would like to learn more about family governance and how to establish a productive meeting schedule, set up a call with me today. I’d love to show you how I can help.