Our Process

I. Orientation Meeting

In this initial meeting, we include as many family members as is feasible. Our goals are to understand the issues and challenges from each family member's point of view, and to begin to build trust with each family member. It is crucial that we not be perceived as a representative of only 1 member or 1 generation of the family.

II. Contracting

If the family wishes to engage our services, we present a formal contract, including the goals of the consultation, the methodology, a time schedule, and fee. Our goal is to be engaged by the consensus agreement of all the family members.

III. Organizational Assessment

A. Interviews

We conduct individual, confidential interviews with each family member, all significant non-family managers, and any professional advisors deemed necessary. We seek to understand individual, family, and business goals, and the impediments to reaching these goals.

We often gather a family history and a history of the business as part of this interview process.

B. Integration of data

We use the information gained in these interviews to delineate the family and business issues to be addressed, and to design the structure and format of the family meetings.

C. Family meetings

We meet with the whole family, and then with sub-groups, including the management team.  Our purpose is to educate everyone about the challenges, and to assist in resolving outstanding issues. An integral part of this process is helping the family to communicate effectively, so that they will not always need outside facilitation to problem solve.

IV. Action Plan

The family discussions are valuable only when they translate into a series of next steps which will continue moving the family and business closer to achieving their goals. Examples of action items include:

V. Follow-up

We are always available for questions or to continue to facilitate the ongoing processes of the family and the business. We usually recommend annual family meetings. As transitions take place, we also highly recommend rituals to highlight these occasions. A "Passing the Torch" ceremony is one example.

The exact nature of our continued involvement will be spelled out in the Action Plan.


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© Family/Business Systems 2006