High net worth families can realize significant benefits from scheduling annual family meetings, and advisors can add value to their relationships by having the ability to facilitate these important gatherings.
Tampa, FL (PRWEB) February 02, 2013
According to a January 29 Barron’s blog, wealthy families seem to be turning back the clock by collaborating to close mutually beneficial deals and initiate lucrative business partnerships. FPMG, a Florida performance management firm, sees this trend as enhancing the importance of family business meetings, and making it all the more critical that business advisors have the ability to professionally facilitate them.
“High net worth families can realize significant benefits from scheduling annual family meetings, and advisors can add value to their relationships by having the ability to facilitate these important gatherings,” said Denise Federer, Ph.D., FPMG’s founder. “While wealth management will always have a place on the agenda, when family meetings are expanded to discuss more than money, they can provide an unparalleled opportunity to build stronger family cohesiveness.”
FPMG notes that one of the most important things a family business meeting facilitator must do is ensure all the participants have equal standing. Another is conducting some pre-meeting due diligence, interviewing various family members to become familiar with their personal agendas, hot buttons, and views on legacy (values, history, family traditions, wishes to be fulfilled, family heirlooms and possessions of emotional value, and financial assets). Family meetings should be entered with a goal in mind, and “surprises” can derail its achievement.
Typical family meeting goals include:
- Creating a framework for the optimal development of family financial interests
- Sustaining the value of the family legacy
- Keeping the family together
- Supporting individual family members in meeting their goals and potential
- Setting expectations and responsibilities for family members
FPMG says it’s up to the facilitator to guide the family in a goal-oriented manner by providing an opportunity to recognize and resolve conflicts, preserve family values, and share family history so younger generations can gain an understanding about the commitment they need to make to the family. A family meeting also allows for older family members to help children prepare for managing inherited wealth, and provides a formal setting in which to organize the family’s thoughts and mission in the form of educational projects, philanthropic efforts, and mission and wealth statements.
Facilitators will be tasked with managing family members’ expectations, according to FPMG, so before any discussion begins, they should establish ground rules such as:
- A meeting timetable/length
- Meeting topics
- Confidentiality expectations
- Focus on active listening
- Keep an open mind
- Make “I” statements (rather than blaming or attacking)
- Create an action plan to follow up on each topic
Facilitators must be engaged to be successful in this essential role, FPMG notes, and they need to constantly find ways to add value to the family. One tactic they might suggest is connecting family meetings with social gatherings, something that can have a positive effect on mindsets and result in more productive sessions.
“Business advisors need to look at family business meetings the way a CEO would look at company strategic planning meetings,” Federer said. “They provide an unparalleled opportunity to clarify vision, enhance communications, discuss potential challenges and create tactical plans to successfully execute goals, while also facilitating the all-important dialog between the older and younger generations.”
FPMG is a Florida performance management consultancy dedicated to guiding successful people to be their best. Based in Tampa, we help you uncover the non-financial issues that impact the bottom line. FPMG offers consulting for family business problems, financial advisors legacy advising, leadership development, and more.