One of the most enlightening discussions I was privileged to facilitate with a client was one involving the family’s Mission as it related to the business. The question posed was “why do we own this business?” The question was rephrased as “to what end?” The discussion that followed was most enlightening.
An investor owner focused on the business as a financial wealth creator for the family. Another owner believed the Mission of the company was to be a vehicle for family bonding around a business venture that would require the family communicate, collaborate and compromise. Some in the younger generation focused their attention on the capacity of the business to contribute to the community and to permit shareholders to become more involved in the philanthropic opportunities offered by a growing and profitable family business venture.
In spite of the diverse Missions discussed by this family of shareholders, they were able to communicate, collaborate and compromise to establish a unified Mission and Vision statement that provided their professional board with guidelines that would enable the board to direct management effectively in the years to come. The foundation for this very rewarding process was laid by parents and grandparents who practiced and communicated a set of values that allowed the family to bring generations together toward a common goal.